Voicy Journal


Voicy News Brief with articles from The New York Times ニュース原稿1/16-1/22

Voicy News Brief with articles from The New York Times ニュース原稿1/16-1/22

Voicy初の公式英語ニュースチャンネル「Voicy News Brief with articles from New York Times」。チャンネルでは、バイリンガルパーソナリティがThe New York Timesの記事を英語で読み、記事の中に出てくる単語を日本語で解説しています。

Voicy Journalでは、毎週金曜日にその週に読んだ記事を、まとめて紹介します!1週間の終わりに、その週の放送をもう1度聞いて復習するのも良いかもしれません。VoicyのPCページやアプリでは、再生速度も変えられるので、自分の理解度に応じて、調整してみましょう。


Toyota to Pay a Record Fine for a Decade of Clean Air Act Violations

著者:Hiroko Tabuchi
(c) 2021 The New York Times Company

Toyota Motor is set to pay a $180 million fine for long-standing violations of the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan announced Thursday, the largest civil penalty ever levied for a breach of federal emissions-reporting requirements.

From about 2005 to 2015, the global automaker systematically failed to report defects that interfered with how its cars controlled tailpipe emissions, violating standards designed to protect public health and the environment from harmful air pollutants, according to a complaint filed in Manhattan.

Toyota managers and staff in Japan knew about the practice but failed to stop it, and the automaker quite likely sold millions of vehicles with the defects, the attorney’s office said.

“Toyota shut its eyes to the noncompliance,” Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. attorney, said in a statement. Toyota has agreed not to contest the fine.

Eric Booth, a spokesman for the automaker, said that the company had alerted the authorities as soon as the lapses came to light, and that the delay in reporting “resulted in a negligible emissions impact, if any.”

“Nonetheless, we recognize that some of our reporting protocols fell short of our own high standards, and we are pleased to have resolved this matter,” Booth added.

Toyota is the world’s second-largest automaker behind Volkswagen, and once built a reputation for clean technology on the back of its bestselling Prius gasoline-electric hybrid passengers cars. But the auto giant’s decision in 2019 to support the Trump administration’s rollback of tailpipe emissions standards — coupled with its relatively slow introduction of fully electric vehicles — has made it a target of criticism from environmental groups.

Toyota’s more recent lineup of models has been heavy on gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles, which come with far bigger price tags and have brought far higher profit margins. According to a recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency, Toyota vehicles delivered some of the worst fuel efficiency in the industry, leading to an overall worsening of mileage and pollution from passenger cars and trucks in the United States for the first time in five years.

Many automakers are now bracing for a likely push by the incoming Biden administration for a return to stricter tailpipe emissions rules, and have signaled they are committed to working with administration officials.

The Clean Air Act (米)大気汚染防止法,排ガス規制法
levy 課す、取り立てる
breach (法律・約束などに対する) 違反、不履行、侵害
defect 欠陥、不備、不具合
air pollutant 大気汚染物質
noncompliance (法律・契約・規則などに対する) 不服従、不履行、違反
-breach, violation
contest 異議を唱える、反対する
negligible 無視できるほどの、取るに足りない
nonetheless それにもかかわらず 、それでもなお、とはいえ
-however, nevertheless
rollback 後退、(物価などの) 引き下げ
gas-guzzling (自動車が) ガソリンをよく食う(大量に消費する)、高燃費の
brace for ~に備える、~に構える


NRA Declares Bankruptcy and Seeks to Exit New York

著者:Danny Hakim
(c) 2021 The New York Times Company

Seeking an end-run around an investigation by the New York attorney general, the National Rifle Association said Friday that it was declaring bankruptcy and would reincorporate in Texas. The gun group was set up in New York after the Civil War.

The group’s effort to circumvent New York’s legal jurisdiction raised immediate questions from Letitia James, the New York attorney general and a Democrat, who is seeking to use her regulatory authority to dissolve the NRA. She has been conducting an investigation into corruption at the gun group since 2019.

James’ investigation has come as the NRA has been wracked by infighting and discontent, including the bitter departures of its president, Oliver North, and its top lobbyist, Chris Cox.

Typically, nonprofit groups that are chartered in New York and under investigation are prohibited from relocating their assets during an inquiry. The bankruptcy filing could delay the resolution of the attorney general’s case while the matter is litigated in bankruptcy court.

