easy approach to phrasal verbs


To tear apart:

meaning: to divide something or the members of a group, citizens of a country, etc.

USE: division, separation

Cyprus divided: 40 years on, a family recalls how the island was TORN APART

The award-winning Observer correspondent who covered the 1974 Turkish invasion returns to the rocky battleground with one Greek Cypriot guardsman he met in the conflict

• Time stands still in Cyprus’s UN buffer zone – in pictures
Cypriot Refugees

A Turkish woman and a child flee the fighting between Greeks and Turks in Cyprus in August 1974. Photograph: Reg Lancaster/Getty Images

On the outskirts of a mountain village in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus, Lakis Zavallis, 72 in September, is scrambling about a rocky roadside hillside looking for an imitation-leather grip he had first used when he was a law student in London in the early 60s.

Some 40 years ago he was a lieutenant commanding a diminishing platoon of weary Greek Cypriot National Guardsmen when he hid the bag under the overhang of a rock. They had just been ordered to make what he thought might be a temporary withdrawal from a forward position and he wanted to lighten his load. In it was the English paperback edition of Solzhenitsyn’sCancer Ward and a sweater, for even during the island’s scorching summers the Kyrenia range gets chilly at night when you’re dodging mortar bombs by living in a hole in the ground.

Beneath the book and the sweater is the item that makes Lakis persist in trying to find his bag. This was his second attempt this year and there have been others. In it is the diary he kept when he found himself part of a shambolic home guard doing its best to take on Nato’s biggest army in cold war Europe and one that came with the kind of air and naval support intended to take on the Soviet Union.

This month sees the 40th anniversary of Operation Attila, Turkey‘s codename for its invasion of Cyprus. It started on 20 July 1974 and ended almost a month later on 16 August. By then, its forces occupied just over a third of the island in the name of a Turkish Cypriot minority not quite a fifth of its total population. They still do, though May’s visit by US vice-president Joe Biden has raised hopes that the elusive settlement to the Cyprus problem might at last be in the offing, if only to divide the spoils of newly discovered offshore natural gas and oil.

On 15 July 1974, a coup against Archbishop Makarios III, president of Cyprus since 1960 when it stopped being a British colony, was orchestrated by the military junta in Athens who wanted what Greek speakers call enosis. This was the same political union with Greece desired by the Eoka guerrillas who in the late 1950s fought the British under Georgios Grivas, a Cypriot-born Greek army officer. The coup gave Ankara all the reasons it ever needed to launch Operation Attila, which came five days later.

About 650 officers in the 15,000- strong Greek Cypriot National Guard were professional soldiers from the junta’s Greece. Their passion for enosis was rejected by those Makarios supporters who preferred a Cyprus that was a world away from the weird fascists then ruling democracy’s birthplace. Dissenting conscripts got into trouble. In 1972 Doros Zavallis, Lakis’s youngest brother who had tasted life under the colonels as a law student in Athens, returned to Cyprus to do his national service. When he was overheard criticising a speech made by an officer, warning them they should be ready to intervene if Makarios took a wrong turn, he was accused of being a communist, given 20 days’ detention and sent to a remote coastal outpost monitoring a Turkish enclave.

These enclaves were guarded by the Turkish Cypriots’ own militia, established during a period of inter-communal reciprocal slaughter between 1963 and 1967. Enosis was anathema to them. Their own extremists responded with another single-word slogan: taksim. It meant partition.

Children play in Turkish Cypriot Nicosia CyprusChildren play in a park next to a fence marking the United Nations buffer zone in a partially restricted area in the Turkish Cypriot-controlled area of central Nicosia, 2014. Photograph: Neil Hall/Reuters

The coup was the culmination of a decade of fratricidal Greek Cypriot strife. Athens backed the septuagenarian Grivas, hero of the struggle against the British, who secretly returned to his native island from Greece and set up his Eoka B. Makarios responded by creating a praetorian guard he called the Tactical Police Reserve. When in January 1974 Grivas died of a heart attack, thousands attended his funeral in Limassol and Eoka B, armed by the junta, carried on. But it was some of the National Guard’s ancient T-34 tanks, a gift from Russia, that fired the coup’s opening shots at the presidential palace. The archbishop had already survived several assassination attempts and his luck held. He escaped to Paphos, his birthplace, from where a British helicopter took him to RAF Akrotiri on the sovereign bases. By the time the Turks had landed, he was already in New York and had just addressed the UN security council.

