Monthly Archives: March 2015




MI6 was founded in 1909. It is the British spying agency. It only operates outside the UK. MI6 has its headquarters in London just south of the Thames. It is a publicly acknowledged fact where the MI6 building is.

MI stands for military intelligence. The information MI6 gathers is also about economics and politics.

MI6 only has British people as officers. These man and women usually have a degree. They will be approached and asked to join. They then sign the Official Secrets Act agreeing not to disclose any of the private information they have about MI6.

MI6 officers mostly work at their desks in London. Sometimes they go abroad to spy on other countries. Sometimes they go under diplomatic cover. That means they go as a British diplomat. So they will work at the British Embassy in another country. They do a little diplomatic work but most of the time they are spying. An MI6 officer who is abroad as a diplomat is a ‘legal’. Because he or she is a diplomat this person cannot be arrested. He or she will be declared to the local government and work as a liaison with the intelligence service of that country. For example, if a British diplomat who is an MI6 officer goes to France then she or he will be announced to the French Government. The worst that can happen to a legal is that the government of that country demands that the person go home.

MI6 officers usually go abroad as ‘illegals”. That means they are not diplomats and they can be arrested. Illegals pose as business executives, scientific researchers, journalists, charity workers and so on. They have an excuse to meet people and travel around the country. They are spying. If they are caught they can be punished.

MI6 officers try to recruit agents. An agent is someone of the nationality that MI6 wishes to spy on. For instance, MI6 may persuade an Iranian politician to give them information or to plant a bug. The Iranian politician will do this for a number of reasons. He might like the United Kingdom and hate his own government. Maybe he does it for money. He might be being blackmailed. He might do it because he wants to go and live in the UK later. Perhaps he is doing it to get a friend released from prison. It could be a combination of different motives.

Spies who are arrested abroad are imprisoned and usually exchanged after a  few years.


1. When was MI6 founded?

2. What is an MI6 officer?

3. WHat is an MI6 agent?

4. Where is the MI6 HQ?

5. What is blackmail?

6. Give a possible reason for someone to be an agent?

7. Does MI6 operate in the UK?

8. What is the role of MI6?

9. What is a legal?

10. Why is MI6 needed?




This is the British counter-intelligence service. It was founded in 1909. It stands for Military Intelligence. It is not just about preventing spying on the UK military. It is about stopping foreign spy agencies from spying on British companies and the government.

MI5 employs several thousand staff. It has a headquarters called Thames House. It is just north of the River Thames in London. The government is open about where the MI5 building is. MI5 tries to track suspect foreign intelligence officers and agents. It listens to their phone calls and bugs their houses. It keeps them under surveillance.

MI5 is not a type of police. They do not have the power of arrest. They can tell the police to arrest a suspected spy. MI5 only operated within the United Kingdom. MI5 keeps an eye on suspected terrorists. MI5 does not deal with issues less serious than murder.

MI5 only employs British people. It advertises on its website for recruits. For surveillance a person must not be noticeable. They must not be too short or tall. They must not be too fat or thin.

MI5 employs native speakers of other languages. They need to translate a lot of bugged conversations and intercepted emails. These are mainly in Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Bengali and Chinese. There are many British Pakistanis, British Indians, British Chinese people, British Egyptians and British Bangladeshis who can do this.


1. What does MI stand for?

2. When was MI5 founded?

3. What is the role of MI5?

4. What languages does MI5 mainly need?

5. Why must MI5 surveillance officers not be too tall or short?

6. Where is the HQ of this organisation?

7. Does MI5 operate outside the UK?

8. What nationality works for MI5?

9. In which city is the MI5 building?

10. Why is MI5 needed? (5)

Computer Games.



Computer games were invented in the 1970s. These games involve pressing buttons to win. The player is often represented by a symbol on the screen. The player is sometimes shooting enemies. Sometimes the player is driving a car or motorbike on the screen.