The NRA and a subsidiary filed Chapter 11 petitions in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Dallas. It reported between $100 million and $500 million in assets and the same amount in liabilities.

Sean Delany, a former chief of the charities bureau in the New York attorney general’s office, the division that handled the case, questioned whether “the filing accurately represents the NRA’s financial position.”

The NRA said it had also formed a committee to examine moving its headquarters out of Fairfax, Virginia, and that it would study “opportunities for relocating segments of its business operations to Texas or other states.”

Wayne LaPierre, longtime chief executive of the NRA, said in a statement that “this strategic plan represents a pathway to opportunity, growth and progress.”

The NRA has weathered years of revelations about its spending and oversight practices, including hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on LaPierre’s Zegna suits and far-flung travel.

Last August, James, whose office has jurisdiction over New York charities, sued the NRA, seeking its closure along with tens of millions of dollars in restitution from LaPierre and three other executives.

The NRA conceded in recent tax filings that LaPierre and other executives had received hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of improper benefits from the group, which were reimbursed.

Bankruptcy 破産
End-run 回避的な戦術
Attorney general 司法長官
Reincorporate 再法人化
Circumvent 回避
Jurisdiction 管轄
Corruption 汚職
Wrack 破滅する
Infighting 内紛
Discontent 不満
Litigate 起訴を起こす
Subsidiary 子会社
Chapter 11 連邦倒産法第11章
Assets 資産
Liabilities 負債


Consumer Groups Target Amazon Prime’s Cancellation Process

著者:Isabella Kwai
(c) 2021 The New York Times Company

Those who have tried ending a membership in Amazon Prime, the technology giant’s digital subscription service, may be familiar with the multi-click process: warnings that cancellation will mean losing “exclusive benefits,” and prompts to reverse course, or switch to an annual membership instead.

Consumer rights groups in Europe and the United States are now urging regulators to take action against Amazon over that Prime design feature, saying it manipulates users into sticking with paid memberships.

A Norwegian consumer rights group on Thursday filed a legal complaint with that country’s regulators accusing Amazon of engaging in unfair commercial practices with the Prime cancellation design, the latest move in a broader push to make tech companies more accountable to users.

“It should be as easy to end a subscription as it was to subscribe in the first place,” said Finn Lützow-Holm Myrstad, director of digital policy for the rights group, the Norwegian Consumer Council. “This practice not only betrays the expectations and trust of consumers but breaches European law.”

The move was welcomed Thursday by consumer rights advocates in Europe, some of whom said they had filed their own complaints, and in the United States.

Ekpizo, a consumer organization in Greece, said the design of the Prime cancellation process was “a deliberate effort by Amazon to confuse and mislead its customers.”

In France, UFC-Que Choisir, the country’s biggest consumer protection group, expressed support for the Norwegian complaint. One of Germany’s biggest consumer protection groups, VSBV, said it was studying whether German customers faced similar hurdles.

In the United States, Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer group, said it had written to the Federal Trade Commission asking it to investigate whether the cancellation policy violated the Federal Trade Commission Act.

Amazon said it rejected claims that the cancellation process created uncertainty.

“We make it easy for customers to leave whenever they choose to,” the company said, adding that there were several ways to cancel online or with a phone call. Information provided during the cancellation process “gives a full view of the benefits and services members are canceling,” the company said.

multi-click  マルチクリック、複数回のクリックを要する
exclusive benefit(s) 独占的権益、特典 
(exclusive offer: ~だけへの提案)
prompt プロンプト、促すもの
reverse course 逆を行く,(針路を)反転する
manipulate 巧みに操作する、小細工をする
accountable to (人に)説明する義務、説明責任があって (1/14 復習)
breach 違反する (*1/16 復習)
deliberate 故意の、計画的な
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) 連邦取引委員会


Pixar’s ‘Soul’ Has a Black Hero. In Denmark, a White Actor Dubs the Voice.

著者:Lisa Abend
(c) 2021 The New York Times Company

Like most of their counterparts around the world, Danish film critics initially greeted “Soul,” Pixar’s first animated feature to focus on Black characters and African American culture, with rapture, hailing its sensitive, joyful portrayal of a jazz musician on a quest to live a meaningful life.

The film was described as “a miracle,” by one reviewer in Denmark, “beautiful and life-giving” by another.

What the Danish press did not initially focus on, by and large, was the characters’ race. But that changed after the movie’s release on Dec. 25, when realization spread that the Danish-language version had been dubbed primarily by white actors. This is also the case in many other European-language versions of “Soul.”

