Expand your vocabulary

The highlighted words have been chosen from the South China Morning Post's top news stories to help you improve your word power

Wok-fried foie gras? Mainlanders are discovering the rich, buttery taste of the delicacy on French holidays and are asking for it back home, spurring a growing industry.

Record oil prices, combined with widespread overinvestment in China's petrochemicals sector, have squeezed profit margins among midstream producers for the past few years.

Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food York Chow Yat-ngok said the local poultry industry could survive despite a government plan to phase out pig farming.

Mr Zheng, the chairman of the China Reform Forum non-governmental think-tank and a former executive vice-president of the Central Party School, said China was confronted with many challenges including energy shortages, degradation of its ecology and environment, and an imbalance between economic and social development.

The deal, aimed at creating a single, strong rail company while sweeping aside the KCRC's chronic management problems, could take effect next summer, provided the needed legislation passes smoothly.

To appease the US, a delegation led by Vice-Premier Wu Yi has signed deals worth more than US$16 billion with US firms this month.

Hong Kong and the mainland are on the verge of signing a long-awaited agreement to make commercial court judgments delivered in each other's courts enforceable on both sides of the border.

In today's highly politicised climate, officials would rather do nothing than risk condemnation, New World Development managing director Henry Cheng Kar-shun believes.


foie gras - the liver of force-fed geese or ducks that has a special flavour

overinvestment - the act of putting too much money into an area where there is little growth

to phase out - to terminate gradually

imbalance - inequality between two things

sweeping aside - eliminating

appease - calm or pacify (someone)

on the verge of - about to do (something)

condemnation - strong disapproval of something or someone

Exercise: Complete the sentences using the above words

1. The central government must set up guidelines to curb _______________, which could lead to social instability.

2. The Nepalese government tried to ________________ the angry protesters by allowing them to demonstrate in the streets.

3. The brutal terrorist attack drew ________________ from around the world.

4. ______________ their differences, schools and the government are now working together to create a better learning environment for the students.

5. China's gender __________ is largely due to the traditional concept that boys are better than girls.

6. The company is ______________ making a deal to buy out their chief competitor.

7. Specialities such as ___________ are an integral part of French cuisine.

8. Technological advancement has forced many businesses __________ labour-intensive work.

Answers: 1. overinvestment 2. appease 3. condemnation 4. sweeping aside 5. imbalance 6. on the verge of 7. foie gras 8. to phase out