These games are exciting. They have good graphics. They often have music to go with them. Grand Theft Auto is one such very popular computer game.

People often play these games on a television screen or X box. The player usually uses a joy stick. Some games involve more than one player. Counter strike is a game like that. This is a shooting game. You can see your opponents on the screen.

Those who play these games are called gamers. Internet cafes sometimes have all night sessions for gamers. There are international competitions for gamers. There are big prizes. These competitions often take place in the United States.

You can play against someone on the far side of the world. The other games is at his computer and you are at yours. Your figures will be on the same screen.

Boys play these games much more than girls. These games require skill and  fast reactions.


1. When did these games start?

2. What is counter strike about?

3. What is Grand Theft Auto about?

4. Can you play on the TV screen?

5. Are there prizes for big competitions?

6. In which country do the big competitions happen?

7. Do more girls than boys play?

8. What skills do you need for these games?

9. What is a a gamer?

10. What do you think of these games? (3)

В.В.ПУТИН. РАННИЕ ГОДЫ. (V V Putin – his early life).



Владимир Владимирович Путин родился в 1952 году в Санкт-Петербурге, тогда называвшимся Ленинград. Он был единственным ребенком в семье, до него у его родителей было двое детей, которые умерли в блокаду Ленинграда. Дед Путина был поваром царя Николая II и Сталина. До деда Путина не существует никаких  записей об этой семье. Таким образом, происхождение рода Путиных  остается загадкой.

Путин не был отличником в начальных классах. Он был сорвиголовой и у него случались  мелкие неприятности  с законом, пока он не открыл для себя дзюдо, и стал более прилежным. Он обратился в КГБ,  с просьбой взять его на службу, как подростка. Они отказали ему, потому что, они никогда не брали людей, которые сами  пришли к ним. КГБ с подозрением относилось к любому добровольцу, такой человек мог быть шпионом или сумасшедшим.

Путин поступил  в Ленинградский государственный университет, где  изучал право. После окончания института, его по распределению взяли на работу в органы государственной безопасности. Он был рад этому. Он учил немецкий.  Затем  он был отправлен в  город Дрезден в Восточной Германии, которая,  в то время называлась Германской Демократической Республикой.  Восточная Германия была коммунистической страной-союзницей  СССР, и в ней  находились части  советской армии. Путин женился на русской девушке, и у  них родилось  две дочери.

В 1989 году  в ходе массовых протестов коммунистические правительства в Восточной Европе были свергнуты. Их коммунистическая экономическая политика не имела позитивных результатов, и вызвала огромные трудности. Путин и его семья вернулась в Советский Союз. Путин был расстроен этим изменениям. Он был поражен, как легко коммунизм пал. Советский лидер в то время был Михаил Горбачев. Горбачев был коммунистом, который верил, что коммунизм необходимо реформировать, чтобы этот строй просуществовал дольше.  Сначала, его новый, умеренный коммунизм был популярен. Он дал большую свободу слова и разрешил некоторую деятельность свободного рынка. Для некоторых бескомпромиссных коммунистов это было началом конца. Они хотели сохранить старую систему без изменений.

Горбачева разрешил  создание других политические партий.  До этого  создание партии,  кроме  коммунистической было преступлением. При проведении демократических выборов, коммунисты обычно не выигрывали, и теряли свои должности. Путин, будучи убежденным коммунистом, был обеспокоен этим. Он чувствовал, что демократия разделяет и ослабляет Советский Союз. В союзных республиках  активизировались националистические движения. В Казахстане, Латвии и прочих республиках, много людей требовали независимости. Владимир Владимирович  хотел, чтобы  СССР  оставался единым. В то время, в КГБ у  Путина  был неполный рабочий день, и  он вынужден был подрабатывать таксистом. Казалось, что фортуна отвернулась от него.

Борис Ельцин, был одним из тех, кто  выступал за реформы. Ельцин – бывший коммунист, который был мэром Москвы. Ельцин ушел из  коммунистической партии,  для  создания новой партии под названием  «Наш Дом Россия».

