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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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2016 Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will give his acceptance speech tonight in Cleveland, Ohio - photo from video screenshot
Republican USA presidential nominee Donald Trump told The New York Times yesterday that if he is elected president, he may drop the guarantee for protection to co-NATO states. Trump said that the USA would help NATO-countries in need of military protection only if those countries hav"fulfilled their obligations to us".

Under Article 5 of the initial NATO agreement, member countries must help those other nations that require military aid. 

While not an official response to Trump's comments, White House spokesman Josh Earnest has said that the USA's dedication to the full NATO agreement is "ironclad" and that "the president renewed that commitment just two weeks ago today when he travelled to Warsaw, Poland, to attend the NATO summit."

While no other USA official has ever suggested reneging on the NATO-deal, Trump said that he would prefer to help the USA's allies but not if those allies are not taking advantage of the USA. "We are spending a fortune on military in order to lose $800 billion. That doesn't sound very smart to me." Trump said.

Trump is set to give his Republican nominee acceptance speech in Cleveland, Ohio tonight at the final day of the Republican National Convention.


Vocabulary
drop - to stop doing something or stop having something
co- - a prefix meaning that groups work together (co- = together, with)
nominee (noun) - a party's or group's candidate selection during an election
aid (noun) - help; assistance

initial - first
spokesman - someone who speaks for someone else (here, Josh Earnest speaks for Barak Obama)
ironclad - very strong and secure
to renege - to fail to keep a promise or commitment

ally - a partner / friend when opposing / fighting another group
a fortune - too much money
to take advantage of someone - to use someone only for your own benefit or gain

is set - is ready



 
 
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Journalist and outspoken critic of leaders in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine, Pavel Sheremet was killed in a car bomb - photo by Sergei Chuzavkov / AP
Journalist Pavel Sheremet was killed in Kiev, Ukraine today by a car bomb that exploded underneath his vehicle while he was driving to work to conduct his morning radio show.

Sheremet was a reporter for the internet news medium Ukraninian Pravda and had been an outspoken critic of the leaders of Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia. Aide to the interior minister said that his professional work was likely a motive for the murder. 

The founder of Ukraninian Pravda, Georgiy Gongadz, was kidnapped and murdered 16 years ago.

Sheremet has been described by The New York Times as "known for his crusading reports about political abuses in Belarus" and "a thorn in the side of Lukashenko's autocratic government".

In his last blogpost, Sheremet had wrote that some militia commanders from the east Ukraine conflict had evaded judgement for past crimes.


Vocabulary
medium (plural: media) - ways of giving information to people (newspapers, television, websites, etc.)

outspoken - very direct and honest when sharing one's opinion
critic - someone who (formally) complains about something

motive - reason for doing something
founder - the person who started a business or organization
militia - an army of non-professional soldiers
evade - escape

 
 
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A French helicopter and three French soldiers were shot down on Sunday by Libyan militia - photo by AFP / Getty Images
An Islamist militia has shot down a French helicopter in Libya killing three French soldiers says French president Francois Hollande. 

The attack occurred on Sunday outside of the city of Benghazi, and these reports now confirm that France has sent special forces to Libya.


First reports of the attack were made on Tuesday by unnamed military officials who said they were unauthorized to inform the media.


Since its 2011 uprising and NATO-intervention, Libya's government has been fragmented and has competing military and governmental groups.


A militia called Defending Benghazi Brigade, a rival of General Khalifa Hifter, the head of armed forces based in Libya's east, has taken responsibility for the attack.


Vocabulary
militia - an army of non-professional soldiers

confirm - to be sure about the truth (by having proof)
forces - here, this means 'military power'
unauthroized - officially not allowed
intervention - the act of coming between two or more groups to stop them
fragmented - divided into may parts / pieces
to compete - to oppose another group and try to win 

 
 
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Melania Trump speaks tonight at the Republican Convention - photo by Paul Sancya / AP
The 2016 Republican National Convention kicked off this morning in Cleveland, Ohio, USA and will present Donald J. Trump as the party's 2016 USA presidential election nominee.

Authorities and officials in Ohio have been concerned over the security of the event due to racial tension and to the recent gun murders of police officers during a Black Lives Matter-protest in Dallas, Texas and the gun murders of police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana yesterday. Police are also on increased alert because Ohio allows citizens to openly carry guns in public.

So far, pro-Trump and anti-Trump protesters at the event have been peaceful.

Donald Trump's wife, model and business woman, Melania Trump will headline tonight's events by giving a speech at the convention.



Vocabulary
convention (noun) - a formal meeting usually of many people
to kick off (verb) - to start an event (usually lasting some days)
party (noun) - a political group
nominee (noun) - a party's or group's candidate selection during an election
racial tension - great stress related to problems between races of people
on alert - very focused
to headline - to be the main event

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Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus opens the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on Monday- photo by Aaron Josefczyk / REUTERS
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Anti-Trump protesters at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio - photo by Sam Hodgson / NY Times
 
 
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Turkey president Erdogan helping to carry the coffin of a victim of the attempted coup on Friday - photo by Telegraph Video / APTN
Turkey is beginning a military purge following the quashed coup in Ankara and Istanbul on Friday that left some 290 dead. At least 6000 military and government officials have been detained in connection with the plot. 

