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AMERICAN MOSAIC - September 7, 2001 - 2001-09-06


Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC — VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.


This is Doug Johnson. On our program today ...

We play songs from Alicia Keys ...

answer a question about how the American President is protected ...

... and, tell about a legal kind of gambling called the lottery.



Last month, Americans in twenty-one states and the District of Columbia were excited about a lottery game called Powerball. It was worth almost three-hundred-million dollars. People in four states were winners and shared the money. Powerball is only one of many lotteries in the world. Shep O’Neal has more.


The North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries says people have been taking part in such games of chance for thousands of years. For example, it says these games were played in ancient China as a way to pay for building the Great Wall.

Experts say the word “lottery” comes from the Italian word “lotto”, meaning a force or power that decides what will happen in the future. Lotteries were held in Italy almost five-hundred years ago. In Fifteen-Fifteen, Italians picked names to choose who would be elected to the Senate in Genoa. In Fifteen-Thirty, the city of Florence held a number lottery with money as prizes.

In the Seventeen-Hundreds, many lotteries were held in the American colonies. Some were used to pay for weapons for the Revolutionary War. Later, lotteries were used to get money for building projects. In the Eighteen-Twenties, people created illegal lotteries. State governments considered banning them. By Eighteen-Seventy-Eight, all states but Louisiana had done so.

In Nineteen-Sixty-Four, New Hampshire created the first legal American state lottery in the twentieth century. It was linked to horse races so it would not violate the anti-lottery laws. Other states started lotteries about five years later. Lotteries that were held in several states at the same time began in Nineteen-Ninety-Six.

The money earned from selling state lottery tickets is used to improve state government services. For example, Arizona state lottery earnings help pay for education, health, protection and local transportation. In a lottery like Powerball, fifty cents of every ticket sold goes to the state lotteries that take part in the game.

Thirty-seven states and the District of Colombia operate lotteries in the United States. There are more than one-hundred lotteries around the world. Some countries have national lotteries. The International Association of State Lotteries lists sixty-three members, one on every continent except Antarctica.

The Secret Service


Our VOA listener question this week comes from Vietnam. Hoang Phi Hung asks about protection for the American President and former Presidents.

The agency that protects these important people is the Secret Service. Congress created it in Eighteen-Sixty-Five, but its job was not protection. The Secret Service was created as part of the Department of the Treasury to stop the copying of American money. The Secret Service still does this job today.

However, its main job is to protect the President, his family and other government officials. The Secret Service began protecting the President in Nineteen-Oh-One, after the murder of President William McKinley.

The responsibilities of the Secret Service have expanded greatly since that time. Secret Service agents examine the President’s food, surroundings and travel plans. When the President travels, Secret Service agents arrive before he does. They make sure all areas he will visit are safe.

The Secret Service also protects the Vice President and his family. Agents also protect presidential and vice presidential candidates, those elected to those offices and their families. Former Presidents and their wives are also protected by the Secret Service, as are their children under the age of sixteen. All Presidents elected before Nineteen-Ninety-Seven are protected for the rest of their lives. Presidents elected after that year are protected for not more than ten years from the date they leave office.

About five-thousand people work for the Secret Service in offices throughout the country and the world. More than two-thousand special agents protect officials and investigate crimes. More than-one-thousand others provide security at the White House, the Vice President’s house and other buildings in which the President has offices.

The Secret Service sometimes carries out temporary protective duties. For example, it has provided security for historic documents such as the Declaration of Independence. And it protects foreign leaders who visit the United States.

Alicia Keys


A young singer’s first album became the number one recording in the United States the day it was released. It has stayed at the top of the most popular music lists for eight weeks. And it has sold more than two-million copies. That is very unusual. But then, everything about Alicia Keys is unusual. Shirley Griffith has more.


The first thing to know about Alicia Keys is that she is only twenty years old. She sings and plays the piano and most of the other instruments on her new album. It is called “Songs in A Minor.” She wrote the words and music for most of the songs. And she was the producer and music arranger for most of the songs.

Alicia Keys’ recordings sound a little like traditional rhythm and blues. They also have a strong jazz influence. Mizz Keys uses a piano in most of the songs. That is a little unusual for this kind of music. Her many talents can be heard on the most popular song on her album. It is called “Fallin.’”


Alicia Keys was trained as a classical musician. You can hear this in the first song on her album. It is called “Piano and I.” She borrowed some of the music from Ludwig van Beethoven.


Alicia Keys is not really new to the music business. She has been a serious music student since she was five years old. Critics say she should have a long successful career ahead of her. We leave you with another recording from “Songs in A Minor” by Alicia Keys. This one is called “Rock Wit U.”



This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. And I hope you will join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC — VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.

This AMERICAN MOSAIC program was written by Nancy Steinbach and Paul Thompson. Our studio engineer was Tom Verba. And our producer was Paul Thompson.