It was 3: 45 in the morning when the vote was finally taken. After six months of arguing and final 16 hours of hot parliamentary debates, Australia’s Northern Territory became the first legal authority in the world to allow doctors to take the lives of incurably ill patients who wish to die. The measure passed by the convincing vote of 15 to 10. Almost immediately word flashed on the Internet and was picked up, half a world away, by John Hofsess, executive director of the Right to Die Society of Canada. He sent it on via the group’s on-line service, Death NET. Says Hofsess: “We posted bulletins（公告，消息） all day long, because of course this isn’t just something that happened in Australia. It’s world history.”
A report consistently brought back by visitors to the US is how friendly, courteous（有礼貌的）, and helpful most Americans were to them. To be fair(公正的说), this observation is also frequently made of Canada and Canadians, and should best be considered North American. There are, of course, exceptions. （转折）Small-minded officials, rude waiters, and ill-mannered（掌握这三个形容人的词） taxi drivers are hardly unknown in the US. Yet it is an observation made so frequently that it deserves comment.（这种话题值得讨论，从而引出下文）For a long period of time and in many parts of the country, a traveler was a welcome break in an otherwise dull existence. Dullness and loneliness were common problems of the families who generally lived distant from one another. Strangers and travelers were welcome sources of diversion（消遣，娱乐）, and brought news of the outside world.
Technically, any substance other than（除了） food that alters our bodily or mental functioning is a drug. Many people mistakenly believe the term drug refers only to some sort of medicine or an illegal chemical taken by drug addicts（吸毒者）.They don’t realize that familiar substances such as alcohol and tobacco are also drugs. This is why the more neutral（中立的） term substance is now used by many physicians and psychologists. The phrase “substance abuse “is often used instead of “drug abuse” to make clear that substances such as alcohol and tobacco can be just as harmfully misused as heroin and cocaine.
No company likes to be told it is contributing to the moral decline of a nation. “Is this what you intended to accomplish with your careers?” Senator Robert Dole asked Time Warner(时代华纳) executives （在之前新闻中讲过多次的单词）last week. “You have sold your souls, but must you corrupt our nation and threaten our children as well?” At Time Warner, however（体会转折含义）, such questions are simply the latest manifestation of the soul-searching that has involved the company ever since the company was born in 1990. It’s a self-examination that has, at various times, involved issues of responsibility, creative freedom and the corporate bottom line.
Much of the language used to describe monetary policy（货币政策）, such as “steering the economy to a soft landing”（经济软着陆） or “a touch on the brakes”（踩刹车）, makes it sound like a precise science. Nothing could be further from the truth. The link between interest rates and inflation（自己找类似的词） is uncertain. And there are long, variable lags before policy changes have any effect on the economy. Hence the analogy that likens the conduct of monetary policy to driving a car with a blackened windscreen, a cracked rear-view mirror and a faulty steering wheel.