В 1991 году была предпринята  последняя отчаянная попытка спасти коммунизм. В августе Горбачев проводил свой очередной  отпуск на Черном море. Некоторые члены старой гвардии устроили коммунистический путч. Они транслировали  по телевидению новости о том, что Горбачев болен и  освобожден от своих обязанностей. Борис Ельцин возглавил массовые протесты в России. Заговорщики вывели войска на улицы, но  некоторые из солдат перешли на сторону Ельцина. В конце концов, нервы заговорщиков не выдержали, и через три дня все закончилось – переворот не удался. В результате него  несколько человек были убиты.

Горбачев вернулся в Москву. Он объявил, что  не был болен. Заговорщики были арестованы, а  один из них покончил жизнь самоубийством. Путин сказал, что он очень сочувствовал перевороту, так как это было попыткой, спасти коммунизм. Ельцин был человеком момента.

В последние несколько месяцев 1991 года, население всех союзных республик проголосовало за независимость. В канун Нового Года Горбачев ушел в отставку с поста президента СССР. Его место, но уже в качестве президента России, занял  Борис Ельцин. В полночь флаг Советского Союза был в последний раз спущен в  Кремле, и поднят триколор Российской Федерации. СССР больше не существовало. Путин сказал, что это был худший день в его жизни.


  1. Когда родился Путин?
  2. Что случилось с его братьями и сестрами?
  3. Почему происхождение его семьи загадка?
  4. В каком городе родился  Путин?
  5. Какой предмет он изучал в университете?
  6. Почему КГБ изначально отвергли  его?
  7. Сколько у него  детей?
  8. На каком иностранном языке он говорит лучше всего?

9  В каком иностранном государстве он жил?

  1. Как он относится к концу коммунизма?
  2. Кто такой Горбачев?
  3. Что произошло в августе 1991 года?
  4. Что Путин должен был делать, чтобы заработать дополнительные деньги в 90-х годах?
  5. Кем  был дед Путина?
  6. Кто стал президентом России 31 декабря 1991 года?

Business Management


Business Management.

Those who wish to work in businesses often study Business Management. It is about strategising and organising. It involves staffing a business and controlling it so as to achieve a goal. The prime goal is profit. One also has to try to reduce risk. There is a trade-off here. The higher the risk, usually, the higher the profit. However, if things go wrong there will be no profit. In fact there will probably be a big loss. The lower the risk then usually the lower the profit.

If you sell bottles of water for $1 each and the profit margin is 3 cents then you are taking a small risk. There is only a 3% profit. The profit will not be huge. If you sell a vast number of them you can make a big profit. If you sell bottles of champagne for $500 each and the profit from each one  is $200 then this represents a huge profit margin. It is 40%/. Moreover, the amount of profit per bottle is enormous. However, the market for champagne fluctuates a lot. Something very expensive does not have a lot of buyers. You need to reach them with the right advertising. You need to have a reputation for excellence. You need the right image.

Water is not much of a comparison good. It is an impulse buy. People buy the first one they see or the cheapest one. Not many people are loyal to one brand of water. Champagne is a comparison good. This is expensive and people compare them and taste them. They think carefully about picking the right brand. They then tend to be loyal to it..

Business management teaches you to decided your strategy. WIll you compete on price or on quality? It can be both.

A business manager needs to gather information and be sure it is correct. He needs to verify that his subordinates are doing there job. He must have good interpersonal skills. He must treat his underling courteously. He need to command their respect. He needs to make reasonably quick and firm decisions. This must be clear. They may be somewhat complex but no so complex that others cannot understand them. These should not be changed without a good reason.

Business Management teaches people about this. There are role plays. Different roles are tried out. You could pretend to run a soft drinks factory, a hotel, an insurance company or an airline.

