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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the summit topics, Donald Trump has vowed to improve USA's relationship with Russia, and has criticized NATO as being outdated and unfair.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outdated - old and not useful anymore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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Iraqi forces advance towards Mosul to fight IS - REUTERS
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The USA military reports that up to 900 fighters have been killed from the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) by coalition forces in Mosul in northern Iraq.

Approximately 100,000 coalition forces launched an attack on IS in Mosul 10 days ago and have been advancing on the city ever since. They have been liberating small villages dominated by IS along the way.  The coalition is made up of the Iraqi army, Kurdish peshmerga, Sunni Arab tribesmen, a Shia paramilitary force, USA, and British and French forces.

USA military officials estimate that there are about 3000-5000 IS soldiers in Mosul. 

IS began to govern Mosul on June 24, 2014 and it remains to be the last major city in Iraq under their control.



Vocabulary
jihadist - a group fighting a religious Muslim war
coalition - a group made up of other groups working together for a common cause

to liberate - to make free

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Soldiers in Niger fight against Islamic jihadists - photo AFP
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Islamist jihadist militants attacking a prison in Niger on Monday have been stopped by security forces. The prison, located 40 km away from the capital of Niamey, was holding 100 jihadists as prisoners. These prisoners were from the Nigeria-based Islamic jihadist group, Boko Haram, and from other groups linked to al-Qaeda.

One attacker was killed, while the others are being pursued by security forces. Two prison guards were injured in the attack that occurred at around 4:30 am. 

Officials believe the attackers are apart of Mujao, an Islamic jihadist group associated with al-Qaeda and based in Mali. Many Islamic jihadists groups are known to be located in Mali. 

This failed attack comes a week after German Chancellor Angela Merkel was in Niger to discuss migration, aid, and security.



Vocabulary
militants - fighters in an army
jihadist - an Islamist militant fighting because of religious reasons

to pursue - to chase (try to find and catch)
migration - people moving from one place (country) to another

aid - help (financial, etc.)
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At least 20 people died while crossing a bridge on their way to a Hindu pilgrimage near Varanasi, India - photo AP
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At least 24 were killed and 30 others have been injured in a stampede that erupted on a bridge near Varanasi, India on Saturday. People were crossing the bridge in order to attend a Hindu religious ceremony in the area.

Among those that died, 19 were women. 

Officials of the event said they were only expecting 3000 people to attend, but approximately 70,000 came to the event. As it became overcrowded, police began directing people away from the bridge. This sparked a rumor that the bridge was broken, causing thousands of people to run away for safety.

“We were not prepared for such a large crowd,” Raj Bahadur, a spokesman for the event, told The Associated Press.

Deadly stampedes occur frequently in India, where many people visit small areas at one time in order to attend religious festivals.


Vocabulary 
stampede - a sudden rush (running away) of a very large group of people / animals that are scared of something
to erupt - to suddenly "explode" / to suddenly happen
ceremony - a very special and very organized event
to spark - to suddenly cause something to happen
rumour - information that is quickly passed to people, but may not be true
spokesman - a man who talks for a group of people
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Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej has died at age 88 - photo origin unknown
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Thai king Bhomibol Adulyadej died on Thursday at age 88 at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok. Adulyadej was the world's longest-serving monarch, reigning on the throne for over seventy-years. 

While the king had suffered many ailments over the last ten years, the royal household bureau said he “passed away peacefully”.

Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, on December 5, 1927, Adulyadej was very well-loved and revered in Thailand and throughout the world. Over the course of his rule, beginning in 1946, he intervened in many crises that threatened Thailand's security, and  survived over a dozen coup attempts.

Succeeding to the throne will be Adulyadej's son, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn.



Vocabulary
monarch - king / queen
to reign - to rule (as king, dictator, etc.)
ailments - illnesses
coup attempt - an act of trying to control government power (by using military force / violence)

revered - very respected
to intervene - to do something to stop, affect, improve, and/or change some event
crises - plural of crisis - a very dangerous situation that could get worse
heir to the throne - the next person to be king / queen
to succeed - to be / go next
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Members of Colombia's National Liberation Army (ELN) - photo EFE
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According to a previously-signed agreement, Colombia and the Colombian Marxist-guerrilla rebel group The National Liberation Army (ELN) will begin peace talks in Quito, Ecuador on October 27. 

These expected peace talks come after a deal was made with Colombia's more commonly known guerrilla group, The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). On June 23, 2016, Colombia president Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leaders signed a ceasefire deal. However, voting in a public referendum on October 2, 2016, the deal was narrowly rejected by 50.22% of the Colombian people.

Colombia has been under an asymmetrical civil war since 1964 when the central government began fighting paramilitary groups, organized crime groups, and the Marxist-Leninist guerrilla rebel group, FARC, and the Marxist-guerrilla rebel group ELN.

President Juan Manuel Santos will be receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016 for his peace efforts in Colombia.


