Two thousand years after it was pummeled by volcanic rocks and pumice, suffocated by sulfuric gas, buried in ash and then sealed with boiling mud and lava, the ancient Roman city of Pompeii still cannot rest easy. Archeologists began digging it up 250 years ago, but the job is only two thirds done. Now the poorly protected ruins, too long exposed to the elements, are fading fast. Local squatters plant vegetable gardens on the unexcavated parts, and wild dog packs roam the weedy city blocks.
Yet 2 million tourists visit annually - on many days outnumbering the ghosts of Pompeii’s 15,000 former inhabitants. With few guards about, some tourists deface walls with modern graffiti and take home bits of masonry or stone as souvenirs. Official corruption has taken a toll, too: Pompeii’s last superintendent, Baldassare Conticello, is facing trial for allegedly carrying out excavations that were imaginary, except in cost.
A Drought for the Record Books DROUGHTS OF near-Biblical proportions have plagued the semiarid back lands of northeast Brazil for as long as anyone can remember. The worst on record, in 1877, took half a million lives. This year’s dry spell is billed as the most severe this century, affecting some 10 milion people and reducing milions of acres to a dustbowl of bone-dry river beds, cracked mud and the bleached skulls of dead cattle. Croplosses could top $4 billion. With their beans and corn witheringin the fields, hungry peasants have stormed markets and warehouses, and even attacked trucks bearing food aid. One desperate looter was run over last week. The drought this year is largely the work of a familiar culprit, El Niño, whose fickle winds have kept much of South America hot and dry. El Niño was also blamed for the huge fires that swept through the northern Amazon rain forest in March.
(From NEWSWEEK, May 18, 1998:48f)
Traduza o vocabulário sublinhado do texto: (1 pt)
crop - ___________________ c) to wither - ____________________
loss - ____________________ d) to sweep - ___________________
Responda em português as questões de acordo com o texto: (2pts – 1 each)
a) Qual é a semelhança entre as duas secas mencionadas no texto?
b) Cite duas reações dos camponeses frente ao problema da seca em 1998.