An Australian Family

Australian view

I want to speak about a family that I know, an Australian family, Luc and Viveca. Luc is French. He grew up in France, in the Loir-et-Cher, more exactly. During the nineties, he did a humanitarian mission to save, help and protect populations with an association. He went to Sudan, Liberia, and Cambodia where he met... Viveca, an Australian person, on a mission, too. They fell in love.

Twenty years later, they live together in Australia, on the eastern coast, and they have... two children! At the age of 34, Luc went back to school, but in Australia, in another language and with 2 little boys. Today, he is a teacher – he teaches biology –, and the little boys, very proud of their French origin, are teenagers. During their last holidays in France, they discovered skiing, the snow and... Paris! They also discovered the “hello” at the entry of a shop, because in Australia, this custom doesn’t exist!

Paul-Luc Monnier

 

Dire Straits

Dire Straits

Dire straits was a British rock band, formed in 1977 and composed of Mark Knopfler, David Knopfler, John Illsley and Pick Withers. Dire straits has sold over 120 million albums since the beginning of the group, like Sultans Of swing, Romeo and Juliet, Brothers in Arms and Money for Nothing.

The group began with a very difficult situation of money, which is why they called the group Dire Straits. Mark Knopfler is the unique writer of the group and he was noticed by his very good game of guitar because he plays uniquely with his hands, not with a pick. Their music is a mix of blues, country, rock, hard rock and folk. In 1985, the band released Brothers in Arms, which will be remembered the greatest success of the group.

The group broke up in 1995 because Mark Knopfler left the group for start his career as a solo artist.

Côme Ducoux

 

Coca Cola

Coca-Cola logo

Coca-Cola is a brand of US soda, founded in 1887. The drink was invented by a pharmacist, John Pemberton. In the beginning, he wanted to develop a drug against gastric problems. The drug was highly valued by customers of the pharmacy, but two years after this invention, Pemberton died.

The recipe of this drug was sold to Mr. Candler for only $2,300. In 1892, Candler launched an advertising campaign that costs $12,000 and Coca Cola quickly became the favourite drink of American people.

The invention of Pemberton became a fantastic company with huge profits. Its success was increased by the gift of bottles to American soldiers during the 2nd World War. Coca Cola is an old company but was never out of fashion thanks to advertising because it was always original, and it still diffuses adverts all over the world.

Advertising was the major factor of its development. Coca Cola has also developed other brands, like Sprite, to increase its profits.

Alban Chatrefoux. Image

 

American School System

Yellow school bus

The American school system is different from the French one. The children start grade one at 6, or attend preschool where, by playing, they learn the alphabet, pronunciation, and to count at 4 (but it’s not mandatory) and go up one grade each year until reaching grade 12 at the age of 17.

Elementary school is from 1st to 6th grade. Because of the price of private schools, and the bad reputation of some of the public schools, there are about 10 % of homeschooled students. Middle school is from 7th to 8th grade and High school is from 9th to 12th grade.

The school day begins at 7:30 am and finishes at 2:30 pm. Each day, the students have between 6 and 9 classes, which are 40 minutes in length. When students are in their 12th grade they do a test called the SAT. This exam tests students on their Math and English knowledge and students need to succeed to be accepted in a good university.

Berenice Heuberger. Image

 

Chicago

Chicago skyscrapers

Chicago is the third largest city in the United States of America. It is situated in the state of Illinois and is bordered by Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes. There are about 2 800 000 inhabitants.

In Chicago, you can mainly see skyscrapers. The tallest one is the Willis Tower, which is very famous and attracts many visitors. The Willis Tower is the tallest skyscraper in the United States and measures more than 412 meters.

The Millenium Park in Chicago is situated between the city and the lake. This is a very nice place, where you can listen to concerts for free, relax and look at modern art. The Cloudgate, situated in the Millenium Park, is an amazing metal construction. There are also so many other museums in Chicago and entertainment like theatres and professional sports. Chicago's baseball teams are called the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox.

