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France to Increase Airstrikes Against IS Militants

French President Francois Hollande speaks in Canberra, Australia, Wednesday.

French President Francois Hollande speaks in Canberra, Australia, Wednesday.

France says it is sending six military planes to the Middle East as it seeks to increase strikes against the Islamic State militant group.

The French Defense Minister told parliament Wednesday that the fighter jets will be based in Jordan. He said they will support French military aircraft already in the area.

The United States, Britain and France are carrying out airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Iraq. The U.S. is doing the same in Syria.

French officials also said Wednesday they have identified a second French citizen in a video that shows the American victim of an IS beheading. The French investigators say the 22-year-old man is from the Paris area. They say he left for Syria about a year ago.

Pope Francis condemns attack in Jerusalem

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church has condemned the deadly attack on a Jewish religious place in Jerusalem. The two Palestinian attackers killed five people in the attack Tuesday. Pope Francis said Wednesday that he is following the increasing tensions in Jerusalem and other areas with concern. He urged both sides to end the cycle of violence and hate and make brave decisions for peace.

The four rabbis killed had double citizenship. Three were American and one was British. A police officer also was killed. Police killed the attackers.

Hamas praised the attack, calling it an answer to continued Israeli crimes.

Ukraine rejects Russia’s proposal for talks

Russia’s foreign minister called Wednesday for direct talks between Ukraine and separatists in that country’s eastern area. Ukrainian officials quickly rejected the idea. Prime Minister Aseniy Yatsenyuk said his government would not negotiate with what he called “Russian terrorists.” He also called on Russia to honor the ceasefire agreement reached in September between Ukraine and the separatists. Mr. Yatsenyuk accused Russia of making hostages out of the people in Ukraine’s east.

World Bank: Ebola may cost West Africa less than expected

A World Bank official says West Africa’s economic losses from the Ebola epidemic may not be as severe as thought. The bank’s chief economist for Africa says he thinks the outbreak will cost between three and four billion dollars. In October, the World Bank had predicted the economic impact could be as high as $32 million. But the bank says success in efforts to contain the disease has helped lower the expected costs.

Deadly Snow in New York

And finally, unusually cold weather has hit the United States and some areas have seen heavy snowfall. More than 1.5 meters of snow fell during a fierce winter storm in the state of New York Tuesday. Officials blamed the storm for five deaths in the state. Weather experts say the area could see another 60 centimeters of snow by Thursday night.

I’m Caty Weaver.


Words in the News

behead v. to cut off the head of (someone) especially as a punishment

cycle n. a set of events or actions that happen again and again in the same order: a repeating series of events or action

epidemic – n. an occurrence in which a disease spreads very quickly and affects a large number of people

impactn. a powerful or major influence or effect

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