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Migrant workers look for a final payment settlement after being laid off by the Binladin Group in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - photo by Faisal Al Nasser/Reuters
Thousands of Indian migrant workers in Saudi Arabia have lost their jobs and are now receiving food aid from the Indian government India's foreign minister Sushma Swaraj says.

Most of the migrants were employed by Saudi construction companies who have been experiencing financial difficulties due to low global prices.

News reports in India say many of the workers have not been paid any wages for many months.

A junior government minister from India has been sent to Saudi Arabia to help bring back to India those workers who cannot afford airfare.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Indians seek employment outside of India in search of a better quality of life and better wages as laborers, electricians, drivers, etc.


Vocabulary

migrant workers - people who travel from one country to work in another country
food aid - free food and other financial help because someone is in need
employed - to be given a job by someone
construction company - a company that builds buildings, houses, etc.

financial difficulties - problems with money
airfare - the fee / price for a plane ticket
better quality of life - a healthier lifestyle that a country (government system) allows its citizens / people to have

wages - payment that someone receives (per hour of work)
laborers - people who do simple physical work as their job
electricians - people who work with wiring electricity in buildings, houses, etc.

 
 
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A hot air balloon caught fire and crashed killing 16 near Austin, Texas, USA - photo by BBC video
A hot air balloon flying over fields 30 miles south of Austin, Texas, USA has caught on fire and crashed into the ground killing all 16 people aboard. 

The accident happened around 07:40 local-time this morning.

Police say the balloon's basket which carried the passengers was on fire when emergency crew arrived at the scene.

The balloon is believed to have been operated by Heart of Texas Balloon Rides, a company in Austin, Texas that offers balloon rides within the area.


A cause for the accident has not yet been disclosed, yet witnesses say the balloon came down near power lines.


Vocabulary
aboard - those people on an aircraft (airplane) or train, bus, etc.
passengers - those riding on a vehicle 
emergency crew - paramedics, medics, ambulance, etc. - those people who give aid to those in accidents
the scene - the place where something happened

disclosed - known and told (to the public)
witness - someone who saw / heard an incident / event
power lines - public cables used to carry electricity
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The basket of the balloon caught fire - photo by BBC video
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Power lines near where a balloon in Austin, Texas crashed killing 16 people - photo by AP
 
 
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Over one million Cambodian people depend on Tonle Sap Lake for survival - photo by AlJazeera video
Natural and man-made activities are endangering the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, Cambodia's Tonle Sap Lake. 

Low-water levels and depleting fish stocks have forced the Global Nature Fund to deem it the world's 'threatened' lake for 2016. The area is also experiencing ongoing forest fires due to extreme heat and drought.

Tonle Sap is often described as the 'beating heart' of Cambodia as the lake supports the livelihood of over a million Cambodian people and supply's 75% of the country's protein. 

In an already impoverished country, some Cambodian families who have fished the lake for many years, are seeking jobs in other sectors because of shortages.

Some experts say countries like Laos operate dams which are partly responsible for the decreased water and fish levels.



Vocabulary
to endanger - to put something in danger or at risk of being hurt or damaged
freshwater - not salt water
depleting - dying out; disappearing
stock - populations; supplies
to deem - to regard / see something in a certain way

threatened - in danger
ongoing - continually happening

due to - because of
drought - long periods of no rain / water
the beating heart of __ - the most important part of something's survival (as how the heart is most important to pump the blood throughout the body)

livelihood - the work / job / career that someone does to survive in life
protein - the nutrient used to make muscle in the body
impoverished - poor; not rich
sectors - areas of work / research
shortages - a period of time where there is very little of something available

experts - people who are extremely knowledgeable in a specific field of study
dam - a device that stops and accumulates water in a river
 
 
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Guards at Indonesia's Nusakambangan prison island - photo from BBC video
Indonesia has executed four drug convicts and has ten more on death row awaiting execution. One Indonesian and three Nigerians were killed by firing squad at possibly 06:00 local time today.