Finally, Chicago is a big city where you can have fun and spend wonderful holidays.

Noemie Beauget

 

Megaupload

Megaupload was a website created in 2005 by Kim Schmitz and closed in 2012. It was best known for its file hosting services. The company was based in Hong Kong, but also had some servers in the USA, the Netherlands, Canada and France.

Megaupload allowed users to upload any files (.mp3, .wav and many others...) to the limit of 1Go for free users and without limits for premium users. The files were available for all cybernauts as a link attributed to the file. Non premium users were not allowed to download files bigger than 1 Go.

Accused of violation of copyright laws, Megaupload was closed in January 2012 by the United States Department of Justice. After the closure of the website, many individual groups like Anonymous attacked companies and government websites to protest that, with Megaupload's closure, free internet is about to change and become a limited and paying internet.

Jules Coussement

 

James Bulger Murder

Bulger murderers

On 12th February 1993 Jon Venables and Robert Thompson, were stealing things all days in a shopping center. And then they decided to steal a two year old baby, named James Bulger. Why did they decided to do that? Nobody can say. They could easily have left him alone, or let him on the sidewalk by a shop. But no, they decided to murdered him.

Video camera caught pictures of the baby with his two young killers. Along the way, many withnesses saw the boys hit the baby, but nobody helped him. They struck him with iron bars, put paint into his eyes and tortured him until he died. Then they left his body on a railroad track.

Many British people came to James Bulger's funeral. And many wanted to kill the two boys. Jon and Robert were condemned to eight year prison. They were realesed in 2001 with a new identity.

Jules Coussement

 

 

Uniforms

School uniforms

At the moment, in France more and more schools tend to impose a uniform being inspired by the United Kingdom model. A uniform at school symbolizes discipline, strictness, straightness.

In the United Kingdom, most pupils, girls and boys wear a uniform according to the school to which they belong. In private schools, the pupils have to wear the same clothes coming from specialized shops and everybody looks identical and smart. In the state schools, the dress code is more relaxed and kids buy their uniforms in chain stores, girls can even wear trousers. It is also possible for teenagers to customize their uniforms to make them look cool.

Many educators and parents think that wearing a uniform helps the children to get better marks, to look more serious, to create a stricter atmosphere at school; another fact is that it is cheaper than fashionable clothes. Anyway, does a uniform prepare children for life after school? Remember that appearances can’t be deceiving!

Marie Vade

 

Rugby World Cup

Webb Ellis Trophy

The first rugby world cup was held in France in 1954. Its name, “The Webb Ellis Cup", is taken from the name of the Rugby creator: William Webb Ellis. The French had campaigned for it since 1935, but the international board only accepted in 1952 that France should host the inaugural rugby world cup. The four test nations contesting were: France, England, New Zealand and Australia.

The world cup is divided in 2 parts: The pool phase, and the knock out. The pool phase includes 20 teams split in 4 pools of 5 teams, from A to D. Each member of a pool plays every member of his pool once.

The winner and the runner up of each pool access the knock out phase. Each pool winner plays another pool runner up and contrary. The winners go through to the semi-finals and then to the final. The winner of the final becomes the world champion, and the country’s name is carved on the cup, beside the year of the victory.

Charles de Breteuil. Image source

 

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd band

Pink Floyd is one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Created in 1964, it is composed of Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright until 1969 when David Gilmour replaced Syd Barret. They released many albums in thirty years and they sold more than 200 million albums in the world, especially with their album Dark Side of the Moon with 50 million albums sold.

They were pioneers of space rock in the seventies but they also did folk, blues and progressive rock. They were at the top in the seventies and they did a live concert at Pompeii without public in 1972. In 1982 they released a musical film without dialogue called The Wall, with all the music of the album.

Today, the group cannot be reformed because of the death of Richard Wright in 2008. The break up happened in 1994. Pink Floyd was famous for its originality and good music, but many tensions in the group led to this break up.

