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DOUG JOHNSON: Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English.

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I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week, we have some of themovie music nominated for an Academy Award this Sunday ...

Also, a report about a Web site where some American collegestudents get to know each other ...

And, a listener asks about VOA's history.

Thefacebook.com

HOST:

A few months ago we talked about social networks on the Internet.Web sites like Friendster help connect people with common interests.Now, Barbara Klein tells us about Thefacebook.

BARBARA KLEIN: Five students from Harvard University launchedThefacebook in February of last year. One of them, Chris Hughes,says the site has one and one-half million members from threehundred thirty-five schools. He says there are no plans at thispoint to go outside of the United States and Canada.

Thefacebook is a free service. It describes itself as an onlinedirectory that connects people through social networks at collegesand universities. It is supported by advertising. Paid announcementslet students and local businesses provide links to people at theschools.

When new users go to Thefacebook-dot-com, they create a profile.They provide information about such things as their favorite movies,books and sayings. Most also provide a picture. Professors andteachers can use Thefacebook, too.

p>Members need an e-mail address at a school connected with theservice. Many use Thefacebook to get in touch with old friends.Others try to make new friends. Students use it for entertainment,for dating, even for studying.

The site makes it easy for students to see if anyone else intheir classes has a profile listed. Who knows, they may even findthat someone in their Geography class lives in their same building.

Every member has a personal bulletin board where friends canplace comments.

The custom at the Thefacebook is to have information open toother members. But co-founder Chris Hughes says students havecontrol over the information they provide. And members can restrictwho is permitted to see their information. In his words:"Thefacebook is a resource for both information and communication,but at the same time, is fun to use."

One first-year student in Washington, D.C., tells us that she hasspent hours at the Thefacebook-dot-com. She checks her friends'profiles, then their friends' profiles. Then she wonders: What ifother people are doing the same thing to her?

History of VOA

DOUG JOHNSON: Our listener question this week is from Nigeria.Prince Onyebuchi in Aba Abia State notes that February twenty-fourthwas the sixty-third anniversary of VOA. He asks about the history.

The United States government established the Voice of Americaduring World War Two. The first radio broadcast was in a language nolonger heard on VOA. It was a fifteen-minute program in German. Itaired on February twenty-fourth, nineteen forty-two. It told theGerman people that every day, VOA would broadcast news of Americaand the war. The announcer said The news may be good or bad, but wewill tell you the truth.

Today, VOA broadcasts more than one thousand hours of radioprograms each week in forty-four languages. VOA also has televisionprograms in English and a number of other languages. These includeAlbanian, Cantonese, French, Indonesian, Mandarin and Persian. AndVOA uses more than fourteen thousand computer servers around theworld to put information on the Internet.

VOA has three main duties under a Charter signed into law innineteen seventy-six. One is to report the news fairly. Another isto tell about America and its people. The third duty is to presentthe policies of the government as well as opinions about thosepolicies.

When VOA began, all broadcasts were on shortwave. Today manylocal radio stations around the world carry VOA programs. It isestimated that VOA reaches more than one hundred million people eachweek through radio, television and the Internet.

More than ten million individuals visited the VOA Web site lastyear. We are happy to report that Special English is the third mostpopular page after the VOA home page and standard English.

Visitors can get to us from the English learning link atvoanews-dot-com. Some VOA language services also link to our site.Or visitors can go directly to voaspecialenglish-dot-com.

Oscar-Nominated Songs

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present theOscars in Hollywood Sunday night. Gwen Outen tells us about the fivenominees for the best song written for a movie from the past year.

GWEN OUTEN: One of the songs is from the animated movie "ShrekTwo." Here is the band Counting Crows with "Accidentally In Love."

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A song from the movie "The Motorcycle Diaries," "Al Otro Lado DelRio," is also nominated for an Oscar this year. So is this nextsong, from "The Polar Express." Josh Groban sings "Believe."

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Also nominated for the Oscar this Sunday is "Look to Your Path,"from the movie "The Chorus." And we leave you with the finalnomination for the Academy Award for an original song. From "ThePhantom of the Opera," here is Minnie Driver with "Learn to BeLonely."

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DOUG JOHNSON: I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our programthis week.

This show was written by Nancy Steinbach and Ed Stautberg. CatyWeaver was our producer. The engineer was Efeem Drucker.

Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazinein Special English.


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