You will need to analyse complex situations. You must deal with contradictory information and work out what is true and what is more valuable. You need to deal with public relations. You may have difficult shareholders to deal with.

It is easy to be the boss when things are going well. But being a good boss when things are going badly is the real test of leadership.


1. What is a profit margin?

2. What is a comparison good?

3. What is an impulse buy?

4. What are the two major factors you can compete on?

5. What is the risk profit trade-off?

6. Outline some of the skills of a manager. (5)

Vlad Tepes



Vlad Tepes was born in Romania in 1431. He is also known as Vlad III. Note that his surname is pronounced Tep esh. Romania at that time was divided into Wallachia, Transylvania and Moldova. They all spoke the same language and they were all Christians. Vlad Tepes was the son of the Vlad II Voivoede of Wallachia. Wallachia is southern Romania.

The Ottomans invaded from the south. The Ottoman Empire was mighty at the time. The capital of the Ottoman Empire was Istanbul. The official language of this empire was Turkish. Most of the people of the Ottoman Empire were Muslims. They were a powerful military force.

Greece and Bulgaria were soon conquered by the Ottomans. Next they set their sights on Romania. The Ottomans concquered southern Romania. The rest of Romania made peace with the Ottomans. Vlad Tepes’ father was compelled to give his son as a hostage to the Turks. Vlad Tepes was taken to Istanbul and spent several years there as a child. He said he was badly treated there. He came to detest the Ottomans. After several years Vlad Tepes was allowed to return home. Other hostages were taken in his place.

Then war broke out anew between Romania and the Ottomans. Vlad Tepes led the fightback.

Vlad Tepes’ father has been awarded the Order of the Dragon. This was a medal given to him by the Holy Roman Emperor. Vlad Tepes became known as Draculea. This means ”son of a dragon.”

Vlad Tepes became Voivoede of Wallachia after his father died. Vlad Tepes was very effective in fighting th Turks. He would attack a Turkish camp at night with his men wearing Turkish uniforms. They would kill a few Turkish soldiers and make a lot of noise. Vlad Tepes and his men would then run away. The Turks would be woken up. As Turkish soldiers had been killed by men in Turkish uniform the Turks could not tell friend from foe. They would assume every other man was an enemy. The Turks would kill a lot of each other.

Vlad Tepes was very cruel to any Turks he captured. He had then impaled. This meant a wooden stake was stabbed up through the lower part of their body. It took them days to die.

Vlad Tepes lived in Bran Castle and other places. He is a national hero in Romania. He is buried on an island in the lake by Snagov. This is just north of Bucharest.

There is no connection between him and the fictional Count Dracula from the 1890 novel.


1. When was Vlad Tepes born?

2. What was his father’s job?

3. What does Draculea mean?

4. What were the three countries which formed Romania?

5. Which castle did he live in?

6. Which country invaded Romania?

7. Why was he called an impaler?

8. Is he the character from the 1890 novel?

9. Why did he attack at night?

10. What is your view of him? (4)

Jack the Ripper.


Jack the Ripper

London. 1888. One August morning young woman is found savagely stabbed to death in her bedroom. The attacked occurred in a seedy and impoverished part of London known as Whitechapel. The violence used was far more than was needful to kill her. Her internal organs had been removed after death and placed on a table where they are floating on a pool of her blood. It is known that this unfortunate female was a prostitute. Her assailant knew what he was doing. He must have been a man of great strength and with a razor sharp knife. His knowledge of anatomy leads many to assume that he must be a doctor.

Who can have committed such a barbaric crime? People do not care much for prostitutes. However, the newspapers are full of this most sensational story. There were some other murders in London at the time. These were usually drunk men fighting each other or criminals killing in robberies. To deliberately kill a defenceless woman was shockingly rare. There was not even a pecuniary motive to slay her. The murderer was then assumed to be rich because he has not bothered to take his victim’s cash and valuables. London was not a very violent place.  The hunt for the crazed killer was afoot! Then a few weeks later people are beginning to calm down. But then he strikes again. There was a hue and cry. 