On the morning of the invasion Lakis Zavallis, driving a blue Morris Traveller used by his family’s printing business in Nicosia, went to the village of Paleiometocho near the capital’s airport where he was to report for duty with 366 Reserve Battalion. Names were being taken in a school. It took about 30 minutes and on his way he overtook some of the National Guards’ Stalingrad-era T-34s. As he overtook them, the commanders in their open turrets smiled and waved. It was about 8am and the sky was full of contrails made by Turkish Skyhawks. Soon they would be falling on the personnel carriers of the Greek Cypriots’ only armoured infantry battalion and kill their commanding officer.

Like most Nicosians, he had been woken shortly after dawn by gunfire, explosions and low-flying aircraft. He had got to the roof of his apartment block with his Super 8 camera in time to film the Turkish paratroops dropping to reinforce the Turkish Cypriot enclave north of the city. Then he got together what bits of uniform he could find, kissed his wife Anita and their two young sons goodbye and left.

In theory, the Greek Cypriots had in mind the kind of mass mobilisation the Israelis did so well. But Makarios had never dared allow an exercise involving the full call-up of reservists, for fear its Greek officer corps would march them to the presidential palace and dethrone him. Now thousands of Greek Cypriot men were clamouring for the chance to defend their island until the Greeks or the UN or both came to their rescue. They were of both factions, for the coupists had opened the jails and let out all the Makarios supporters they had rounded up, some of them looking rather the worse for wear. “Of course, that was before most of them had come under fire,” recalled Lakis. “But there was a lot of enthusiasm. What was lacking was the apparatus to equip and absorb them.”

His two brothers turned up at a reporting centre a couple of minutes’ walk from the Zavallis family home where their widowed mother lived. Doros, despite the treatment he received as a conscript, grabbed the last Lee-Enfield rifle from a truck full of small arms and was soon part of a unit heading north. Sophocles, the middle brother who had attended Leeds College of Technology, missed out on the last weapons’ distribution and was never mobilised. This turned into very bad luck indeed. During the first and very loosely observed ceasefire he tried to find his brothers. Turkish soldiers shot up his car and he ended up in a mainly Turkish Cypriot ward in the British hospital at Dhekelia being treated for four bullet wounds.

Meanwhile, Lakis and Doros went separately off to war. Doros became the ammunition carrier for a heavy machine gun team but he did occasionally use his Lee-Enfield. Neither he nor his brother had fired a rifle since basic training, which in Lakis’s case was almost 10 years ago. Not that he had one to fire until he acquired it from a wounded man after they came under air attack and naval gunfire. Nor did the second lieutenant star on his epaulette mean he was qualified to command frontline infantry. It was there because as a lawyer he was part of the National Guard’s legal department.

But his men didn’t know that, and when I met him in the foothills of the Kyrenia range, where the dry earth was being blown into big brown clouds by Turkish artillery, they appeared willing to follow him almost anywhere. Some still do. In May, when the heat was kinder, several of them joined their lieutenant in the search for his bag, though he complained they weren’t all as nimble on those rocky terraces as they should be.

Military historian Colin Smith was the Observer’s chief roving reporter in 1974. He has just edited Andrew Borowiec’s Warsaw Boy, a memoir of the Polish resistance (Viking, out now).


16 August 1960 – British rule ends: Greek and Turkish Cypriots to share power in newly independent Republic of Cyprus but some Eoka veterans still yearn for “Enosis” – union with Greece.

1963-67 – Consensus breaks down. Communal fighting leads to UN troops policing a virtual partition where Turkish Cypriots live in enclaves.

15 July 1974 – A pro-Enosis coup led by Greek army officers seconded to the Greek Cypriot National Guard topples president Archbishop Makarios, who escapes to British bases.

19 July – Makarios arrives in New York and addresses UN security council.

20 July – Turkey invades Cyprus with about 40,000 troops; despite a shambolic mobilisation Greek Cypriot resistance is surprisingly tough in places. Turkish military losses will total 568 killed and 2,000 wounded.

25 – July Talks between Turkey, Greece and Britain begin in Geneva but a ceasefire agreed two days before is ignored by Turks who expand their positions.

15 August – Hostilities end after Turks take Famagusta; they now hold 37% of the island for 18% of its people. At least 140,000 Greek Cypriot refugees have moved to the south and 50,000 Turkish Cypriot have fled north.

