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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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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
 
 
The gunmen who went on a rampage and killed 9 people and wounded 21 in Munich, Germany today has committed suicide police say. 

During their search for the attacker, police found a man on a side road of 
Olympia-Einkaufszentrum shopping mall who had shot himself. 

By viewing surveillance video, police concluded that this man was the sole gunmen. 

While police have not yet confirmed the motive of the shooter, a Muslim woman who witnessed the attacker shooting children said she heard the gunmen yelling, "Allahu Akbar!"



Vocabulary
wounded - injured with blood spilled
rampage - a period of uncontrollable violent behaviour
to confirm - to prove what some people already think is true
motive - the reason for doing something
to witness - to see what happened
surveillance video - cameras that watch and record people (usually in a public place)

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The lone gunmen in the Munich, shooting rampage opened fired outside of a McDonald's near Olympia-Einkaufszentrum shopping mall - photo by Fox News video
 
 
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Venezuelans cross into Colombia in the rain to buy food and medicine - photo by AFP
For the second time this month, Venezuela has opened its border with Colombia to allow Venezuelans to cross over into the country to buy food, medicine, and other household items.

Venezuela has experienced  a shortage of food and other necessities since the country fell into an economic crisis caused by the dropping price of oil in recent months. Oil is the country's main source of income and because of the drop in price, Venezuelan businesses have been unable to stock their store shelves with food.  

The first time this month Venezuela opened the border to Colombia, 35,000 people crossed over. This time, 100,000 people crossed over into Colombia to buy food and medicine. 

The main political opposition party in Venezuela blames the shortages on the policies of the Venezuelan government which have hindered local businesses from importing materials from other countries. 

Many have criticized President Nicolas Maduro for ignoring the people's need for life's necessities.


Vocabulary
border (noun) - the line that divides two different countries, regions, or areas, etc.
shortage (noun) - a period fo time when there is little supply of something and people need more of it
necessities (noun) - things people need to live and not die
crisis (noun) - an emergency situation
income (noun) - money earned
drop (noun) - decrease
to stock (verb) - to add to and keep an amount that can be used for the future
to hinder (verb) - to stop or slow something down
policies (noun) - the rules, actions, and/or practices of an organization
import (verb) - to bring in to one country from another country

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Venezuelans cross the Colombian border to buy food and medicine alongside military troops - photo by AFP