The international organization Amnesty International has called the executions "deplorable acts" and say they go against international and local law.

Last year, Indonesia executed 14 drug convicts. Most of them were foreigners. Following the execution of two Australians in April 2015, the Australian ambassador to Indonesian left the country for five weeks in protest. 

Before he was elected in 2014, President Joko Widodo vowed to become very strict against drug convicts. This is the third round of executions since he took power.

There are now ten prisoners who wait on death row to be executed on Indonesia's Nusakambangan prison island: three Indonesians, a Pakistani, an Indian, two other Nigerians, and two Zimbabweans. 


Vocabulary
drug convict - someone who has been found guilty of having / selling illegal drugs
to execute - to kill a prisoner, as a government or other organization
death row - an area in prison where prisoners wait to be executed
firing squad - a form of execution where prisoners are shot by many soldiers with guns
deplorable - extremely terrible
ambassador - a political representative of one country that lives in another country
in protest - to declare / show severe disagreement 

to vow - to publicly promise
round - one session
 
 
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Armenian riot police guard a police station taken over by gunmen - photo Vahan Stepanyan/AP
Armed gunmen in a standoff with police for the last ten days have taken four ambulance staff hostage in a police station in Yerevan, Armenia. The ambulance staff were sent in to treat the gunmen's wounds from a fight with police that happened the week before. 

On July 17, attackers raided a police post, had a shootout with police, and then barricaded themselves inside. One police officer was killed and many more were taken hostage. The attackers released the final police hostages over the weekend. 


On Wednesday, two doctors and two nurses were sent to the attackers to treat their injuries from the fight with police. The gunmen have now taken this medical staff hostage.

The attackers are acting in defiance to the arrest of political opposition leader Zhirair Sefilya and want him released. 

Sefilyan is the leader of the New Armenia Public Salvation Front. He and six of his supporters were arrested in June because the government accused them of planning to seize government buildings and other facilities in Yerevan.

Police are now negotiating with the assailants for the release of the hostages. 



Vocabulary

armed - with weapons (guns)
standoff - a situation where two opposing forces cannot reach an end or result to their conflict
ambulance - a large vehicle used to transport (drive) sick / injured people to a hospital
staff - the workers at a place of employment
to take hostage  - to take (kidnap) as a prisoner
to treat - to help medically
to raid - to attack
shootout - a gun fight
to barricade - to block / defend so no one can come inside
defiance - open disobedience

to release / released - to free / freed
political opposition - a political group that is against the ruling political group
to accuse - to say someone did something without showing proof (yet)
to seize - to take by force
hostages - people who have been kidnapped as security for the fulfillment of demands

assailants - attackers

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Armed gunmen in Yerevan, Armenia want the release of opposition leader Zhirair Sefilyan - photo Vahan Stepanyan / Reuters
 
 
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Pope Francis speaks to reporters on his flight to Poland - photo AP
In response to the recent church-attack and slaying of 85-year old priest Jacques Hamel in Normandy, France yesterday,  Pope Francis spoke to reporters on his papal flight to Poland and said that the recent flood of Islamic State-related attacks in Europe are proof that "the world is at war." The pope added, "but it is not a war of religions."

Francis said that all religions want peace, but it is the "others" who want war. He said these people want "a war of interests, for money and resources."

"The word we hear a lot is insecurity, but the real word is war," Francis said.


"We must not be afraid to say the truth, the world is at war because it has lost peace."

Pope Francis is in Krakow, Poland for World Youth Day. 


Vocabulary
slaying - a ruthless (no mercy) murder
papal - relating to the pope
flood - a sudden large amount of something that occurs / is experienced / becomes available
flight - a plane trip

 
 
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Jacques Hamel was conducting morning mass when two attackers stormed his church and slit his throat - photo AFP
Two armed men stormed into a church in southern France this morning and killed a priest and took four people hostage. Police eventually surrounded the church and shot both attackers dead. 

The two men, who said they were of the Islamic State (IS), burst into the church in Saint Etienne-du-Rouvray while a priest was conducting mass, 
made him kneel, and then slit his throat. 