Louis Valentin. Image

 

London

Big Ben fireworks 2012

London is the capital of England, and it's located on the river Thames. It's one of the most iconic cities of the world, but also one of Europe's largest cities, covering an area of approximately 1500 square miles. Besides, London is one of the most populated cities in the European Union, with 7,5 million inhabitants.

London attracts 27 million visitors each year. Many of the world's most recognisable landmarks are there such as Buckingham Palace, where the queen lives, Tower Bridge, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey.

London is a multicultural city where more than 300 languages are spoken. The most famous park is Hyde Park. It's one of the biggest cities for shopping; the most famous streets for shopping are Oxford Street, and Carnaby Street. The biggest events in London are for example the London New Year’s Eve fireworks or the London Fashion week. There are a lot of museums in London, such as the natural history museum. There's also one of the world's most famous big wheels, the London Eye.

Karine Afgoun. Image

 

British newspapers

British newspaper stand

British Newspapers In England, traditionally, there are two types of newspapers: the serious, quality titles, and the more populist tabloids. All of them have a political orientation and if a person reads a newspaper, you can guess his political opinion.

The Guardian, the Daily Telegraph (the best-selling quality paper), the Times, the Financial Times, and the Independent are five important and serious British newspapers.

The most famous tabloid is the Sun, the best-selling newspaper. In fact, this type of press wants to shock and uses scandals, gossips or sensational news about private lives of celebrities... just in order to sell. English people like and read this information but, last summer, the weekly News of the World provoked an important scandal all around the world: the journalists of this newspaper had listened to phone conversations of VIPs, stars, politicians and members of the Royal Family.

The press is very important in England. I don’t know why exactly, but maybe it is because there is no tax on British newspapers.

Paul-Luc Monnier. Image

 

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was born in 1955. He was adopted by the Jobs family with whom he grew up in the Silicon Valley. In 2003 he was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer from which he died on October 5, 2011.

In 1976 he founded Apple and in 5 years he created 3 computers making Apple famous worldwide. Jobs' first major invention was the Macintosh in 1984, just before he left Apple in 1985. He then bought Pixar industries, which became a success after their collaboration with Disney. He also founded the NeXT Company for computers. It was bought by Apple in 1996, bringing Jobs back in the Apple business.

From 1998 to 2011, he invented for Apple a lot of new technologies such as the iMac with all the great apps. And of course all the iPods which busted the sales of Apples products, followed by the iPhones and iPads which were both huge successes!

Jobs was a genius of technology and we can all be thankful for his creations.

Typhaine de Petigny

 

Airsoft

The airsoft concept is to launch small plastic balls by compressed air. Airsoft was made by American engineers for competition and safe sporting fun.

There are many different kinds of “replicas”, the gas replica and electrical replica. With the blow-back, there is a movement of the breach at every movement pressure forward, and release simulating a non-replica action and feel. During airsoft competitions, you try to eliminate the gamers of the other team. When a player is hit he must say “OUT” and return to the safety camp.

Airsoft is most often played in the forest; it’s better to play far away from people because some can be afraid of the realistic look of the replicas. Airsoft is a game with a lot of interaction and there is a real contact with nature during the game. That’s why I have enjoyed it for the past 6 years.

Théo Schlaich


The Princes in the Tower

Princes in the Tower painting

In 1483 Edward IV King of England died leaving behind him two orphans, Edward V (1470-1483) who reigned 78 days and Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York (1473-1483).

Before his death Edward IV named his brother Richard as the protector of the princes. Richard was attracted by the throne, so he declared the princes illegitimate and was crowned Richard III. After that we never heard of the two princes until 1674 when two skeletons of children, which may be those of the princes, were found.

The most probably hypothesis is that Richard III abandoned them in the tower and let them die from cold, hunger and thirst, or perhaps he just killed them and left their bodies in the Tower.

Lina Mostefaï

 

Teenage pregnancy

Alfie Patten and Chantelle Steadman

When Maisie Roxanne was born on 9th February 2009, her parents, Chantelle Steadman and Alfie Patten were only 15 and 13. Alfie, whose voice had not yet broken, looked like an 8-year-old boy. Finally, when she left the hospital, Maisie Roxanne lived with her mother and her grand-parents, and Alfie tried to visit her as often as possible.