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Meaning : to cause to explode into pieces

USE : upward,completion


Police BLOW UP bag left near Rio’s soccer stadium

  • AP foreign, Friday July 4 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A Brazilian bomb squad blew up a bag deemed suspicious that was left near a metro station entrance close to the stadium where the World Cup game between Germany and France was underway.

Associated Press journalists saw the events while authorities closed the metro station as a precaution.

The Federal Police said in a statement it investigated a bomb threat near Maracana stadium but that no explosive device was found. Further details were not provided.

Few people were near the metro station when the bomb squad acted because tens of thousands of fans were inside the stadium watching the game.

Some surrounding roads were also closed while the bomb squad investigated. The incident lasted about 20 minutes.

The metro was reopened after the bag was detonated and before Germany beat Franc

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These particles are in contrast for:

1.- opposite directions: jump on; jump off; jump on and off

2.- opposite actions, usually for machines: She switched the radio on, but 
                                                                                 he switched it off 

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To sweep up:

Meaning: to clean and remove dirt, glass, dust, etc from a floor or the ground using a brush
USE: completion, metaphorical

The Washington Post


As independence vote looms, Scotland’s youths  SWEPT UP in once-in-a-lifetime choice

In less than 100 days, the people of Scotland will determine whether they should break off from the United Kingdom and become independent. The referendum on Sept. 18 is a once-in-a-lifetime choice for young Scots. (Nicki DeMarco and Griff Witte/The Washington Post)
 July 3 at 7:00 AM  

 — Before heading to college this fall, 17-year-old Gavin Lundy has plans both ordinary and revolutionary. The young Scotsman wants to make some money working at a cafe. And in his free time, he intends to help forge the world’s newest independent nation.

“The people of Scotland have never had this power,” said Lundy, a wave of blond hair framing a gaze fixed with intensity. “But now we have the chance to build a radically new and better country.”

Or not.

To be young and Scottish this summer is to be swept up in the thrall of a once-in-a-lifetime choice: a September referendum that will determine whether Scotland sticks it out with the United Kingdom or jettisons a three-century-old partnership and goes it alone. The outcome holds vast repercussions for Britain and for the United States, which wants to keep its closest and strongest ally united.

With less than 100 days to go, opinion polls show that most Scots agree, even among the 16- and 17-year-olds who will be allowed to cast a ballot for the first time. But in the gothic streets of Edinburgh, it’s the pro-independence forces­ that seem to have the upper hand in energy and enthusiasm, a disparity that’s most apparent among the young.

Generation Yes campaigners pass out leaflets for the Scottish independence referendum in Glasgow. A referendum on whether Scotland should be an independent country will take place Sept. 18. (Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)

As with independence struggles the world over, this one has attracted armies of true-believers burning with desire to make their homeland anew. Unlike most, Scotland’s separation from the United Kingdom could be achieved without a shot fired as teens and 20-somethings wield IMF reports, comedy skits and Twitter memes to evangelize their case for doing what generations of brawny Scottish warriors couldn’t — breaking from London once and for all.

“The independence campaign used to be seen as ‘Braveheart’ and bagpipes,” said Graeme Sneddon, 22, a part-time coordinator of the Yes Scotland campaign’s youth wing and a full-time grad student who will never be confused with Mel Gibson’s depiction of 13th-century Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace. “We’ve gotten to the point where people can look beyond that and talk about the issues.”

Sneddon, like many independence activists, had no background in politics before the campaign. But he investigated the arguments for and against secession with the same rigor he brings to his long hours in the lab studying plant biology and came to an inescapable conclusion: Scotland would be better off on its own.

“The other side says, ‘You’re too small. You’re too daft. You’ll make mistakes,’ ” Sneddon said. “But certainly the people of Scotland can’t be any worse at running our affairs than Westminster.”

Westminster, home to the British Parliament, is a dirty word among independence advocates — a stand-in for the disconnect between a Conservative-led government that pulls increasingly to the right and the will of Scottish voters, who vote consistently for parties of the left.

Choosing independence, Yes campaigners say, would mean never having to live under a Tory government again while enabling the 5 million people of Scotland to build a more just and egalitarian society.

“Independence gives us the chance to radically transform child care and to start tackling poverty,” said Sneddon, who cites the Scandinavian countries as models of small nations that have provided their citizens with generous social-welfare programs. “We have a wealthy economy, but the people of Scotland aren’t feeling the benefits of that wealth.”

