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China's Xi talks tough on Hong Kong as tens of thousands call for democracy

  • sabotage: Any attempt to endanger China's sovereignty and security, challenge the power of the central government... or use Hong Kong to carry out infiltration and sabotage activities against the mainland is an act that crosses the red line and is absolutely impermissible," Xi said.
  • impermissible: Any attempt to endanger China's sovereignty and security, challenge the power of the central government... or use Hong Kong to carry out infiltration and sabotage activities against the mainland is an act that crosses the red line and is absolutely impermissible," Xi said.
  • cede: He also referred to the " humiliation and sorrow" China suffered during the first Opium War in the early 1840s that led to ceding Hong Kong to the British.
  • anathema: Hong Kong has been racked by demands for full democracy and, more recently, by calls by some pockets of protesters for independence, a subject that is anathema to Beijing.
  • disqualify: Xi's speech was his strongest yet to the city amid concerns over what some perceive as increased meddling by Beijing, illustrated in recent years by the abduction by mainland agents of some Hong Kong booksellers and Beijing's efforts in disqualifying two pro-independence lawmakers elected to the city legislature.

Melenchon, France's failed hard-left presidential candidate

  • crash: Paris (AFP)- Jean-Luc Melenchon, who crashed out of France's unpredictable presidential election Sunday, is a fiery Communist-backed eurosceptic who had vowed to return " power to the people ".
  • temperate: Observers said strong debate performances showcasing a more temperate but still quick-witted Melenchon had helped propel him into serious contention.
  • intensive: The oldest of the main candidates had made the most intensive use of the internet, boasting more than a million followers on Twitter and his own YouTube channel-- a way to circumvent the traditional media, which he accused of bias.
  • circumvent: The oldest of the main candidates had made the most intensive use of the internet, boasting more than a million followers on Twitter and his own YouTube channel-- a way to circumvent the traditional media, which he accused of bias.
  • premier: He served as vocational education minister under Socialist premier Lionel Jospin from 2000 to 2002.

Flynn, fired once by a president, now removed by another

  • resignation: The White House said Tuesday that President Donald Trump asked for the resignation of his national security adviser, a hard-charging, feather-ruffling retired lieutenant general who just three weeks into the new administration had put himself in the center of a controversy.
  • retired: The White House said Tuesday that President Donald Trump asked for the resignation of his national security adviser, a hard-charging, feather-ruffling retired lieutenant general who just three weeks into the new administration had put himself in the center of a controversy.
  • peddler: Once out of government, he disappeared into the murky world of mid-level defense contractors and international influence peddlers.
  • lifelong: Given a second chance by Trump, Flynn, a lifelong if apolitical Democrat, became a trusted and eager confidant of the Republican candidate, joining anti-Hillary Clinton campaign chants of " Lock Her Up " and tweeting that " Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.
  • confidant: Given a second chance by Trump, Flynn, a lifelong if apolitical Democrat, became a trusted and eager confidant of the Republican candidate, joining anti-Hillary Clinton campaign chants of " Lock Her Up " and tweeting that " Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.

From statues to doormats, here's what annoys Asian nations

  • infuriate: Japan regularly infuriates Seoul when senior politicians visit a shrine that honors war dead including convicted criminals; when Tokyo renews claims to disputed islets; and when officials approve history textbooks that Seoul believes whitewash Japan's wartime aggr ession.
  • islet: Japan regularly infuriates Seoul when senior politicians visit a shrine that honors war dead including convicted criminals; when Tokyo renews claims to disputed islets; and when officials approve history textbooks that Seoul believes whitewash Japan's wartime aggr ession.
  • sequel: Indians have long been known as a touchy bunch, so much so the makers of last year's blockbuster sequel" Independence Day 2 " reportedly excluded all Indian landmarks from the scenes of mayhem and devastation wrought by the movie's invading aliens.
  • deride: When former President Barack Obama in 2015 urged greater tolerance and harmony in India's multicultural society, he was derided for taking a shot at India's dignity.
  • apologize: Last week, Amazon .com Inc. pulled doormats depicting the Indian flag from its Canadian retail website after the Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj threatened to deny Indian visas to Amazon employees if the company did not apologize and withdraw the product.

Israeli proposal to quiet call to prayer draws Muslims' ire

  • ire: Israeli proposal to quiet call to prayer draws Muslims ' ire.
  • galvanize: On election day last year, Netanyahu galvanized his hawkish supporters by warning that " Arab voters are going in droves to the polls.
  • siren: A planned vote on Wednesday was blocked after ultra-Orthodox Jewish lawmakers raised concerns that it could also affect the sirens that announce the start of the Jewish Sabbath and holidays in many communities.
  • siren: I think the whole law is unnecessary," Health Minister Yaakov Litzman told Israeli Army Radio Wednesday, adding that he would support an amended bill that made an exception for Jewish sirens.
  • revile: Pakistan bans its Ahmadiyya community, who are reviled by mainstream Muslims as heretics, from broadcasting the call to prayer.

Analysis: Syria deal offers hope, but Russia calling shots

  • pitfall: It is also full of potential pitfalls and leaves Moscow with far more power than Washington to determine if there can be lasting peace.
  • retaliate: If U.S.-backed or other rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad break the cease-fire, Russia could threaten to respond militarily or allow his forces to retaliate.
  • pariah: Instead, Kerry stressed the importance of Assad's government living" up to its obligations and to work with us," suggesting the Syrian leader could transform himself from international pariah to potential peace partner.
  • evaporate: For one, it gives Russian President Vladimir Putin a potential " out" of the military intervention he launched in September 2015, without which Syrian government gains could evaporate.
  • swallow: If calm emerges in a Syria that leaves Assad in power, Putin could legitimately claim victory, a pill the U.S. would have to swallow for the sake of peace.