In fact, Britain is the European country with the highest rate of teenage pregnancies (4%). Good allowances, social housing, free childcare, and free milk are available for teenage mothers, so sometimes teenage girls from poor social environment choose to have a child, to become financially independent. But these teenage pregnancies can have bad consequences on the mother and child’s life.

The story of Alfie Pattens and Chantelle Steadman is an example of teenage pregnancies in Britain, but they were not the youngest parents. The youngest father is Sean Stewart (dad at 12), and the youngest mother is Lina Medina (mum at 5).

Berenice Heuberger. Image

 

Sydney

Sydney by night

Sydney is situated in the south east of Australia, with over 4 million people. It is the oldest and largest Australian city. Sydney is also one of the most multicultural cities in the world because Sydneysiders come from about 180 nations and 140 languages are spoken in it.

There are many things to do in Sydney: visit Sydney harbour and harbour bridge, the opera house (the city's pride) or the royal botanic gardens. To relax, you can go to the beach; there are 37 beaches in Sydney, they are about 30 minutes from the city centre by public transport. I think that Sydney should be a very interesting place to go for holidays.

Paul Blanchard. Image

 

New York

Manhattan skyline

In 1626, the Dutch bought the island of Manhattan from the Indians for only $24 and called it New Amsterdam. In 1664, the British captured the colony and renamed it New York.

New York City is the biggest city in the USA with its 8 million inhabitants spread over five boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. New York is a multicultural city. Asians and Italians have settled in Chinatown and Little Italy. African Americans are the dominant group in Harlem but there is also Spanish Harlem. Many other origins can be found in the boroughs.

New York is a city that attracts many tourists with its monuments. The most famous skyscrapers are in Manhattan: The Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and the Rockefeller Center are situated in Midtown. There are many other big skyscrapers in New York. New York is also a cultural city. More than 200 films are shot each year. There are also big libraries and parks like the famous Central Park.

Alban Chatrefoux

 

The Apartheid in South Africa

No whites or dogs sign

Apartheid appeared in South Africa more than three hundred years ago. White settlers came from the Netherlands and racial segregation occurred; it was certainly made to make sure that the Whites would always remain in a dominating position.

Apartheid officially began in 1948 after the National Party, representing essentially the Afrikaners, won the election. There were beaches for the Whites and less nice ones for the Blacks. White schoolchildren used to go to the best schools. Black people used to need a pass to go to work in white families’ homes. They weren’t allowed to take the same buses and their documents were often checked by the police, which was humiliating.

Things changed because people protested and fought for their rights. Nelson Mandela did a lot for his country after twenty-seven years of jail. After having shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Frederik de Klerk, he became the first black president of South Africa in democratic elections. A real message of hope?

Marie Vade

 

Wimbledon

Wimbledon's longest match

The Wimbledon tennis tournament in London is a tournament on grass in the category of Grand Slams. It is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, considered by many to be the most prestigious.

In February 1877, All England Croquet club, the first club of tennis, crossed a financial bad patch. It was then that Henry Jones (the club’s director) decided to create a tennis championship to bail out the club. And the first “Wimbledon” was born.

It is the only tournament where the players must dress in white. They play on grass courts. The grass is a fast surface, so the attack players are better on this surface but since 2001 the grass was slightly modified and became slower. Purple and green are the traditional Wimbledon colours.

The longest men’s match by games and times took place at Wimbledon. The match opposed Nicolas Mahut (a French player) against John Isner (an American player). It lasted eleven hours and five minutes! The youngest winner man is Boris Becker when he is 17 years old.

Côme Ducoux. Image

 

 


 

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This is your web space!

Each year, you will be required to give one or two oral presentations in class. Then you will publish a summary of your presentation here, with a small illustration. Can't decide what to talk about? There are some great ideas on Icons.

 

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