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At Least 12 Dead in Attack on French Newspaper


A local resident distributes coffee to reporters gathered at the scene after gunmen stormed a French newspaper, in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015.

A local resident distributes coffee to reporters gathered at the scene after gunmen stormed a French newspaper, in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015.

Now, the news, from VOA Learning English.

At least 12 people were killed in an attack on the Paris offices of a French newspaper Wednesday. Witnesses say at least two gunmen opened fire with automatic rifles and a rocket launcher inside the offices of Charlie Hebdo.

The director of the weekly paper and at least three cartoonists were killed. Two police officers were reportedly killed as well. French President Francois Hollande denounced the shootings as a terrorist attack. He defended the media after the killings. He said no act of violence “will ever extinguish freedom of the press.”

France has raised its terrorism warning to its highest level.

Charlie Hebdo often makes fun of culture and religion. On Wednesday, it published a cartoon on social media. The image showed the leader of Islamic State militants, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as a New Year well-wisher.

The magazine’s office was attacked in 2011 after it published a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammed.

In Washington, President Barack Obama strongly condemned the attack. He said the U.S. will help France, in his words, “bring these terrorists to justice.”

Explosion near police training center in Sanaa

Security officials say a car carrying a bomb has exploded near a police training center in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa. The explosion killed at least 30 people and wounded 40 others.

The bomb exploded as people were gathered outside the police academy.

Many bombings and other attacks have taken place in Sanaa since the ouster of Yemen’s long-time leader three years ago. Shi’ite Muslim Houthy rebels took control of the city last September. They have clashed with supporters of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and other allied Sunni tribesmen.

Tail of AirAsia plane found

Indonesian teams say they have found the tail section of the airplane that crashed into the Java Sea last month. The head of Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency spoke to reporters Wednesday about efforts to find the wreckage of AirAsia Flight 8501. The piece is believed to contain the “black box” voice and flight data recorders. The equipment is expected to help officials learn the cause of the crash.

The plane was carrying 162 people when it crashed in waters near the island of Borneo. No survivors were found. The bodies of fewer than 40 victims have been recovered.

Lawmakers in Hong Kong protest election plans

Pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong raised yellow umbrellas and walked out of parliament Wednesday. The lawmakers carried out the protest when Hong Kong’s Chief Secretary said the government will investigate and name candidates for the city’s elections in 2017.

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam said constitutional development must be built on plans announced by the government. The pro-democracy supporters are calling for free elections, which would permit the people of Hong Kong to choose their leaders without the control of China.

Another corruption case against Chinese government official

Chinese officials have sent the corruption case against former national security chief Zhou Yongkang to government lawyers. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection announced that his case and several others had been sent to what it called “judicial organs.”

Last month, Zhou Yongkang was arrested on charges of leaking or illegally releasing, government secrets and accepting illegal payments. He was also expelled from China’s Communist Party.

He is the highest-ranking Chinese Communist official to be charged in more than 30 years.

And that’s the news, from VOA Learning English.

I’m Christopher Cruise.

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Words in the News

attack - n. a violent attempt to damage, injure or kill

media - n. all public information organizations, including newspapers, television and radio

bomb - n. a device that explodes with great force

control - v. to direct; to have power over

We want to provide practical help to you as you learn American English. In the comments section, write a sentence using one of these Words in the News. We will provide feedback on your use of vocabulary and grammar.

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