Vocabulary
previously - before now
Marxist - following the teachings of Karl Marx / communist
guerrilla (groups) - an independent army that irregularly attacks a main army by "surprise"
ceasefire - an agreement to stop (military) fighting
referendum - a vote by the people of a country on a specific issue / question
asymmetrical - with many unequal sides, not only two sides

paramilitary - a semi-military force, not a regular military force
civil war - a war between one country / nation

solely - by one only

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A Saudi-led airstrike has killed 82 and injured 534 at a funeral in Yemen - photo AFP
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A reported Saudi-led coalition airstrike has hit a funeral ceremony in Yemen's capital of Sanaa killing 82 people and injuring 534.

The attack blasted a building that was hosting the funeral for the father of interior minister of Yemen and rebel Houthi loyalist Jalal al-Ruwaishan. 

Yemen's acting health minister Ghazi Ismail described the incident as "barbaric air attacks against civilians and civilian targets."


The Saudi-led coalition has denied carrying out the attack. 

Yemen has become unstable since a 2011 uprising which led to the end of the 33-year rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.


In 2014, the Houthis seized governmental control of Sanaa, leading to the downfall of the Saudi Arabian-backed Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. The Houthis are a socio-political group that grew out of north Yemen in the 1990s in opposition to oppression of the then central government. 

A coalition of forces led by Saudi Arabia attacked the Houthis on March 26, 2015 to restore Hadi to power. The country has been in civil war ever since, with about 10,000 Yemenis killed, 3,799 civilians, and three million people displaced from their homes.


Vocabulary
reported - said / believed to be
coalition - a group of allies 
airstrike - an attack by jets, planes, etc.
to host - to organize and hold an event
loyalist - someone who is fully devoted to a group
barbaric - extremely gruesome, terrible; showing no mercy
civilians - the people; non-military citizens
to deny - to say you did not do something
unstable - unsafe (here, because of military fighting)
uprising - an act of (political) rebellion against a government
to seize - to take by force
Saudi Arabian-backed - supported by Saudi Arabia
coalition of forces - a group of military powers working together
displaced - forced to move away (from their homes)

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Hurricane Matthews predicted path along east Florida - photo by NOAA / BBC
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Listen to a REAL person...not a computer.
The Category Four Hurricane Matthew is approaching Florida and is predicted to be the fiercest storm to hit the USA in 12 years.

With winds of 125mph (205km/h), the storm is expected to arrive in southern Florida by early Friday.

The hurricane has already caused havoc in Bahamas, and in Haiti, where 108 have died. The storm has also killed four people in Dominican Republic. 


On Thursday, USA President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency for Florida, as two million people have already been evacuated.

 "There are no excuses, you need to leave," Florida Governor Rick Scott warned people who are still in the evacuation zones. The Florida Governor also said, "Everyone in our state must prepare now for a direct hit...if Matthew directly impacts Florida, the destruction could be catastrophic and you need to be prepared."


Vocabulary
to predict - to make a theory about the future
fierce - very powerful and destructive
havoc - great destruction and chaos (disorder)
catastrophic - totally destructive (causing a catastrophe)
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In a report, the IMF warns the world of increasing private and public debt - photo by Shawn Thew / EPA
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Listen to a REAL person...not a computer. 
In their half-yearly fiscal report, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned the world to take action against global debt that has risen to $152 trillion. The IMF said that this number is not only high, but also continues to rise.

The IMF said that if no action is taken to reduce this debt, it may cause another world financial and economic crisis as seen from the USA sub-prime housing-bubble of 2008.

These admonishments are based on research of 113 countries which shows that private and public debt from all over the world has reached a record 225% higher than global economic output. Private debt accounts for 67% of this total. Experts say that rapid rises in private debt often led to financial-sector triggered recessions that last longer and are more severe than normal downturns.

The director of the IMF’s fiscal affairs department Vitor Gasper said most of the debt is in advanced countries of the West and is in big emerging markets like China. 


The IMF also said that the world is experiencing a ‘vicious feedback loop’ which means that lower growth is making it difficult to reduce borrowing. 

While central banks have been trying to deal with this issue, the IMF is urging world governments to intervene using fiscal policy. "It is crucial to have in place measures to prevent excessive debt build-ups," said Gaspar.

The IMF also suggested governments stop giving tax incentives that encourage borrowing. 


Vocabulary
crisis - an event that can lead to destruction
record - a condition / achievment that has never happened before
sub-prime - below what is best - in reference to giving loans to people will bad credit
bubble - a financial situation where no one has money to buy anything and companies cannot sell
admonishments - warnings

to intervene - to come between two or more things and try to change the situation
financial sector - the banking / financial industry
to trigger - to quickly cause something to happen (like a 'trigger' in a gun that shoots a bullet extremely quickly)

recession - a period of declining economy 
downturn - a temporary period of slow economy
feedback loop - a cycle that feeds itself
fiscal policy - laws and regulations made by governments concerning money / finance / commerce

incentive - something that motivates you to do something
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