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Diamonds Aren't Everyone's Best Friend

In the middle of dinner, Victor got down on one knee. Taking Claire's hand in his, he spoke the words she had been dying to hear, "Will you marry me?" Claire beamed as Victor reached into his pocket, pulling out the velvet-covered jewelry box. Nestled inside was a two-carat diamond. As he placed the ring on her finger, the look of joy on her face turned to horror as blood began to drip from the ring. This blood wasn't her own, but the blood of the thousands of men and women who died as a result of the diamond she was now wearing.

This example is an exaggerated illustration of the blood diamond trade. Blood diamonds are not red, nor are they dripping with blood. These are precious stones that are mined in countries that are considered war zones. The gems are then secretly sold, with the proceeds funding the war efforts of terrorists or of less-than-honorable military regimes.

Africa may be the cradle of civilization, but in it sleep age-old feuds that have taken countless lives. The majority of the world's diamonds come from Africa. Countries such as Angola, Sierra Leone, and the Ivory Coast are known to produce some of the most pristine diamonds on earth. These places are also known for their bloody wars and conflicts.

In 1974, Portugal's rule of Angola came to an end. Soon after independence, fighting among different factions broke out. The civil war lasted 27 years and took over half a million lives. Many of the bombs, bullets, and grenades used to kill were purchased using funds from the sale of diamonds. These diamonds found their way onto the fingers, wrists, and necks of the wealthy around the world.

For years, the diamond trade was stained with the blood of these sorts of operations. However, the public as well as governments around the world eventually became informed about its violent nature. Sanctions against the diamond industry in these countries made a difference and now most of these conflicts have been resolved and the trade is sparkling again.

     
  1. What is the purpose of the first paragraph?
       
    (A) To show the proper way to propose.
    (B) To limit the time a person can wear a diamond.
    (C) To suggest when and where to ask someone to marry you.
    (D)

To demonstrate how the diamonds we buy may have had a horrible past.

       
  2. Which of the following isn't part of the blood diamond process?
       
    (A) Diamonds are mined.
    (B) Weapons are purchased.
    (C)

Countries reach peace agreements.

    (D) Customers buy diamonds.
       
  3. How did diamonds take lives in Angola?
       
    (A) The terrorists used them as weapons.
    (B)

Different groups purchased weapons using money from the sale of diamonds.

    (C) Diamonds are often used to create some of the most sophisticated weapons.
    (D) Precious stones can add value to any country seeking independence.
       
  4. What helped weaken the blood diamond trade?
       
    (A) Searches for missing relatives lost in the conflict.
    (B) Research done by participants in the diamond trade.
    (C)

Officials not allowing the sale of these diamonds.

    (D) An increase in demand for other gemstones.
       
      dripping   liquid falling in drops
           
      pristine   completely free from dirt or contamination
           
      stained with blood   guilty of killing
           
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  Answers : 1) D    2) C    3) B    4) C
 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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