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New July 2013

Syria-held French journalists freed

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Four French journalists held captive in Syria for months have been freed and are in “good health”, says President Francois Hollande.

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Kidnapped Spanish journalists’ emotional reunion

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Ricardo García Vilanova and Javier Espinosa greeted with hugs and kisses from family members on arrival at Madrid airportIt was late afternoon yesterday when the families of Ricardo García Vilanova and Javier Espinosa got the reunion they had waited 194 days for. As the pair, tired and visibly skinnier, stepped off the plane at the Torrejón air base in Madrid, they were greeted with hugs and kisses from family members.It was Espinosa, the award-winning El Mundo journalist based in the Middle East since 2002, who broke the news that the ordeal was over. Just after 9pm on Saturday night, he called the newsroom after their captors had delivered them to Turkish authorities. “Hi, it’s Javier Espinosa,” he calmly told the receptionist.

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Spanish journalists freed in Syria after six-month ordeal

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Javier Espinosa and Ricardo Villanova Garcia released but Islamist extremists still hold over 40 other western hostagesTwo Spanish journalists kidnapped in northern Syria last September were freed by their captors on Saturday night, ending a six-month ordeal in the hands of an extremist Islamic group that continues to hold more than 40 other western hostages.Javier Espinosa, a veteran correspondent for the Spanish daily El-Mundo, and Ricardo Villanova Garcia, a freelance photographer working with him, were handed over to Turkish authorities near the Syrian town of Tal Abiyad, not far from where they were seized 194 days ago.

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Lawrence Walsh

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Independent counsel who painstakingly investigated the Iran-Contra scandalAs the independent counsel investigating the Iran-Contra scandal, Lawrence Walsh, who has died aged 102, spent six futile years tying together the massive disregard for the law within Ronald Reagan’s US presidency. Walsh managed to precipitate 11 convictions, mostly for lesser offences dealing with the cover-up, but saw all of them either overturned on appeal or negated by presidential pardons issued by George Bush Sr.Iran-Contra was a two-pronged operation designed to circumvent the Boland amendment, which had stopped the US government from providing any further support to the insurgency of the rightwing “Contras” against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. In 1985, Reagan approved the illegal sale of arms to Iran, via Israel, ostensibly in exchange for the release of hostages held in Lebanon by Hezbollah.

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Men ‘held illegal migrants hostage’

Five men are charged with holding 115 suspected illegal immigrants hostage in a squalid Texas “stash” house, days after the captives were freed.

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Tehran Journal: Former American Embassy in Iran Attracts Pride and Dust

To hard-liners, the dilapidated building is a monument to Iran’s revolution; to others, it is a relic to be forgotten, even as the Nov. 4 anniversary of the 1979 hostage-taking approaches.

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Gunman Among 7 Dead After Florida Hostage Standoff

A man who barricaded himself with hostages inside a Florida apartment complex killed six people before being shot to death by a SWAT team, officials said.

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Colombian Rebels Holding an American

The FARC said that it took a former American service member hostage last month and that it now plans to release him as a sign of good will during continuing peace talks.

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NGOs in dilemma over rescuing North Korean refugees

<!– google_ad_section_start –> South Korean NGOs face a dilemma over how to rescue 64 North Koreans held by Myanmese rebels and forced to work on a drug farm, an activist said. The North Koreans have been taken to a rebel camp northeast of Tachilek, a town along the border between Myanmar and Thailand, over the past nine years, Pastor Kim Hee-tae said. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Philippines, Muslim rebels reach wealth-sharing deal

<!– google_ad_section_start –> The Philippines said on Sunday it had clinched a key “wealth-sharing” deal with Muslim rebels, bringing it closer to ending a decades-old rebellion that has claimed tens of thousands of lives. Chief peace negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said the government was cautiously optimistic of a final peace pact within weeks after the compromise deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) late on Saturday following six days of gruelling talks. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Hunt for Indonesia inmates after mass jailbreak, 5 dead

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Around 1,000 Indonesian police and soldiers were on Friday hunting for about 100 inmates, including terror convicts, who escaped from an overcrowded jail after setting the prison ablaze in riots that left five dead. The inmates began rampaging through the jail in Medan city on Sumatra island on Thursday afternoon, setting fires and hurling bottles at guards in anger over power cuts and water shortages at the facility. The Tanjung Gusta jail was engulfed in towering flames and scores of firefighters battled through the night to douse them. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Monday, July 1

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Today is Monday, July 1, the 182nd day of 2013. There are 183 days left in the year. Highlights in history on this date: 1847 – The U.S. Post Office issues the first adhesive-backed stamps. 1867 – The provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario officially become the Dominion of Canada. As a dominion, Canada still owed its allegiance to the British crown and didn’t receive total independence until 1982. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Britain’s Prime Minister Cameron rallies world leaders to G8 summit

<!– google_ad_section_start –> British Prime Minister David Cameron says leaders gathering on Monday for the G8 summit in Northern Ireland should reach speedy agreement on trade and tax reforms, and draw inspiration from the host country’s ability to resolve its own stubborn conflict. Speaking hours ahead of the summit’s official opening at a lakeside golf resort, Cameron said he expects formal agreement to launch negotiations on a European-American free trade agreement. He said a pact to slash tariffs on exports would boost employment and growth on both sides of the Atlantic. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Suspects Are Arrested in Kidnapping and Torture of Queens Man

The ordeal of Pedro Portugal, 52, a businessman, ended when officers posing as building inspectors raided a warehouse where he was kept for 32 days, the authorities said.

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Egyptian President Announces Release of Officers Kidnapped in Sinai

President Mohamed Morsi said seven Egyptian security officers who were abducted nearly a week ago had been freed, ending increasing anxiety over the government’s grip on security in the region.

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In Decision to Enter Home Near Hofstra, a Life-or-Death Calculation

An officer’s decision to enter a home in Uniondale, N.Y., and open fire, killing a gunman and a student being held hostage, may have eliminated the opportunity to negotiate with the gunman, some experts said.

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Officer kills robber and hostage in home invasion east of New York

<!– google_ad_section_start –> A 21-year-old university student killed in a home invasion east of New York was mistakenly shot in the head by an officer who fired eight times at an armed suspect who was holding a gun to the student’s head and then pointed it at him. Seven of the bullets hit the man, who was also killed. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Taliban prove adept on the public relations front

<!– google_ad_section_start –> The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as the group calls itself, first announced on Monday that four of the eight Turkish citizens captured late last month after their helicopter made an emergency landing in Logar province had been released, with the other four to follow soon. The Taliban characterised the move as a “goodwill gesture”. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Taliban vow to release remaining Turkish hostages

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Taliban insurgent leaders pledged on Monday to release the final four Turkish engineers held hostage since their helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan last month. Four other Turkish engineers aboard the helicopter were freed on Sunday, three weeks after the crash in Logar province, a Taliban stronghold south of the capital Kabul. The Taliban said in an emailed statement that the four had been released as a “goodwill, humanitarian gesture and as a sign of respect to the Muslim people of Turkey”. “The other four will be released in the near future,” it added. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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America, Inc. at it’s Finest

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New July 2013