Read the text and circle T for True or F for False
Heart of Darkness
Welcome to my blog! My name’s Mike and I’ve been a full-time traveller since 2010 when I escaped the boredom of corporate life and decided to explore the world. I have been on the road ever since and I've got no plans to stop any time soon! In today’s entry, I’d like to tell you about one of my most exciting adventures – a journey inside an Icelandic volcano.

I had always dreamt of visiting the depths of a volcano. I thought my dream was beyond reach until I read about Thrihnukagigur, a volcano that can be entered and explored by tourists. Intrigued, I decided to e-mail Thrihnukagigur’s enthusiast, Árni Stefánsson, and ask him for some information on the mountain. To my surprise, Árni invited me to Iceland and offered to give me a tour of the place. Just a month later, I found myself at the foot of Thrihnukagigur with Árni as a guide.

Árni explained why Thrihnukagigur is so extraordinary. Usually, when a volcano erupts, it is filled with lava which later hardens, sealing up the entrance. At Thrihnukagigur, the lava drained back into the earth, creating a chamber of more than 100,000 cubic metres inside the crater. It’s the deepest volcanic chamber on Earth.

Árni also told me about his first visit to Thrihnukagigur back in 1973. He dropped a stone down the crater and waited 4.5 seconds for a sound to come back. Despite his fear of heights, he pulled himself down the pit. He hoped to discover a beautiful interior, but saw an empty space with no stalactites or stalagmites. His head torch wasn’t powerful enough to illuminate the cave’s colours and the place seemed ugly to him.

Despite his negative impression, Árni couldn’t stop thinking about the volcano and, in 1991, he decided to explore it again. This time he returned with his two brothers, both experienced mountaineers. It was them who said that the place should be made open to tourists. Yet, its delicate environment needed protection, and Árni decided to become the cave’s guardian. I was just one of many tourists that he has shown around the place.

When we reached the crater, we got into a cable lift and slowly started moving down into total darkness. I tried to light the space around me with a flashlight, but all I could see was a needle of light coming from the crater above. Finally, when we hit the mountain’s rock floor, floodlights were switched on and they illuminated the chamber’s colourful walls. It was like going inside a piece of art. I was mesmerized.

When I told Árni how much I loved the cable-lift tour, he told me that this way of exploring the cave wasn’t going to last long. He wanted to drill a tunnel in the side of the mountain and build a platform on one of the walls inside. That would ensure a touch-free visit to Thrihnukagigur. “We don’t want tourists to damage the inside of the mountain,” Árni explained.

As I left the cave, I felt a bit sad. It seemed it had been my last chance to walk on Thrihnukagigur’s ice-cold floor. Exploring the cave from a platform wouldn’t be the same. However, I resolved to return to the cave when Árni’s scheme was complete. Thrihnukagigur was certainly worth another visit.
1. Mike found his work in a corporation uninteresting.
2. Mike asked Árni Stefánsson to show him round Thrihnukagigur.
3. On his first visit, Árni thought the chamber was unattractive.
4. Árni’s brothers said tourists should be able to explore the volcano.
5. Mike saw the walls of the volcano only after reaching its bottom.
6. Árni is planning to protect the volcano from tourists’ destructive influence.
7. Mike decided not to visit Thrihnukagigur again.
Read the texts and choose the best answer A, B or C
Angel Makers
Nagyrev is a small village south-east of Budapest. With a line of modest single-storey houses it looks like any other village in Hungary, but Nagyrev hides a dark secret. Nearly a century ago, during World War I, the place was the scene of horrible crimes. According to some estimates, as many as 300 men died there. They weren’t killed in the war though, but by their own wives. What were the motives behind the murders? It is said that when the men returned from the front, they couldn’t work effectively because of the wounds they had received in battles against the Russians. Disabled husbands were too much of a burden. Some reports also say that the women had taken lovers from among the Russian prisoners of war who worked on the farms in the absence of the men. However, most historians believe that when the husbands returned, the women disliked their sudden loss of freedom and, one by one, decided to act.

This is when Mrs. Fazekas, a local midwife, began secretly persuading the women to poison their husbands using arsenic made by boiling flypaper. For a small fee, it was possible for women to get rid of their husbands without any questions asked. On some occasions, the midwife would murder men for free. There was just one restriction: this remarkable murder service was for married women only. No unmarried woman could have an unfaithful lover punished by death.

