Violence Continues in Syria and Libya While Refugees Hit Europe (Intermediate News Lesson)

With Answers! | Download Free Intermediate Syria, Libya, Refugee News Lesson plan here: Protests-Syria-Libya-Refugees-Intermediate-29042011.doc

News Lesson Plan: Warm-up

  1. Have you ever been in a protest?
  2. Have there been any big protests in your country?
  3. How long has your family been living in your country?
  4. Does your country have problems with refugees?

News from Syria, Libya, and Europe (April 29th, 2011)

SYRIA — Leaders in the West have criticized the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Asaad for the use of violence against pro-democracy protesters. Since protests began last month, more than 400 people have been killed and 400 people have been arrested.
Members of the U.N. will meet this week to discuss a plan to persuade the Syrian president to end its attack on the protestors and civilians. EU officials will also discuss the possibility of placing economic sanctions on Syria.
LIBYA - NATO is supporting a UN resolution to protect civilians caught in the revolt that began two months ago. A UN team has recently arrived in the capital of Tripoli to investigate human rights abuses by the Gaddafi government, rebels, and NATO forces. There have been reports of many crimes, including the bombing of civilians. Fighting is now heaviest in the western city of Misrata, a major city held by the rebels.
On Tuesday, the United States removed some of its trade limitations on Libya. This will allow the rebels to sell oil and oil products to US firms.
FRANCE/ITALY — There has been a wave of refugees to southern Europe because of the protests in the Arab world. In response, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian President Silvio Berlusconi have asked the EU to close its borders. The current EU system allows passport-free travel among 25 EU countries. The presidents have asked for a review of this law in order to limit the movement of people. Berlusconi has also asked other EU countries to share the burden in dealing with the situation. In the past two months, nearly 30,000 refugees have arrived in Italy from Tunisia. [278 words]

News Lesson Plan : Comprehension Questions

1)    Where is NATO currently involved?
2)    True or False: The EU has placed economic sanctions on Syria.
3)    Why has the U.N. team traveled to Libya?
4)    True or False: Government forces have taken the city of Misrata in Libya.
5)    What do Sarkozy and Berlusconi want the EU to do?
6)    From which country has Italy received a wave of refugees?
1 - NATO is currently involved in Libya.
2 - False. Not yet.
3 - The team has traveled to Libya to investigate human rights problems.
4 - False. The city is controlled by the rebels.
5 - They want the EU to close its borders to stop the movement of refugees.
6 - Italy has received a wave of immigrants from Tunisia.

News Lesson Plan : Vocabulary Matching

Match the words with their meaning as used in the news lesson.
  • criticize - to say something negative about sb/th
  • protest - demonstration, march, rally
  • persuade - convince
  • civilian - regular person
  • sanction - restriction on trade
  • resolution - decision
  • revolt - revolution, uprising, rebellion
  • abuse - bad treatment
  • refugee - a person forced to leave his/her country
  • burden - heavy responsibility

News Lesson Plan : Connect the below idea(s) to make a sentence.

government / revolt
protest / president
persuade / father
civilian / injured
sanction / the EU
UN / resolution
abuse / human rights
scandal / amid / election
Italy / refugee / burden
Possible answer
  • People gathered in the streets to protest the president's new law.
  • I tried to persuade my father to let me use his car.
  • Many civilians were injured in the civil war.
  • The EU may put sanctions on Syria in the future.
  • The UN has passed a resolution to protect civilians in Libya.
  • There were many reports of  human rights abuses during the second world war.
  • The large number of Tunisian refugees are a burden for Italy.

News Lesson Plan: Debate 1 (Pair Work)

Student A: You think of NATO and the U.N. have a responsibility to help in the Arab world. You believe they should support new democracies. Think of reasons to support your argument for a minute. Your partner will start the debate.

Student B: You think that Western-style democracy won't work in the Arab world. You do not think NATO or the U.N. should be involved in their problems. Think of reasons to support your argument for a minute. When you're ready, start the discussion (e.g. “I don't think these problems are our problems...”)

News Lesson Plan: Debate 2 (Pair Work)

Student A: You are Berlusconi. You think France should help your country deal with the large number of refugees by accepting more Tunisian refugees. Take a minute to think of your argument and then start the conversation.

Student B: You are Sarkozy. You are against having more refugees in your country. Think of reasons why refugees should not be allowed to travel into France. Your partner will start the conversation.

News Lesson Plan: Discussion Questions

(You can write your answers in the Comments section below.)

1)    What is the best way to protest a government? Can violence be necessary?
2)    Do you believe all people should have the right to protest?
3)    Should NATO's mission be to remove Gaddafi?
4)    What do you think will happen in the future for Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria?
5)    Can democracy work in very religious countries?
6)    Do you think your country should accept more refugees?

News lesson plan copyright Matthew Barton of

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