He’s planning to spend his summer making that case across this relentlessly green land, preaching the virtues of independence on doorsteps and online.

Few doubt that the Yes campaign has the more-committed activists, their utopian visions of a reborn Scotland ringing louder than the sober calls for steady as she goes. Independence advocates are likely to dominate the debate at Edinburgh’s annual Fringe Festival in August and are already lighting up the Web with viral videos that mock the often-stilted attempts by the unionist campaign to appeal to young voters.

Yet so far, most Scots remain unconvinced about taking the leap. The independence campaign has gained ground this year, narrowing the unionist lead to single digits in some polls. But there remains a substantial gap to make up between now and Sept. 18 if the dream of independence is to become a reality.

Surprisingly to many political analysts, surveys show that 16- and 17-year-olds have been among the most hesitant to ditch the United Kingdom. The Scottish Parliament, which already has considerable authority over local affairs and is led by Scottish nationalists, opted last year to lower the voting age for the referendum, reasoning that teens will have to live with the consequences longer than others.

All signs suggest those under 18 are embracing their new powers with gusto — a staggering 80 percent of the 120,000 newly eligible voters are already registered, and surveys show they may be following the debate closer than adults.

“Young people are very active and engaged because it’s going to affect them more than any other generation,” said Kyle Thornton, 19, chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, a nonpartisan group that advocates for young people. “They’re thinking about the long-term effects of the vote. What will the jobs of the future look like?”

That’s what worries John Morgan, a 22-year-old lawyer who’s active in the unionist cause. Putting up a barrier between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom, Morgan said, will only hurt young people’s employment opportunities and limit their horizons.

“It’s the antithesis of what we’ve been taught about globalization and how we’ve learned to live our lives,” he said.

Morgan’s side recently received a boost when President Obama broke with long-standing U.S. policy and weighed into the debate, saying the United States has “a deep ­interest in making sure that one of the closest allies we will ever have remains a strong, robust, united and effective partner.”

The unionist camp received another key endorsement last month when author J.K. Rowling — an Edinburgh resident and author of the Harry Potter books on which millions of millennials were reared — dropped $1.7 million into the Better Together campaign’s coffers and compared some Yes advocates to her fictional “Death Eaters” for focusing on “the purity of your lineage.”

But for the most ardent young believers in Scottish independence, the debate has little to do with ethnic nationalism. Young Yes activists mock British Prime Minister David Cameron for trying to seduce voters by invoking his Scottish roots and his affection for Scotch whisky.

Indeed, unlike many independence debates, this one isn’t dictated by ethnicity, race, language or religion. Instead, it’s up to each Scot to choose after a debate that, so far at least, has been remarkable for its civility given the considerable stakes.

“I’ve yet to see a smashed window over this, let alone a pub brawl or a riot,” said Michael Rosie, a sociologist at the University of Edinburgh. “Young people are weighing the facts and thinking very carefully. It doesn’t fit the stereotype of young people not caring or not thinking about the consequences of their actions.”

Peter Geoghegan contributed to this report.

Griff Witte is The Post’s London bureau chief. He previously served as the paper’s deputy foreign editor and as the bureau chief in Kabul, Islamabad and Jerusalem.
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THE WAVES: page 8

In this page, there are six phrasal verbs: tie down, wander off, slip away, rise up, lie down, and look over.

To lie down:

meaning: to stop someone from being free to do what they want
text: “I am TIED DOWN with words” 
USE: completion

To wander off:

meaning: to move away  from a place where you are usually.
text” But you WANDER OFF”
USE: in an outward but  an unspecified direction

To slip away:

meaning: to leave secretly
text: “you SLIP AWAY”
USE: movement from a given place

To rise up:

meaning: to move to a higher position
text: ” you RISE UP higher, with words”

To lie down:

meaning: to be in a position in which your body is flat on a surface
text :”It LIES DOWN there ever …”