In the same dingy London district of Whitechapel a woman is most foully done to death in a remarkably similar manner to the previous murder. A young woman was stabbed to death at night. The stab wounds showed extraordinary ferocity. The killer had again cut out some of her organs and placed them on the floor – they were swimming in a pool of blood.

The newspapers report little else but this disgusting crime for the next few days. Some newspapers dubbed this unknown killer ”Jack the Ripper” that is because the killer ripped the organs out. Jack was a very common name at the time. The police put out appeals for information.

The police received taunting letters from a man claiming to be the murderer. Some of them referred to the slayings as ‘work’. 

There was a large Jewish immigrant community in the East End of London at the time. They were mostly feeling from Russia. There was a lot of anti-Jewish prejudice at the time. Some graffiti as seen painted on the wall. It said ”Those who blame the Jews are not wrong.” It was assumed to be a reference to the Whitechapel murders. A senior police officer was worried that people would see this and attack Jews. He ordered the graffiti to be washed off. However, this was possibly a mistake. It could have been an important clue. The handwriting and fingerprints might have led to to the killer. Fingerprints had only just been discovered. There was a blood libel at the time. Anti-Semites in Christendom often blamed Jews for the unsolved murders. 

So the pattern of slayings continued. Five times in total Jack the Ripper struck. Five times he killed a prostitute. Five times he struck at night. Five he used a knife. He always killed on the 8th or the 30th of the month. In October 1888 the last killing occurred. In one case he was seen leaving the scene of the crime. He was a tall man in expensive dark clothes. There was another occasion when he grabbed a woman from behind and was about to plunge a knife in. He was seen by someone else who screamed. Jack the Ripper was disturbed and he ran off. The would be victim did not see his face. Jack the Ripper continued to send letters to the police teasing him that they would never catch him. In the letters he hinted that he was a misogynist.

However, there were some eyewitnesses who contradicted the account that said Jack was tall and expensively dressed. Others had seen his victim speaking to a short man who was poorly dressed man on the evening that she was killed. However, this short and badly dressed man was not necessarily her killer. 

People were in a blind panic. The public demanded that there should be more police patrols. There was paranoia.

Jack the Ripper was never caught. There are dozens of suspects. One of these was a Polish Jewish man. Some people say this was just due to anti-Jewish prejudice.

Some people suspected an unsuccessful lawyer named Montague John Druitt. Druitt committed suicide in October 1888 – just after the last murder. He was a bachelor and known to hate women.

There was an Irish-American in London called Tumblety. Tumblety was in London as part of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB). The IRB was a terrorist organisation setting off bombs to kill civilians. 

SOme people suspected Prince Eddy. Prince Eddy was the grandson of Queen Victoria. Prince Eddy was due to inherit the Crown. He was a man of very low intelligence and he was known to dislike women. He was due to be married to Princess Alexandra of Denmark which he did not want to do. However, he died in 1893. Prince Eddy did not commit these murders. It can be proved he was in Balmoral in Scotland for the whole August 1888 and there were scores of witnesses to that.

Another suspect for these killing is J K Stephen. J K Stephen went to Eton and Cambridge. He was a great intellectual and poet. He was a tutor to Prince Eddy. J K Stephen never married and had a pathological hatred of women. In some of his poems he said that women had done great evil. Stephen had a several brothers and no sisters. He had a pathologically bad relationship with his women. In one poem he wrote of wanting to ‘work’ against women. Jack the Ripper’s handwriting was strikingly close to him. However, it cannot have been Stephen he was lecturing in Cambridge at 8 am the morning after the killings. It was impossible to get from London to Cambridge by that time. Someone has checked the railway timetables to verify this. 

In 1889 he was declared to be mentally ill. He died of mania in St Andrew’s Hospital which is psychiatric hospital  in Northampton a few years later.

Though some arrests were made no one has ever been charged in connection to these barbaric crimes.