The poisoning soon became a fashion. There was such a great demand for the service that Mrs. Fazekas didn’t have time to camouflage her activity. She just put the bottles of arsenic-contaminated medicine in the victims’ coffins, never thinking that the bodies would be exhumed. So why did it take over 18 years to discover the killings? Well, in Nagyrev, like in many parts of Hungary after the war, there was extreme poverty. There were neither doctors nor police officers in the region, so death certificates were not checked properly. In fact, all of them were signed by a local coroner who happened to be Mrs. Fazekas’s son-in-law. This made the murder service flourish.

Only once was Mrs. Fazekas’s business under threat. It was when another midwife moved to the village. Convinced that the woman wanted to steal her livelihood, Mrs. Fazekas poisoned her. The neighbours and the victim’s grown-up son were certain that Mrs. Fazekas was behind the killing. However, the son failed to prove the midwife’s role in the death of his mother. The villagers were too scared to testify as Mrs. Fazekas threatened to burn down the house of anyone who gave evidence against her. Driven by desperation, the man tried to shoot her but he missed. He was imprisoned for the attempted murder. This allowed Mrs. Fazekas to continue her business.

There are several conflicting accounts of how the crimes were finally detected. Some people claim that two men managed to survive poisoning attempts and they informed the police. In another account, a medical student in a neighbouring town found high arsenic levels in a body that washed up on the riverbank, leading to an investigation. However, according to Bela Bodo, a Hungarian-American historian, the murders were made public in 1929 when an anonymous letter to a local newspaper accused women from Nagyrev of poisoning family members.

At first, the police thought it was just a practical joke. Nevertheless, a formal investigation started. The women involved in the crimes didn’t panic however, even when exhumations started. Certain that the poison couldn’t be traced after such a long time, they calmly continued their everyday duties. However, the widows lost their confidence after a conversation with a local chemist. He told one of them that arsenic could be easily traced in the hair and finger nails long after the body had been buried. When the news spread, some of the women tried to escape from the village. Some attempted to bribe police officers, but it was too late - the detectives had already discovered the shocking truth. As a result of these horrible findings, over 80 widows were arrested. Most of them received a long prison sentence or went to jail for life. Only five were hanged. As for Mrs. Fazekas, she escaped the punishment by taking some of her own “medicine”. By the time the police reached her house to arrest her, she was already dead.
8. The women committed the crimes to ...
9. The killing service was …
10. The crimes went unnoticed for a long time because …
11. A victim’s son tried to …
12. Bela Bodo believes that the crimes were discovered thanks to …
13. When the exhumations started, the women …
14. What happened to Mrs. Fazekas?
In this task six phrases have been removed from the text and placed at the bottom. An extra phrase has been included. You must decide which phrase goes into which gap and write the letter in the box below the sentences.
An interesting article has recently been published online. It describes the case of a U.S. soldier who looked for treatment at the National Military Medical Centre. The soldier claimed that … (1) … uncontrolled anger and insomnia.

The serviceman, who used to be an active sailor and run marathons, was deployed to East Africa in 2009. After his return to the U.S., he reported having frequent arguments with his family. He also told doctors that … (2) … fellow soldiers as he couldn’t perform his duties. The serviceman had a number of tests and doctors diagnosed him with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). However, after months of treatment, which included medication and therapies, little changed. The patient continued to have the symptoms and eventually had to leave the army as doctors decided that … (3) … .

It took some time before a group of researchers took a closer look at his medical history. They discovered the serviceman had been given a drug called Lariam a few weeks before his African deployment. This medication has been widely used by the U.S. armed forces since the 1980s to prevent and treat malaria. The researchers have discovered that … (4) … which are similar to PTSD.

Their findings, however, aren’t revolutionary, as case reports on the side effects of that drug have been published before. But doctors say that this serviceman’s example is unusual because it shows that … (5) … a person stops taking the drug. The fact that these symptoms are so similar makes it difficult for doctors to recognize whether a patient suffers from PTSD or the side effects of Lariam.

It is unknown how many veterans have been wrongly diagnosed. However, Lariam’s worrying side effects haven’t gone unnoticed. Since 2013, the Defense Department has used it as a drug of last resort. It is prescribed only to personnel that … (6) … . Moreover, the Food and Drug Administration put a warning on the drug’s label, saying it can cause permanent psychiatric and neurological side effects.
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