To look over:

meaning: to examine something, usually quickly
text: “Look over the wall”


those pale flowers to which moths come in the evening. Yours grow full and brim and never break. But I am already set on my pursuit. I see insects in the grass. Though my mother still knits white socks for me and hems pinafores and I am a child, I love and I hate.”
   “But when we sit together, close,” said Bernard,  “we melt into each other with phrases. We are edged with mist. We make an unsubstantial territory.”
   “I see the beetle,” said Susan. “It is black, I see; it is green, I see; I am TIED DOWN  with single words. But you WANDER OFF; you SLIP AWAY; you RISE UP higher, with words and words and phrases.”
   “Now,” said Bernard, “let us explore. There is the white house lying among the trees. It LIES DOWN  there ever so far beneath us. We shall sink like swimmers just touching the ground with the tips of their toes. We shall sink through the green air of the leaves, Susan. We sink as we run. The waves close over us, the beech leaves meet above our heads. There is the stable clock with its gilt hands shining. Those are  the flats and heights of the roofs of the great house. There is the stable-boy clattering in the yard in rubber boots. That is Elvedon.
   “Now we have fallen through the tree-tops to the earth. The air no longer rolls its long, unhappy, purple waves over us. We touch earth; we tread ground. That is the close-clipped hedge of the ladies’ garden. There they walk at noon, with sccissors, clipping roses. Now we are in the ringed wood with the wall round it. This is Elvedon. I have seen signposts at the crossroads with one arm pointing “To Elvedon”. No one has been there. The ferns smell very strong, and there are red funguses growing beneath them. Now we wake the sleeping daws who have never seen a human form; now we tread on rotten oak apples, red with age and slippery. There is a ring of wall round this wood; nobody comes here. Listen! That is the flop of a giant toad in the undergrowth; that is the patter of some primeval fir-cone falling to rot among the ferns.
   “Put your foot on this brick. LOOK OVER the wall. That is Elvedon. The lady sits between the two long windows, writing. The gardeners sweep the lawn with giant brooms. We are the first to come here. We are the discoverers of the unknown land. Do not stir; if the gardeners saw us they would shoot us. We should be nailed like stoats to the stable door. Look! Do not move. Grasp the ferns tight on the top of the wall.”
   “I see the lady writing. I see the gardeners sweeping,” said Susan. “If we died here, nobody would bury us.”
   “Run!” said Bernard. “Run!” The gardener with the black beard has seen us! We shall be shot! We shall be shot like jays and pinned to the
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Turn Out :

meaning: assemble

USE: Basic, fulfilment of a definite end



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Hong Kong Challenges Beijing

Hong Kong Challenges Beijing

On Tuesday, hundreds of thousands of people held one of the largest marches in Hong Kong’s history to demand democracy.

 Video CreditBy Jonah M. Kessel, Alan Wong on Publish DateJuly 1, 2014.

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HONG KONG — The appeal of democratic ideas drew thousands of protesters into the streets of Hong Kong on Tuesday in a defiant but largely peaceful march advocating free and open elections for the territory’s chief executive.

A nearly solid river of protesters, most of them young, poured out of Victoria Park through the afternoon and into the evening, heading for the skyscraper-lined canyons of downtown Hong Kong, Asia’s top financial center. There, hundreds staged two sit-ins past dawn, prompting the police to remove and arrest 511 people on charges of obstructing the police and unlawful assembly.

Shouting slogans in Cantonese such as “change comes from the people,” the demonstrators largely stood their ground even after the police warned them that they were in violation of the law. Through the day, the protesters showed their determination by waiting unflinchingly and with barely a complaint under a succession of deluges for a chance to walk through downtown Hong Kong, carrying banners calling for the introduction of full democracy and reading “Say No to Communist China.” And even as organizers boasted of record crowds, they insisted that the protest was merely a dress rehearsal for much larger sit-ins that may happen this year if the Chinese government refuses to allow free elections in this former British colony.


Protesters waited unflinchingly and with barely a complaint amid intermittent tropical downpours to walk through downtown Hong Kong.CreditDale De La Rey/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The march came days after nearly 800,000 residents participated in an informal vote on making the selection of the city’s top official more democratic, a vote Beijing dismissed as illegal. It also followed the Chinese cabinet’s release three weeks ago of a so-called white paper that asserted broad central government authority over Hong Kong, angering many residents.

Beijing had promised Hong Kong a “high degree of autonomy” before Britain returned the territory to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, and the bluntly worded white paper set off a furious backlash. That backlash has coincided with a contentious debate over how to introduce universal suffrage — one person, one vote — for Hong Kong’s chief executive, to be chosen in elections in 2017.

Tuesday’s protest appeared to rival in size the largest democracy march in Hong Kong’s history, which was held in 2003 when the deadly SARS virus outbreak and a six-year decline in the housing market produced widespread discontent. The 2003 protest, which lasted seven hours, drew at least 500,000 people, according to organizers, while the police estimated that 350,000 were on the streets at the peak.