While in most countries, the film’s voice-over casting has barely registered with the public, in Portugal, more than 17,000 have signed a petition calling on Pixar to remake the local edition with actors of color. “This movie is not just another movie, and representation matters,” the petition states.

Joe Gardner, the main character in “Soul,” is Pixar’s first Black protagonist. The studio took steps to accurately represent African American culture, hiring Kemp Powers as a co-director and installing a “cultural trust” to safeguard the story’s authenticity.

In the Danish version, Joe is voiced by Nikolaj Lie Kaas, who is white. When the national newspaper Berlingske interviewed scholars and activists who expressed their disappointment about this and suggested that the casting was an example of structural racism, a fiery controversy erupted.

Asta Selloane Sekamane, one of the activists who criticized the casting in the Berlingske article, said in an interview that no one can claim there wasn’t enough Black talent to fill the main roles, because actors of color were hired to voice some of the minor parts. “It can’t be the constant excuse, this idea that we can’t find people who live up to our standards,” she added. “That’s an invisible bar that ties qualification to whiteness.”

Mira Skadegard, a professor at Aalborg University in Denmark who researches discrimination and inequality, said the resistance to accusations of structural racism was unsurprising. “In Denmark, we have a long history of denial when it comes to racism, and a deep investment in the ideal of equality,” she said.

“We don’t really understand this as a critique of institutions and structures; we see it as a critique of who we are,” she added.

counterparts (形・機能などが)似た相対物 *9/1の復習
[語源: contra(相対する)+part(部分、片割れ)]
feature (film) 長編映画
rapture 歓喜
[語源: rapture(奪い去る)→気持ちを奪い去る]
life-giving 生気をあたえてくれる
by and large だいたい
dubbed 吹き替えられている *12/22の復習
barely ほとんど〜ない
registered with 印象を残す、知られる
representation 表象
safeguard 保護する
authenticity 真正
☝️authentic(本物の) ↔︎ fake(偽物の)
structural racism 構造的人種差別
fiery 激しい
controversy 論争 [語源: contra(相対する)+versy(versus対立)]
live up to 〜に添う
☝️live up to one’s expectations(期待に添う)
qualification 資格があること
unsurprising 意外ではない、予想できる
critique 批判


Trump Orders Lifting of Virus Travel Ban, but Biden Aides Vow to Block Move

著者:Michael D. Shear
(c) 2021 The New York Times Company

President Donald Trump on Monday ordered an end to the ban on travelers from Europe and Brazil that had been aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus to the United States, a move quickly rejected by aides to President-elect Joe Biden.

In a proclamation issued late Monday, Trump said that the travel restrictions, which apply to noncitizens trying to come to the United States after spending time in those areas, would no longer be needed on Jan. 26, the date on which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will start requiring all passengers from abroad to present proof of a negative coronavirus test before boarding a flight.

Trump wrote that Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of Health and Human Services, had recommended ending the restrictions on travel from most parts of Europe and Brazil, while maintaining restrictions on Iran and China, which Trump said had not been cooperative.

“I agree with the secretary that this action is the best way to continue protecting Americans from COVID-19 while enabling travel to resume safely,” the president said in the proclamation.

But Jennifer Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary for Biden, said the new administration would not allow Trump’s directives to take effect.

“With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel,” Psaki tweeted shortly after the White House issued Trump’s proclamation.

“On the advice of our medical team, the administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26,” she said. “In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of Covid-19.”

The proclamation lifting the travel ban was part of a flurry of executive orders Trump issued on Monday that will most likely be rescinded or reversed.

The president-elect has made getting control of the pandemic the centerpiece of his new administration, and has been highly critical of how his predecessor handled the worst public health crisis in more than 100 years.

reject 拒否する、却下する
aide 側近
enable 〜を可能にする
proclamation 声明
directive 指示、命令
worsening 悪化する
contagious 伝染性の
mitigate 和らげる
rescind 取り消す、撤回する


Netflix Will No Longer Borrow, Ending Its Run of Debt

著者:Edmund Lee
(c) 2021 The New York Times Company

Netflix has reached a financial milestone: It no longer needs to borrow money.

Netflix announced Tuesday in its fourth-quarter earnings report that it would not “need to raise external financing for our day-to-day operations,” a significant move for the heavily indebted company.