One of the detectives on the case believed that it was Druitt. We will never know. 

There are about five major suspects and a hundred minor suspects. A magazine is published about the case. 

Jack the Ripper is one of the early well documented serial killer cases. He slew people only for a thrill. There was no financial motive. He was not killing out of personal grudge. 

There are the canonical five murders. Everyone agrees that these killings were committed by the same person. There were several other unsolved murders of women in London around these time. Some people believe that Jack the Ripper killed more than five victims. 


1. In which year did Jack the Ripper first kill?

2. Name one suspect for these crimes?

3. What is the name of the area in East London where these crimes occurred?

4. What gender were the victims?

5. Why has Prince Eddy been excluded as a suspect?

6. What was the murder weapon?

7. On which days of the month did he kill?

8. Why do some suspect Mongtague John Druitt?

9. Why did some people suspect that the murderer was Jewish?

10. Why has this tale so fascinated the public?




Skinheads are young men who shave the hair off their heads. Old men often go bald. These are young men who usually have plenty of hair. Having most of your hair cut off is normal in the army. Skinheads want to appear tough like soldiers so they do this. SOme skinheads used to be soldiers but most are not.

Skinheads emerged in Europe and America in the 1960s. They usually have ultra-nationalist views. Skinheads are often called neo-Nazis. Neo means new. There are skinheads in Russia and many other places. Skinheads are often football hooligans. They are idiotic thugs who attack foreigners. They believe in ethno-nationalism and not civic nationalism.

Skinheads hang around in gangs. They often feel inadequate. They are normally people with low educational attainment and poor job prospects. They try to feel worthwhile by belonging to a gang. Their ethnicity is the only thing they feel proud of. They glorify brutality. Skinheads often have tattoos. These will usually be a flag, slogan or ultra nationalist symbol. They listen to thrash bands. They sometimes idolise Hitler. They are despicable criminals.


1. What is a skinhead?

2. When did skinheads first appear?

3. WHy do they shave their heads?

4. What do they usually have inked into their skin?

5. Whom do they hate?

6. Why do they join these gangs?

7. Are there skinheads in Russia?

8. What should be done about skinheads? (3)

V V Putin. Early Life.



Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was born in 1952. The city of his birth is St Petersburg. In those times it was called Leningrad. He was the only child of his parents at that time. However, they had previously had two children who both died in the Siege of Leningrad. Putin’s grandfather had been a chef to Tsar Nicholas II and to Stalin. There is no record of the surname Putin before President Putin’s grandfather. So the origins of his paternal grandfather remain obscure.

Putin was not a bright schoolboy at first. He was a tearaway. He had brushes with the authorities until he discovered judo. Then he became more studious. He approached the KGB asking to join as a teenager. They turned him down saying they never took people who came to them. The KGB was suspicious of any volunteer. Such a person could be a spy or a lunatic.

Putin attended Leningrad State University where he read law. He was then asked by the KGB to join. He was delighted to do so. He learnt German. He was posted to Dresden in East Germany. East Germany was then called the German Democratic Republic. East Germany was a communist country in full alliance with the Soviet Union. The Red Army was there. Putin married a Russian and they had two daughters.

In 1989 the communist governments in Eastern Europe were overthrown by massive protests. Their communist economic policies had failed and caused huge hardship. Putin and his family returned to the Soviet Union. Putin was upset by these changes. He was astonished how easily communism had fallen. The Soviet leader at that time was Mikayil Gorbachev. Gorbachev was a communist who believed that communism needed to be reformed to make it last longer. His new, moderate communism was  popular at first. He allowed greater freedom of expression and some free market activity. For some hardline communists this was the beginning of the end. They wanted to preserve the old system without any modernisation.

