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Taliban Kills at Least 130 People at Pakistani School

Rescue workers and family members carry the coffin of a student, who killed during an attack by Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School, in Peshawar, Dec. 16, 2014. (REUTERS/Khuram Parvez)
Rescue workers and family members carry the coffin of a student, who killed during an attack by Taliban gunmen on the Army Public School, in Peshawar, Dec. 16, 2014. (REUTERS/Khuram Parvez)
In The News 12-16-14
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At least 130 people are confirmed dead in Pakistan after Taliban militants raided an army-operated school. The raid happened Tuesday in the northwestern city of Peshawar. The militants wore military clothing and carried explosive devices.

Most of the victims were students. A local official said more than 100 people were wounded. An army spokesman says security forces killed at least six militants.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the raid, calling it a “national tragedy.” The Pakistani leader has declared three days of national mourning. He promised to continue military operations against the militants.

The top American diplomat in Pakistan -- Ambassador Richard Olson -- expressed sympathy with the country. He said “few have suffered more at the hands of terrorists and extremists than the people of Pakistan.”

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. It said the raid was meant to answer Pakistan’s offensive against Taliban supporters in the country’s northwestern tribal area. The area is a training ground and shelter for militants.

Australia mourns victims of hostage-taking

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has joined Australians in mourning the victims of a hostage-taking at a Sydney café. The incident ended when police officers raided the store. Two hostages and the hostage-taker were killed in a shootout with police.

The gunman was identified as 50-year-old Man Haron Monis. Mr. Abbott described the hostage-taking as the “sick fantasy of a disturbed individual.” He said the Iranian-born suspect was well-known to Australian officials, but did not appear to be on a list of terrorists who officials watch closely. He said the suspect had a long history of crime, emotional problems and involvement in extremism.

The self-declared Muslim clergyman had been found guilty of sending threatening letters to the parents of Australian soldiers who died in Afghanistan. He was facing legal action related to the killing of his former wife in 2013.

During the incident Monday, Man Haron Monis forced hostages to hold up a flag with an Islamic statement of faith. In statements to media, he said he supported the Islamic State militant group.

Australian Muslim groups have condemned the hostage-taking and the use of the Islamic flag.

Korean Air faces possible fines over 'nuts' incident

Korean Air faces possible fines and flight suspensions because of the actions of former top airline official Heather Cho. She delayed a Korean Air flight earlier this month because she was unhappy with how she was served nuts.

South Korea’s Transport Minister said on Tuesday it is studying possible measures to punish the company, which it said violated aviation law. The ministry said Korean Air could face up to a month of flight suspensions and a two million dollar fine.

Ms. Cho is the daughter of the airline’s chairman.

She was sitting in the area of an airplane known as “first class” when she became angry that a flight attendant served her macadamia nuts in a bag instead of on a plate. She forced the plane to return to the airport and expelled the cabin crew chief.

Ms. Cho has been ousted of all her positions with Korean Air. Last week she apologized for her actions.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

This report was based on stories from VOA’s News Division. George Grow wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Christopher Cruise was the editor. Jonathan Evans read and produced the report.


Words in This Story

militants - n. people active in trying to cause political change, often by the use of force or violence

victims - n. people who are injured, killed or made to suffer

mourning - v. expressing sadness

fines - n. payments ordered by courts to punish people or businesses for crimes

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