The organizers of Tuesday’s march put their estimate at 510,000 people, though they said the crowd was fluid, with a continuous stream from Victoria Park to the heart of downtown for nearly eight hours. A police spokeswoman said late Tuesday evening that the maximum number of people marching at any given time was 98,600, though she did not have an estimate for the number of participants over all.

July 1 is a public holiday in Hong Kong, and large-scale protests on the date have become an annual tradition since the giant march in 2003.


A protester waves a flag of colonial Hong Kong, a gesture of rejection of mainland authority.CreditVincent Yu/Associated Press

The current demonstrators, drawn out by social media, are younger than previous Hong Kong protesters. They are also more skeptical of the mainstream news media and less interested in legal compromises.

“We believe to change society, we need not our words to appeal to politicians, but to use activism to pressure them,” said Joshua Wong, the 17-year-old leader of Scholarism, a student activist group.

The Hong Kong government issued a statement late Tuesday saying it would take the desires of the protesters into account as it considers ways to introduce universal suffrage. But the statement reaffirmed the government’s position that Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, requires that a nominating committee control who will appear on the ballot for the 2017 election.

The protesters have called for “civil nomination,” arguing that the public should be allowed to propose candidates who would automatically be approved by the nominating committee. By contrast, Beijing wants a powerful nominating committee with a carefully chosen membership that will vet candidates based on their “patriotism,” a term used to reflect loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party.


Several people said they had made a special effort to come to this year’s march, despite having stayed away in past years. “It’s because of the actions done by the Chinese government,” said Ian Tseng, an office worker in his 20s. “The white paper, everything, makes us all feel unhappy.”

Occupy Central With Love and Peace, another pro-democracy group, has been threatening to fill the streets of downtown Hong Kong later this year and engage in a campaign of civil disobedience until the government issues a broadly acceptable plan for greater democracy.

“If the government refused to seriously consider the demand, this group of people, more of them will change from sympathetic to active support, and the sympathetic people may also start all kinds of noncooperative actions,” said Benny Tai, the leader of Occupy Central. “And just think about, how can a government govern if the whole society refuses to cooperate with you?”

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Today we study the last two “OFF” phrasal verbs from the Top 100 List:

To tell off and to turn off:

USES                                                     EXAMPLES
1. in an outward & downward direction       The bus stopped and we got off
2. in a generally outward direction               The aeroplane took off
3. in an outward but unspecified direction  She went off on her own
4. separation                                                     He cut some slices off the sausage
5. delineation, demarcation                           They marked the place off with white                                                                              paint
6. termination, elimination                            They called the meeting off

To tell off:

Meaning: to criticize someone angrily for doing wrong
“The teacher told me off for talking too much in class” 
USE: (probably) Not up a standard; below a normal level

To turn off:

Meaning: to stop a piece of equipment working by pressing a button or by moving a switch.
“Will you turn the television off, please?”
USE: termination, opposite to “ON”


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A Getaway : 

a short vacation. It comes from the verb “to get away” . It means to go somewhere different where you live to have a short vacation.

USE: movement from a given place


Dr. Gridlock

Getaway tips for July 4 weekend traffic

 July 1 at 1:58 PM  

The holiday road often begins in a traffic jam. But the July 4 getaway congestion won’t match what you see at Thanksgiving. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Highway traffic away from the Washington area should be heavier than normal between about 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday, the eve of the holiday. But it’s summer vacation season, and many people already have made their getaways.

Monitor the potential for storms over the next few days via the Capital Weather Gang, but the outlook for the Independence Day weekend is good.

Transportation departments suspend their regular work around holidays, but that still leaves bottlenecks in long-term construction zones, at toll plazas and at points where highways narrow.

These are some to watch for during your long-distance trips this weekend.

