IN HIS 21 years as president of Angola, Jose Eduardo dos Santos has never taken kindly to criticism. Most Angolan politicians have learned from bitter experience not to cross him. But recently a tiny political party, PADPA, took the president on, and - to general astonishment - won.
PADPA decided to speak up over a political scandal in France in which an array of well-connected Frenchmen, including Jean Christophe Mitterrand, the eldest son of France's former president, Francois Mitterrand, are under investigation on suspicion of profiting from the illegal sale of arms worth $633m to the Angolan government. As the case has proceeded, Mr. dos Santos's name has cropped up repeatedly. Prosecutors have alleged that he approved the deal, granted Angolan diplomatic passports to the two principal arms dealers (one now in a French prison, the other on the run from an Interpol arrest warrant) and received some extravagant presents from the weapons men in return.
Last week PADPA sent a letter to the president, demanding that he should give a public explanation of his role in this and other corruption scandals. If none were forthcoming within 72 hours, PADPA promised it would "call on the people to protest publicly and call for your resignation, for dishonoring the office which you occupy".
The president's response was a deafening silence. So three days later 25 members of PADPA began a hunger strike in front of the recently and lavishly redecorated presidential palace. They distributed a pamphlet that repeated the charge, widely believed by Angolans, that the government is deliberately prolonging the country's devastating civil war in order to pillage its rich natural resources. "Thousands of Angolans are dying of hunger because the country is mismanaged," declared the pamphlet, "and the holders of power have turned into a band of thugs who pretend to be managing a bank. Our bank. Our petrol. Our diamonds. Our riches. But, above all, our children, parents, brothers and cousins, whom they use as fodder for their diabolical cannons."
Angola's cowed people rarely voice such strong sentiments. This time riot police used the cover of darkness to break up the protest beating the protesters. Six of them, including PADPA'S president, were arrested. But astonishingly, given the lack of independence enjoyed by Angola's judiciary, the court that tried them found them not guilty on January 30th. In a hitherto unthinkable step, PADPA is now considering bringing a case against the police for violating its right to demonstrate and for illegal imprisonment.
This is the second time that PADPA activists have dared challenge the Angolan regime. Last year they tried to hold a public hunger strike in protest at the government's decision to raise the price of petrol overnight by 1,600%. On that occasion police beatings turned the hunger strikers into popular heroes. The authorities, realizing their mistake, issued a public apology. But the incident gave Angola's other, more reticent, opposition groups the courage to organize the first and only real anti-government march in the country's 25 years of independence. Perhaps the latest court ruling, which for the first time has set the people's rights above those of the president, will open the floodgates of protest at last.
31. By "and-to general astonishment-won"(last line, para 1),the author means
A It defeated the other parties.
B It produced astonishment.
C It opposed the president for scandal trade.
D The president kept silence about PADPA'S criticisms for the first time.
32. How does PADPA feel about the political scandal?
33. In this passage, the word "fodder" is the same with
34. PADPA gathered some members in order to
A reveal the president's scandal.
B grab the governing rights.
C ask for more rights for people.
D begin a hunger strike.
35. With which of the following is the author likely to agree?
A PADPA's protest is rather meaningless and in vain.
B Angola's judiciary didn't support PADPA's action.
C PADPA has turned over a new leaf in Angola's history.
D the policemen will open the floodgates.
TEXT 4 Why such an old article?
WITH three months to go before its general election, Italy is turning into Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Not in terms of freedom or variety, just visually. For Italian cities these days are peppered with enormous posters of the rival leaders, Silvio Berlusconi (for the right) and Francesco Rutelli (for the left). All each one shows is the great man's benevolent face, plus a short slogan. In Bologna's Viale Togliatti, you can count six Berlusconis and three Rutellis.
Prehistoric, as poster politics goes? Mussolinian, say oldies who recall the slogans spread hugely over walls and roofs in Duce's days. Whatever it is, Italians are enjoying it. The campaign promises to be both boring (Mr. Berlusconi is way ahead) and bitter (the left hates losing). So have a bit of fun: rewrite the posters on the Internet, and spread the result around.
Mr. Berlusconi began plastering Italy with his face months ago. Benign and with hair added, he now beams across squares and bridges, along roads and railway lines. The slogans are basic: Meno tasse per tutti (Lower taxes for everybody), or Citta piu sicu,re (Safer cities). Not so the costs: one poster in prime positions across Italy's main cities costs a billion lire ($480,000). Mr. Berlusconi can afford it. According to Mr. Rutelli, the right plans to spend 200 billion lire (30 billion is its own figure) in the campaign; the left, he moans, cannot raise even 20 billion.
Soon, though, voters started to edit the posters on the Internet. They began dressing up Mr. Berlusconi as Superman, a gladiator, the pope. Meno tasse per tutti became Meno tasse per Totti (Francesco Totti is AC Roma's best-loved football player). A long-haired, hippie-looking candidate pledged to "help the bald", while Citta piu sicu, re came with a picture of Mr. Berlusconi, who faces tax and other problems in court, behind bars. The man credited with starting the craze, a 38-year-old interpreter called Max Bemardini, who says he is a communist, has become a celebrity. His website had ?in-plus visits in 100 days.
At this point, Mr. Berlusconi decided to beat the mockers by joining them. On his Forza Italia movement's website, he launched a competition for the funniest poster, and promised to deliver the award in person. He may even have to award it to himself for his latest poster, whose slogan is, "A working-class president to change Italy": Mr. Berlusconi is one of the country's richest men. On the left, Mr. Rutelli decided to plunge into his (half-empty) campaign coffers to have mega posters of his own.
Should red-blooded voters find it all too civilized, others have stepped in. A website has launched "Virtual Bashing", where visitors can beat up Messrs Rutelli and Berlusconi, whichever they choose, for a minute. Mr. Berlusconi is ahead there too: 57% of all punches have been landing on him.
36. Italy is turning into Saddam Hussein's Iraq
A just for its election.
B for its country's freedom.
C for Iraq's benefits.
D for some uncertain reason.
37. We can learn from the text that
A The winner of the election is obvious.
B Mr. Rutelli will manage to get enough capital for election in the rival.?
C Silvio Berlusconi is kind and charming.
D The left is bitter because it can't afford any cost in the campaign.
38. The posters and slogans remind some people of
A good memories.
B some significance.
C evil leaders in current government.
D World War II.
39. Max Bemardini has become famous
A as a communist.
B for his strange and crazy action in the election.
C for having a popular website.
D as a strong candidate in the election.
40. The last sentence in the passage means
A Messrs Rutelli won the election.
B Berlusconi was beaten by Italian.
C Berlusconi seemed to be hated and beloved by voters.
D Berlusconi gave heavy punches on Messrs Rutelli.