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has publicly accused Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen of orchestrating the coup and claims there is a "parallel structure" within Turkey's government where he says some military leaders were taking orders from Gulen. 


Originally from Turkey, Gulen now lives in Pennsylvania, USA.

Erdogan has urged USA president Barak Obama to extradite Gulen back to Turkey. Gulen was once a supporter of Erdogan and now has a group of followers in Turkey who are called "Gulenists" and apart of the Hizmet Movement. 

Gulen has denied any connection to the attempted coup on Friday.


At one point, Turkey Labor Minister Suleyman Soylu accused the USA of being connected to the coup. 

USA Secretary of State John Kerry angrily denied any US-involvement with the plot and asked Erdogan for evidence before considering the extradition of Gulen. 

Some believe this incident will give Erdogan the justification to change Turkey's constitution to have him stay in power for longer.  

Vocabulary
purge (verb / noun) - to clean / a cleaning of unwanted parts to make the whole group better
quashed - it has been ended / stopped (easily and) immediately
detained - stopped from escaping; in custody of authorities
plot (noun) - plan

coup (French noun - "coo") - sudden seizure of governmental power by a rebel force
to accuse (verb) - to declare that someone is guilty of doing something wrong
to orchestrate (verb) - to carefully plan and direct
to claim (verb) - to declare to be true, usually without giving proof
to urge (verb) - to ask with much power and emotion
to extradite (verb) - to have one government's police send someone who is in their country back to the police in another country

justification (noun) - proving someone is right / correct in doing / being something
constitution (noun) - the laws in a country that protect the basic rights of the citizens


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Fethullah Gulen has denied any connection to the attempted military coup in Turkey on Friday - photo by Selahattin Sevi / AP
 
 
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Wefaq in Bahrain dissolved - photo by Reuters
In the Sunni-led country of Bahrain, a court has ordered the main political opposition group, Wefaq, dissolved and its assets seized, sources say. 

The Shia-Muslim Wefaq has advocated for the rights of Shia citizens and has led pro-democracy protests since 2011 when 30 people and police officers were killed afteKing Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa brought in troops from neighboring Sunni-led Gulf states to maintain order.

Last month, the justice minister asked the court to dissolve Wefaq, and an appeal court doubled the prison sentence of Wefaq's secretary-general Sheikh Ali Salman. Before the appeal, Salman was acquitted in court of trying to overthrow the government by force. 

The organization Human Rights Watch has claimed that Salman's court trial was unfair. 


Vocabulary
to order (verb) - to tell a servant to do something
political opposition - a group of politicians that argue against the political group that is the leader
to dissolve (verb) - to end by force
assets (noun) - valuables, usually money / property (land, buildings, etc.)

to seize (verb) - to take by force
sources - the origin of a story
to advocate (verb) - to support; to fight for
pro-democracy - in support of democracy (government elected and controlled by citizens)
to maintain (verb) - to keep
order (noun) - peace
justice minister - a government official
appeal - a court intended to reverse a decision

to double (verb) - to make it   x 2  ("times 2" - twice the size)
to acquit - to no longer accuse and let them free
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Wefaq's Sheikh Salman - photo AFP
 
 
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(Ozan Kose / AFP/Getty Images)
Returning to Istanbul amid large crowds at Ataturk Airport, President Erdogan has said that the "government brought to power by the people is in charge," as political control seems to be restored in Turkey after a military revolt  and night of street protesting left 161 dead and many more injured. 

Turkish Prime Minister Benali Yildirim said 2,839 plotters have been detained.

Vocabulary
amid (adverb) - among, in the presence of
in charge - in control
revolt (noun) - a fight against the leaders
detained - stopped from escaping; in custody of authorities

 
 
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Isis claims responsibility for the Nice truck attack - photo by Reuters
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The flag of Islamic State - photo by Reuters
According to news agency Amaq, which often supports their communications, terrorist group ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, has claimed responsibility for the Nice, France truck attack that saw 84 murdered and over 100 injured as a truck plowed through Nice's Promenade des Anglais on the Bastille Day celebrations. 

In the announcement, despite not naming him, ISIS called the attacker a "soldier of the Islamic State" and said ""He carried out the operation in response to calls to target nationals of states that are part of the coalition fighting Islamic State."

Vocabulary
to claim (verb) - to declare that something is true (usually without showing proof)
to plow (verb) - to go forward with full power
despite - even though
coalition (noun) - a (political) group of other (political) groups who work together

 
 
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Turkey's military has claimed power in Turkey - photo by CBC
Turkey's military has claimed that armed forces have "fully seized control" of Turkey's government, while President Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that he believed the attempted coup would be over within a "short time" and that those responsible would pay a heavy price in the courts.

Erdogan remains at an undisclosed location where he urged citizens to take to the streets in protest.

Vocabulary

to claim (verb) - to declare that something is true (usually without showing proof)
to seize (verb) - to take using force
to pay a heavy price - to receive a severe punishment
undisclosed (adjective) - not told to nor known by the public; secret
to protest (verb) - to publicly complain and oppose something