Gorbachev allowed other parties to be formed. Up until then founding a party other than the Communist Party had been a crime. In free elections Communists were usually voted out of office. Putin was worried by this. He was a convinced communist. He felt that democracy would divide and weaken the Soviet Union. In non-Russian republics nationalist movements were stirring. In places such as the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Latvia and so on many people demanded independence. V V Putin wanted to keep the USSR united. Putin only had a part-time job in the KGB. He had to make extra money driving a taxi. Life seemed to be going very badly for him.

One of the Russians pushing for reform was Boris Yeltsin. Yeltsin was a former communist who had been Mayor of Moscow. Yeltsin left the communist party and set up a new party called Our Home Is Russia.

In 1991 there was a last ditch attempt to save communism. That August Gorbachev went on his customary holiday to the Black Sea. Some of the old guard communist staged a putsch. They broadcast on television that Gorbachev was ill and had been relieved of his duties. Boris Yeltsin led massive protests in Russia. The coup plotters put troops onto the streets. SOme of the soldiers deserted to the side of Yeltsin. In the end the coup plotters nerves failed. AFter three days the coup was over and only a few people had been killed.

Gorbachev returned to Moscow. He announced that he was not sick at all. The coup plotters were arrested and one committed suicide. Putin said he very much sympathised with the coup since it was an bid to maintain communism. Yeltsin was the man of the moment.

In the last few months of 1991 all the non Russian republics voted to declare independence. On New Year’s Eve Gorbachev resigned as President of Russia. He was replaced by Boris Yeltsin. At the stroke of midnight the Flag of the Soviet Union was lowered for the last time over the Kremlin and the Tricolour of the Russian Federation was hoisted. The USSR was no more. Putin said it was the worst day of his life.


1. When was Putin born?

2. What happened to his siblings?

3. Why is his family’s origins mysterious?

4. In which city was Putin born?

5. What subject did he study at university?

6. Why did the KGB initially reject him?

7. How many children does he have?

8. Which foreign language does he speak best?

9. Which foreign country did he live in?

10. How did he feel about the end of communism?

11. Who was Gorbachev?

12. What happened in August 1991? (3)

13. What did Putin have to do to earn extra money in the 1990s?

14. What job did his grandfather do?

15. Who became President of Russia on 31 December 1991?




A currency is another way of saying a country’s type of money. Most countries have their own currency. For example, Kazkahstan has the tenge. No other country in the world uses this currency. The United States uses the United States Dollar. The US Dollar is also used by a few other countries such as El Salvador. El Salvador abolished its own currency because its currency had many problems. Canada uses the Canadian Dollar. The Canadian Dollar is NOT the same as the US Dollar. The Canadian Dollar looks different from the US Dollar and has a different value. Then there is the Australian Dollar which is different again from both the US Dollar and the Canadian Dollar. About 20 European countries use the Euro. The countries that use the Euro include France, Spain, Germany and Ireland.

A currency is divided into subunits. For example, a dollar is divided into 100 cents. A rouble is divided into 100 kopecks so the subunit of a rouble is a kopeck.

Currencies go up and down in value. This is currency fluctuation. The pound is a very strong currency. One pound is worth about 280 tenge. But this changes from day to day. Tomorrow a pound may be worth 272 tenge and the next day it might be worth 283 tenge. This changes according to the economic situation. Having a strong currency is now always a good thing. It can mean that a country’s exports are expensive to buy because that currency is so valuable. It also means that it it expensive for foreign tourists to come to that country. Countries sometimes want their currencies to be a bit weaker. However, if a currency is very weak that can also be bad.

Inflation is when the value of the currency goes down. The money has less purchasing power. You can buy less and less with it. Up to a point inflation is not very bad. If inflation becomes very high then this is a crisis. Extremely high inflation is called hyperinflation.


1. What is a currency?

2. What is a subunit?

3. Give an example of a foreign currency?

4. Are Canadian dollars and American dollars the same?

5. What is inflation?

6. What is currency fluctation?

7. Why does the value of a currency change?

8. Why is it bad to have a very strong currency?

9. What is the currency of many European countries?