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The EU plans to increase their military defenses - photo by Martin Schutt / AFP
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Leaders of the European Union have released details of a proposed plan that would increase funding for EU military defenses and technological research. 

The EU has seen a 12% decrease in military defense spending over the last decade.

The plan also comes as a reaction to USA President-Elect Donald Trump's vow to reduce USA's commitments to NATO if some member states are not paying their fair share.

Brexit is also a factor in the EU's plan, as the UK has consistently rejected France's and Germany's call for improved security.

The EU plans to increase research spending from €25m set for 2017 to €90m by 2020. It would also use €5 billion per year of member states' money to buy drones and helicopters.

 
"To guarantee our collective security, we must invest in the common development of technologies and equipment of strategic importance - from land, air, sea and space capabilities to cyber security," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said. "If Europe does not take care of its own security, nobody else will do it for us."

The European Council will discuss the plan later this month.



Vocabulary
proposed - suggested
funding - supplying with money
fair share - equal contribution
strategic - here, critical 
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Last year, over one million migrants, mostly from Syria, have entered Europe via Turkey - photo GETTY
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Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told the European Union that he will allow hundreds of thousands of migrants into Europe as a reaction to their halting of talks concerning Turkey's membership into the EU.

As a part of a March 2016 agreement, migrants arriving to Greece are sent to Turkey if they have not already applied for refugee status in the EU or if their applications have been rejected. For each Syrian returned to Turkey, the EU agrees to accept one Syrian with a valid refugee request. In return, the EU promised Turkey aid, visa-free travel for Turkish nationals, and to speed up Turkey's EU membership discussions. However, Members of European Parliament (MEPs) recently voted to freeze Turkey's EU-membership talks because of Turkey's failed military coup in July. The EU has also delayed visa-free travel for Turkish nationals because Turkey has not changed its anti-terror laws. 

"Listen to me: these border gates will be opened if you go any further," Erdogan warned the EU on Friday.

At the moment, Turkey has accepted over three million migrants who are mostly from Syria. Last year, over one million people sought refuge in Europe by way of Turkey. 

In light of these recent events, the relationship between the EU and Turkey is weakening and the deal to control migration into Europe appears to be degrading. 


Vocabulary
to threaten - to say that something bad will happen if something is not done
surge - a sudden increase
halting - stopping (gerund - noun)

migrant - someone moving from one (country) place to another
refugee - someone who asks to enter another country because their home country is treating them badly

refugee request - an application for refugee status
aid - (financial - money) help

sought - past tense of "seek" - to look for __
to freeze - to stop

in light of - concerning; due to; because of 
to degrade - to slowly fall apart; to slowly disassemble
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A masked, armed man has entered a retirement home for priests and monks and has kille dtwo people and taken 70 hostage - photo Sky News
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A masked man armed with a shotgun and a knife has stormed into a retirement home for monk's in Montpellier-sur-Lez in southern France on Thursday, killing two people and taking 70 monks hostage.

The man, who entered the building at 9:45 pm local time, is reported to still be in the building which is surrounded by police. 

Reports say that one woman and one man are dead, and that the woman, who was a supervisor at the home, had managed to phone police before she was killed by the attacker's knife.

More than 60 monks who worked in missions in Africa live at this retirement residence for monks and priests. 

The motive for the attack is still unknown. 

Vocabulary
to storm - to suddenly enter
masked - covering the face
armed - carrying a weapon (gun)

retirement - the time in life when a person stops working because they are old
to take hostage - to force someone to stay with you and not let them leave
mission - a religious trip to another place meant to help people and teach them about that religion

motive - reason for doing something

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A suicide bomb has killed 27 people in a Shia mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan - photo EPA
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At least 27 people have been killed and many more have been wounded by a suicide bomb detonated in a Shia mosque in the Afghanistan capital of Kabul on Monday. The explosion occurred at around 12:30 pm local time.

The attack has been claimed by Islamic State (IS) who are Sunni Muslim. Shia Muslims in Afghanistan have been targeted and attacked at least three times by IS in recent past.

It is estimated that 20% of the Afghan population are Shia Muslim with the rest being Sunni. 


President Ashraf Ghani said the attack was an attempt "to sow seeds of discord" and Afghan government Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah urged the country not to fall victim to "enemy plots that divide us by titles".


The Taliban, a Sunni Islamist fundamentalist group fighting in Afghanistan, has also condemned the attack.


Vocabulary
to detonate - to activate; to set off
to claim - to declare responsibility 

an attempt - a try
sow - to grow
discord - great disagreement and uneasiness among groups

a plot - a plan
to condemn - to publicly express disapproval 

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USA president Obama met with EU leaders in Berlin, Germany - photo AP
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Outgoing USA president Barack Obama met with EU leaders to affirm their commitments to NATO and to continue sanctions against Russia. This was the first USA-EU summit since Donald Trump won the USA presidential election.

Convening in Berlin, Germany, Obama met with Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel, Britain's prime minister Theresa May, France's president Francois Hollande, Italy's prime minister Matteo Renzi and Spain's prime minister Mariano Rajoy.

The leaders concluded that sanctions against Russia must continue until Russia resolves its conflict with Ukraine. Obama and the EU claim that Russia has sent military and weapons to eastern Ukraine to aid separatists there.

The leaders also said that Syria and Russia must halt their attacks on Aleppo. "We agreed the need to keep up the pressure on Russia, including the possibility of sanctions on those who breach international humanitarian law," Britain's prime minister Teresa May said.

In regard to NATO, an official statement released by the White House after the summit said the leaders "affirmed the importance of continued co-operation through multilateral institutions, including Nato" and that they "agreed on the necessity of working collectively to move the transatlantic agenda forward, particularly on bringing stabilization to the Middle East and North Africa".

Despite the summit topics, Donald Trump has vowed to improve USA's relationship with Russia, and has criticized NATO as being outdated and unfair.


Vocabulary
summit - an organized, regular meeting of international leaders
outgoing - leaving soon
affirm - to say something again as being factual
sanctions - penalty / punishment against a country by other countries
convene - to meet (officially)
separatists - people who fight to leave a country and start their own country or join another
halt - to immediately stop
outdated - old and not useful anymore


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German police arrest five IS suspects (left) - photo GETTY IMAGES. One of those arrested was Abu Walaa (right), "the preacher without a face" - photo from Youtube.
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Five people suspected of being connected to Islamic State (IS) have been arrested in Germany, one of whom is believed to be a jihadist leader. 

Raids were conducted on apartments in northern and western Germany and on a mosque in Hildesheim near Hanover. 

Among those arrested was a 32-year old Iraqi man, identified by Germany's NDR TV as Ahmad Abdelazziz. Abdelazziz goes by the alias, Abu Walaa, or "the preacher without a face", because of his internet videos showing him wearing black and preaching with his back to the camera. Officials say Walaa was in charge of calling for and organizing jihad in Germany. 

The information which led to the raids was given to German police by a 22-year old jihadist who fought with IS for several months in Syria, but then escaped to Turkey. In an interview with police, this man, named Anil O, referred to Walaa as "IS's number one in Germany". 


All those arrested are suspected of recruiting people for IS and aiding terrorism.



Vocabulary
jihad - a religious war
raid - the act of going to a place and suddenly confronting someone to arrest them or take something from them

alias - an alternate name / identity
in charge of - the boss of something
to recruit - to try to get someone to work (fight) for / with you


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