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IN THE NEWS - US Weighs Options as Islamic Militants Advance

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Displaced members of the Yazidi sect, fleeing Islamic State militants, take refuge in Dohuk province, Iraq, Aug. 7, 2014.
Displaced members of the Yazidi sect, fleeing Islamic State militants, take refuge in Dohuk province, Iraq, Aug. 7, 2014.

United States officials are considering several plans designed to help religious minorities in northern Iraq.

Islamic State militants captured the area during the night. The militants asked the Yazidis, a minority Christian group, to accept Islam, leave their homes or face death. The Islamic State was formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

As many as 40,000 people are reported trapped on a mountaintop in northern Iraq. They have little food or water.

A spokesman for President Barack Obama said "the situation is nearing a humanitarian catastrophe." But the spokesman noted, "there are no American military solutions to the problems in Iraq."

A State Department official said the U.S. is looking at a number of possible actions and "actively considering" what else it can do.

A Defense Department official said that the U.S. is "working urgently and directly with officials in Baghdad and Irbil to coordinate Iraqi airdrops to people in need."

Pope Francis appealed to the international community to help end what he called the "humanitarian tragedy" in Iraq.

Khmer Rouge Leaders Get Life Sentences

A United Nations tribunal in Cambodia sentenced two former Khmer Rouge leaders to life in prison.

The court found the two defendants, Khieu Samphan and Nuon Chea, guilty of crimes against humanity. The two showed little emotion as their sentences were read.

The court ruling came more than 35 years after the fall of the Khmer Rouge. The group has been blamed for the deaths of one-fourth of the Cambodian population.

NATO to Russia: Step Back

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has warned Russia against an invasion of Ukraine. He also called for an immediate withdrawal of troops along the border between the countries. In his words, "Step back from the brink, step back from the border and [do] not use peacekeeping as an excuse for war-making."

Mr. Rasmussen spoke during a visit to Kyiv.

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Words in the News

minorityn. the smaller number; opposite majority

catastrophe – n. a terrible disaster; a momentous tragic event

optionn. an act of choosing

sentencev. to declare the punishment for a crime; n. the punishment for a crime

caution v. to warn or tell about a possible danger or problem

Now it's your turn to use these words in the news. In the comment section, write a sentence using one of these words and we will provide feedback on the use of vocabulary and grammar.

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