  • I-95 in Delaware. The I-495 bypass in Wilmington is unavailable because of a bridge closing. That makes traffic extra heavy on I-95. This could be a problem for holiday traffic on Thursday and Sunday afternoons.
  • I-95 in Baltimore. A rebuilding project between the Fort McHenry Tunnel and Caton Avenue reduces lanes and splits traffic in both directions. There are speed cameras in this area. Watch for slow traffic if you’re going through the city or heading to the Friday night fireworks at Inner Harbor.
  • I-95/395 in Northern Virginia. The Virginia Department of Transportation will suspend lane closings on most highways statewide from noon Thursday to noon Monday. But drivers on I-395/95 still are likely to encounter delays because of the high volumes of traffic along the 29-mile work zone for the 95 Express Lanes.
  • Virginia HOV lanes. HOV restrictions on Interstate 66, I-95 and I-395 are as usual on Thursday. They will be lifted on Friday. The reversible HOV lanes on I-95/395 will follow this pattern for the holiday weekend: On Friday, they will be northbound from 2 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and southbound from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday. They will reopen northbound by 2 a.m. Saturday.
  • Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The Maryland Transportation Authority says the best times to cross the Bay Bridge for this holiday weekend should be: Thursday before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m., Friday before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m., Saturday before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m., Sunday before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
  • New Jersey Turnpike. If you haven’t traveled this route to New York and New England since last summer, it’s going to look different in the work zone between exits 6 and 9 in the middle of New Jersey. The new lanes at the sides of the highway are open and the old inner lanes are closed while construction continues.

See more details 

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In this post we are seeing another three phrasal verbs with the particle “OFF”:

These verbs  are: put off, set off, take off

USES                                                     EXAMPLES
1. in an outward & downward direction       The bus stopped and we got off
2. in a generally outward direction               The aeroplane took off
3. in an outward but unspecified direction  She went off on her own
4. separation                                                     He cut some slices off the sausage
5. delineation, demarcation                           They marked the place off with white                                                                              paint
6. termination, elimination                            They called the meeting off

To put off:

Meaning: delay doing something 
“You can’t put the decison off any longer” 
USE: elimination

To set off:

Meaning: to leave in a trip somewhere
“We set off early the next morning”
USE: in a generally outward direction

To take off:

Meaning: Aircraft start flying
“The plane should take off in time”
USE: in a generally outward direction


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to break up: 

meaning: if something breaks up it ends

USE: completion


Nigerian military claims TO BREAK UP Boko Haram intelligence cell

Businessman Babuji Ya’ari arrested after accusation he ‘participated actively’ in abduction of 200 schoolgirls in April
boko haram

The April abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls spurred international protests. Photograph: Sunday Alamba/AP

Nigeria‘s military has broken up a terrorist intelligence cell and arrested a businessman who “participated actively” in the mass abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls in April, a statement said Monday of the attack that caused international outrage.

It was unclear if the first arrest of a suspect in the abductions could help in rescuing at least 219 girls who remain captive. Boko Haram Islamic extremists are threatening to sell the girls into marriage and slavery if Nigeria’s government does not exchange them for detained insurgents.

Defence Ministry spokesman Major General Chris Olukolade said in a statement that businessman Babuji Ya’ari belonged to a vigilante group fighting Boko Haram and used that membership as cover “while remaining an active terrorist.”

He said information yielded by Ya’ari’s detention has led to the arrests of two women: Haj Kaka, who he said was a spy who also procured arms for the extremists, and Hafsat Bako, described as a paymaster. Bako told soldiers that operatives are paid a minimum of 10,000 naira (about $60) depending on the task, the statement said.

Olukolade’s statement accused Ya’ari of “spearheading” last month’s assassination of the emir of Gwoza, the head of a royal family in northeast Borno state, and of coordinating attacks that have killed hundreds in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state and birthplace of Boko Haram.

“Babuji has been coordinating several deadly attacks in Maiduguri since 2011, including the daring attacks on customs and military locations as well as the planting of IEDs (explosive devices) in several locations,” the statement said. “A terrorists’ intelligence cell headed by a businessman who participated actively in the abduction of schoolgirls in Chibok has been busted by troops.”

In the past week, Boko Haram has been blamed for a massive explosion at the biggest mall in Abuja, the capital in central Nigeria, that killed at least 24 people and wounded dozens; the bombing at a medical school in northern Kano city that killed at least eight people; an attack at a military camp that survivors said killed at least 51 soldiers; and various village attacks in the northeast, including one Sunday in which fighters sprayed gunfire at worshippers in four churches just miles from the town where the schoolgirls were abducted. At least 30 people died in that last attack.

Nigeria’s military appears incapable of halting the attacks that have increased in number and deadliness this year, killing at least 2,000 people so far compared to an estimated 3,600 in the four previous years of the Boko Haram insurgency.

Local officials reported last week the abductions of another 91 people – 31 boys and 60 girls and women with toddlers as young as 3 – in northeastern villages. The federal government and military have denied these latest abductions and there was no way to safely and independently confirm what happened.

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