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Important English Vocabulary from “The Economist”-(Day-31)

Important English Vocabulary from “The Economist”-(Day-31):

Dear Readers, to score good marks in English Section first and for most thing is you need to develop your reading skills, while reading a passage you need to highlight the tough words in it and you should know the correct meaning for those words. This will help you understand the passage clearly and also you can learn more new words, it means also you can develop your vocabulary. To help you in this part we have provided a passage along with meaning, synonyms and usages of hard words in the passage, make use of it. We also providing Important Vocabulary Quiz based on “THE ECONOMIST”.

Putting a new face on an American banknote is oddly difficult

The Trump administration is in no hurry to replace Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill

IT WOULD be hard to find a better example of long-term gridlock in Washington than its treatment of banknotes, whose appearance has essentially been frozen since 1929. The administration of Barack Obama took a half-hearted step towards a new look, proposing the replacement of Alexander Hamilton’s portrait on the $10 bill with a portrait of Harriet Tubman, a former slave who became a civil-war hero.

Problems cropped up at once. It seemed ludicrous to scrap the portrait of the one person on a note who helped create America’s financial system. It did not help that he was also the hero of a smash-hit Broadway musical. So the administration decided instead to replace Andrew Jackson, America’s seventh president, on the $20 bill. But by then it was too close to the election to push the change through.

President Donald Trump has since lent his support to keeping Jackson. In a recent interview, his treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, made it clear he had little interest in pursuing the change. That is a great pity. Tubman was a remarkable woman who emerged from chains to lead other slaves to freedom. (Like the current administration, she was also a Republican, if in a very different party.)

It is also odd that Jackson, of all people, ever appeared on a note backed by the central bank, let alone survived so long. He was a popular president, a successful general and founder of the modern Democratic Party. But as well as the grim aspects of his career—his ownership of slaves and support for the forced relocation of native Americans—his approach to the public finances, though intellectually defensible, makes his use on a note singularly ironic.

On taking office, he declared war on what was then the nation’s central bank. He thought it beyond proper congressional oversight and too influential (criticism often made of its successor today). He told Martin Van Buren, later the eighth president: “The bank…is trying to kill me, but I will kill it.” And, unlike current critics of Fed policy, he actually did so, despite objections by Congress, the courts and two of his own treasury secretaries, whom he fired for impeding his attack. What followed was a period when currency was issued by a private bank. That ended when Abraham Lincoln needed to finance the prosecution of the civil war.

Thereafter, banknotes initially featured a diverse range of personalities: presidents of course, including Lincoln; but also generals, secretaries of treasury and state, women in allegorical roles (both robed and partially disrobed), children, boats, trains, eagles, bisons and even Martha Washington, America’s first First Lady.

The risks of this approach became obvious after the first superintendent of the currency bureau, Spencer Clark, put his own image on a note. Congress then banned the portrayal of living people. But that is a minor constraint, and it is not clear why the process ossified. It has not done so in other countries. Britain, for example, changes notes quite often, introducing this week a new £10 bill featuring Jane Austen, a 19th-century novelist.

If one explanation for American banknote conservatism is the political difficulty of making any changes at all, at least there is no urgency to act. The new $20, for example, is not due to be circulated until 2030. By then banknotes may have been superseded entirely and the $20 Tubman bill be no more than a historical curiosity.

1). Ludicrous (Adj)
Definition: so foolish, unreasonable, or out of place as to be amusing.
Synonyms: absurd, ridiculous, farcical, laughable, risible
Usage: It’s ludicrous that I have been fined.

2). Defensible (Adj)
Definition: justifiable by argument.
Synonyms: tenable, defendable, maintainable, sustainable
Usage: This is a perfectly defensible attitude.

3). Impede (Verb) gerund or present participle: impeding
Definition: delay or prevent (someone or something) by obstructing them; hinder.
Synonyms: hinder, obstruct, hamper, handicap
Usage: The programme has been impeded by several problems.

4). Allegorical (Adj)
Definition: constituting or containing allegory.
Synonyms: symbolic, metaphorical, figurative
Usage: An allegorical painting.

5). Ossified (Verb)
Definition: cease developing; stagnate.
Synonyms: become inflexible, become rigid, fossilize, harden
Usage: Past oligarchies have fallen from power because they ossified.

How to protect yourself against the theft of your identity

Top tip: keep an eye on your bank and credit-card statements

AS IDENTITY theft has proliferated, so has the number of businesses hoping to make money selling protection against it. Companies such as LifeLock, Identity Guard and PrivacyGuard sell products similar to Equifax’s TrustedID Premier identity-theft protection. That was the service Equifax offered to every American with a Social Security number in the aftermath of its big data breach.

Those who enroll in TrustedID are promised notification if their information is offered for sale on the internet. Their credit reports with Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, the “Big Three” credit-reporting agencies (CRAs), are also monitored for suspicious activity, such as the opening of new accounts or failures to pay a bill on time. If such activity is detected, users can “freeze” their Equifax credit reports, ie, make them unavailable to lenders. And TrustedID offers $1m-worth of insurance to compensate users for losses incurred as a result of identity theft. Equifax is offering the service free for a year; typically, such schemes can cost $15-25 a month.

Unfortunately, the identity-theft protection offered by these services is more akin to a car alarm than a door lock. Lance Spitzner of SANS Institute, a global information-security training company, points out that credit monitoring does nothing to protect people from identity theft. Once warned, the schemes can help people freeze their credit reports, but, in America, state laws anyway mandate that CRAs provide such freezes upon request. In some states, CRAs are allowed to charge for these freezing services (fees are generally not more than $10).

Insurance may help victims of identity theft recover some of their losses. However, Mr Spitzner explains, being a victim is an unpleasant experience whether you have insurance or not. According to his research, undoing identity fraud can take an average of six months and 100 to 200 hours of a person’s time. Complete protection is impossible. Safest is to look after personal information and carefully scrutinise bank and credit-card statements. Of course, companies that gather personal information should guard it with appropriate zeal. But, as recent events have made clear, it would be a foolish consumer who relied on that.

Source: “THE ECONOMIST”

1). Proliferated (Verb)
Definition: increase rapidly in number; multiply.
Synonyms: increase rapidly, grow rapidly, multiply
Usage: The debate continued and articles in the media proliferated.

2). Aftermath (Noun)
Definition: the consequences or after-effects of a significant unpleasant event.
Synonyms: repercussions, after-effects, by-product, fallout, backwash
Usage: Food prices soared in the aftermath of the drought.

3). Incur (Verb) past tense: incurred; past participle: incurred
Definition: become subject to (something unwelcome or unpleasant) as a result of one’s own behaviour or actions.
Synonyms: suffer, sustain, experience
Usage: The company incurred a loss of two million pounds.

4). Akin (Adj)
Definition: of similar character.
Synonyms: similar, related, close, near
Usage: Walking through the streets of Hong Kong is an experience akin to a rugby match.

5). Scrutinise (Verb)
Definition: examine or inspect closely and thoroughly.
Synonyms: examine carefully, inspect, survey, scan, study
Usage: Customers were warned to scrutinize the small print.

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