In less than a decade, the streaming giant borrowed more than $16 billion to feed its titanic appetite for content. The reason: It didn’t make enough money to cover both its entertainment productions and its business costs, like payroll and rent and marketing.

That fact has caused a long-standing gripe over Netflix’s business model, and it’s why some observers have long argued that Netflix is a debt-ridden house of cards that would eventually come tumbling down.

Reed Hastings, Netflix’s co-chief executive and co-founder, expected Hollywood would soon catch up in the streaming market, and the company stockpiled content as quickly as possible. To finance the hefty licensing and production costs, it borrowed the money. And kept borrowing.

The risk was clear: If Netflix didn’t generate enough cash by the time the debts came due, it would be in serious trouble. Hastings was betting that the company could attract subscribers (and raise its prices) faster than the debt clock was ticking.

The gambit seems to have worked. The company will still have $10 billion to $15 billion in debt, but it said it now made enough revenue to pay back those loans while maintaining its immense content budget.

The company made $542 million in profit on $6.64 billion in sales in the fourth quarter. Investors had been expecting $625 million in profit and $6.6 billion in revenue, according to S&P Capital IQ.

All the debt Netflix accumulated allowed it to flex its film slate for 2021, when it plans to release 70 new movies.

There are still risks to Netflix’s cash-fueled alleyway to streaming dominance. Hollywood has finally caught up, and much larger companies like the Walt Disney Co., with Disney+, and AT&T, with HBO Max, are now making big bets on streaming, giving consumers more choices and threatening Netflix’s market share.

gripe 悩みの種、不平
debt-ridden 借金まみれの、赤字を抱えた
house of cards 砂上の楼閣、不安定な計画
tumble down 崩壊する、崩れ落ちる
hefty かなりの、相当な
gambit 先手、策略
immense 膨大な、巨大な
flex 力を見せつける、威力を示す
cash-fueled 現金にささえられた、現金を投入した


Biden, in a Burst of Climate Orders, Rejoins the Paris Agreement

著者:Coral Davenport and Lisa Friedman
(c) 2021 The New York Times Company

President Joe Biden on Wednesday recommitted the United States to the Paris climate agreement, the international accord designed to avert catastrophic global warming, and ordered federal agencies to start reviewing and reinstating more than 100 environmental regulations that were weakened or rolled back by former President Donald Trump.

The moves represent a first step in healing one of the deepest rifts between the United States and the rest of the world after Trump defiantly rejected the Paris pact and seemed to relish his administration’s push to weaken or undo major domestic climate policies.

Biden has made tackling the climate crisis among his highest priorities.

“We’re going to combat climate change in a way we have not before,” Biden said in the Oval Office on Wednesday evening, just before signing the executive orders. Even so, he cautioned: “They are just executive actions. They are important but we’re going to need legislation for a lot of the things we’re going to do.”

Foreign leaders hailed Biden’s first moves as a powerful signal that the United States, the largest contributor to global warming in history, intends to restart its efforts to lower pollution levels and to restore the international order upended by Trump. “Welcome back to the Paris Agreement!” President Emmanuel Macron of France said in a Twitter message.

Under the Paris Agreement, nearly 200 nations have vowed to reduce planet warming emissions to avert the most disastrous consequences of climate change. A letter to the United Nations signed by Biden on Wednesday formally starts the 30-day process of bringing the United States back into the accord.

But analysts cautioned that Biden’s actions on day one must be quickly followed by a series of aggressive domestic climate policies to drastically lower the country’s emissions of planet-warming pollution from tailpipes, smokestacks and oil and gas wells.

Also on Wednesday, Biden rescinded the construction permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would have transported carbon-heavy oil from the Canadian oil sands to the Gulf Coast.

But the lengthy legal process of undoing most of Trump’s environmental rollbacks and replacing them with new regulations could take years and is likely to be strewed with political land mines if Republicans or business groups fight them.

rift  亀裂/仲たがい
defiantly 断固として/反抗的に
relish  楽しむ/享受する
push  推進/強要
hail  歓迎する/歓呼する
upend ひっくり返す/崩壊する
analyst 分析者/アナリスト
aggressive 積極的な/攻撃的な
⚠️ ネガティブなニュアンスで使われる場合が多い
tailpipe  テイルパイプ/排気管
smokestack (工場などの)煙突/大煙突
rescind  取り消す/廃止する
strew 散らばる/ばらまく
land mine 地雷

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