The priest, Jacques Hamel, was 84-years old and has been described as 'an extraordinary person' by members of the community. 


Witnesses say the attackers recorded themselves and conducted a sermon in Arabic after they killed Hamel.


Some hours following the assault, the IS-related Amaq news agency reported that 'IS-soldiers' were responsible for the attack. 


This follows a recent string of Islamic State-related public onslaughts and massacres throughout France, Germany, and Europe that appear to be happening on a regular basis. 


Vocabulary
armed - having weapons
to storm - to suddenly enter
to take hostage  - to take (kidnap) as a prisoner

to burst into - to suddenly enter
to conduct - to do something (formally)
to kneel - to go down on one's knees
to slit - to make a long narrow cut
extraordinary - very special
a sermon - a religious talk done by a leader / presenter
a recent string - a current course of related events

onslaught - a terrible attack
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French special forces raid the church and shot the attackers dead - photo REUTERS
 
 
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A knife attack in Japan has kill d 15 and injured 45 people - photo by KYODO/Reuters
A man has attacked a facility for disabled people in Japan early Tuesday morning killing 15 people and injuring 45 others. The facility is located in Sagamihara in Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo.

The 26-year old attacker, who was a former-employee of the facility, has turned himself in to police and admitted to committing the attack.

This incident is the worst crime in Japan's postwar history. 


Vocabulary
facility - a place that provides a service to people
disabled (adjective) - having a mental or physical challenge / problem

to turn oneself in - to go to the police so they can arrest you after committing a crime
to admit - to confess doing something / being something
to commit __ - to do something (serious)
postwar - after the war (World War II)

 
 
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A man detonated a backpack bomb killing himself and injuring 12 in Ansbach, Germany - photo EPA
A failed asylum-seeker from Syria has set off a backpack bomb and blown himself up in Ansbach, Germany injuring 12 people. The 27-year old man detonated the bomb after he was rejected from entering a music festival. 2,500 people were evacuated from the event. 

Bavarian interior minister said the man had applied for asylum two years ago but was rejected a year ago. He was allowed to stay in Ansba
ch temporarily where an apartment was provided for him. 

It has been reported that the man attempted suicide twice in the past and he may have received psychiatric care. 


These events continue the week of horrifying attacks in Germany beginning with the July 18 axe-attack on a train in Würzburg by a refugee from Afghanistan that injured five people, the July 22 shooting rampage in Munich by an Iranian-German killing nine, and the July 24 arrest of a Syrian asylum-seeker in the town of Reutlingen, Baden-Wuerttemberg for reportedly killing a Polish woman and injuring 12 others.



Vocabulary
asylum - being able to stay in a safe place and not be sent back to the placer of origin (usually because it is dangerous)
to detonate - to set off / activate a bomb
to evacuate - to send people away very quickly because of an emergency

attempt suicide - to try to kill oneself
psychiatric care - attention by health professionals to investigate the presence of any mental illness
rampage - a period of uncontrollable violent behaviour

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Police secure the area where a man detonated a bomb in Ansbach, Germany - photo EPA
 
 
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Debbie Wasserman Schultz is stepping down as DNC chair after the DNC - photo by GETTY
Debbie Wasserman Schultz is resigning as the chairwoman of the USA's Democratic National Committee once the party's convention ends this week.

The Florida congresswoman is stepping down amid an email leak which reveals a conspiracy against the Bernie Sanders campaign for the 2016 Democratic nominee. Sanders lost the campaign to Hillary Clinton.

Sanders had called for Wasserman Schultz's resignation on Sunday and embraced it in a media interview today.


Vocabulary
sabotage - the deliberate act of destroying something so it does not work
to resign - quit

to step down - to quit a position
leak - the act of letting something (secret information) escape (become known)
conspiracy - a secret plan
campaign - a project to succeed at a particluar result
nominee (noun) - a party's or group's candidate selection during an election
to embrace - to warmly welcome