Pope to find a Catholic Poland out of step with his vision

  • repel: The attitude of Poland's church, with a focus on doct rine, its attempts to fight Western secular values and its support for the ruling party's polices, has repelled some of the faithful.
  • persevere: You are a nation that throughout its history has experienced so many trials, some particularly difficult, and has persevered through the power of faith, upheld by the maternal hands of the Virgin Mary," the pontiff said in a televised message to Poles last week.
  • maternal: You are a nation that throughout its history has experienced so many trials, some particularly difficult, and has persevered through the power of faith, upheld by the maternal hands of the Virgin Mary," the pontiff said in a televised message to Poles last week.
  • pontiff: You are a nation that throughout its history has experienced so many trials, some particularly difficult, and has persevered through the power of faith, upheld by the maternal hands of the Virgin Mary," the pontiff said in a televised message to Poles last week.
  • pilgrimage: I am certain that my pilgrimage to the shrine of Czestochowa ( on Thursday) will immerse me in this proven faith and do me so much good.

Sectarian discord

  • revoke: Image copyright AFP/Getty Image caption Bahrain has revoked the citizenship of top Shia Muslim cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim.
  • revoke: That stalemate arguably ended with the government's decision to revoke the citizenship of Sheikh Isa Qassim, the kingdom's most prominent Shia Muslim cleric and spiritual inspiration behind the main opposition bloc Wefaq.
  • barring: The government has also imposed an extended nine-year prison sentence for Wefaq's longstanding secretary-general Sheikh Ali Salman, introduced a new law barring religious leaders from membership in political societies, and has enforced the wholesale suspension of Wefaq's activities.
  • interlocutor: Since Wefaq's boycott of 2014 parliamentary elections in protest at a lack of meaningful concessions by the state, its one-time interlocutors at the US and British embassies have all but shunned the group.
  • shun: Since Wefaq's boycott of 2014 parliamentary elections in protest at a lack of meaningful concessions by the state, its one-time interlocutors at the US and British embassies have all but shunned the group.

In crisis-hit Tajikistan, a personality cult blossoms

  • autocrat: Propaganda posters flank the highway in Gissar, one showing the 63-year-old autocrat-- emboldened by constitutional changes passed in a May referendum-- in a pensive mood, crouched in a field of red poppies.
  • propagation: The mass media-- especially state television-- is the main instrument for the propagation of this cult," Shokir Hakimov, deputy head of the opposition Social Democratic Party of Tajikistan, told AFP.
  • mutiny: In 2015 the government banned as extremist a faith-based opposition party following an apparent mutiny the government claims left more than two dozen dead.
  • minor: In a country where minors are prohibited from attending mosques and police reportedly shave believers ' beards, some fear the party's closure will force religious groups underground, into the arms of extremists.
  • pious: Mindful of Islam's growing authority, the government has gone to some lengths to present ex-communist Rakhmon as pious, despite his anti-religious policies.

Wide arrests in Egypt signal no-tolerance policy on critics

  • galvanize: The detentions were sparked by demonstrations against el-Sissi's decision last month to hand over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, which galvanized activists who had been largely silenced by previous crackdowns.
  • conspire: El-Sissi also increasingly repeats that Egypt faces existential threats from " evil forces" or " evil people " conspiring to push the country into chaos and bloodshed like Syria or Iraq, though he has never explained what these forces are.
  • dam: It is like an old dam and the state is worried that allowing one crack to open will unleash a flood.
  • satirical: In recent days, police arrested five members of a satirical street performing group that produces videos on social media mockingel-Sissi..
  • kidnap: Another rights advocate, Ahmed Ab dullah, whose non-governmental group had been advising the family of an Italian student kidnapped, tortured and killed in Egypt earlier this year, was arrested last month and has been charged with a long list of accusations including membership in a terror group and inciting protests.

Gulf Arab leaders fear twin threats

  • cordon: The visible security cordon around the annual Manama Dialogue, the air-conditioned meeting rooms and all the theatre of government protocol belie the sense of unease that has permeated this premier regional security conference, organised by the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies ( IISS).
  • theatre: The visible security cordon around the annual Manama Dialogue, the air-conditioned meeting rooms and all the theatre of government protocol belie the sense of unease that has permeated this premier regional security conference, organised by the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies ( IISS).
  • permeate: The visible security cordon around the annual Manama Dialogue, the air-conditioned meeting rooms and all the theatre of government protocol belie the sense of unease that has permeated this premier regional security conference, organised by the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies ( IISS).
  • premier: The visible security cordon around the annual Manama Dialogue, the air-conditioned meeting rooms and all the theatre of government protocol belie the sense of unease that has permeated this premier regional security conference, organised by the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies ( IISS).
  • proxy: In Iraq, the despotic Sunni regime of President Saddam Hussein has been replaced by a Shia-led government seen by many here as a proxy of Iran.

Enduring repression and insurgency in Egypt's Sinai

  • surveyor: Mr Salopek had been working as a surveyor for a French geoscience company when he was abducted while travelling on a road west of Cairo on 22 July.
  • abduct: Mr Salopek had been working as a surveyor for a French geoscience company when he was abducted while travelling on a road west of Cairo on 22 July.
  • kidnap: It is not the first time that SP has targeted foreign civilians in Egypt, but it is the first time that an insurgent organisation has kidnapped a Westerner from the capital, and then transferred and executed him in one of its strongholds.
  • engender: Foreigners and tourists seem to be seen as less costly, " soft" targets by the militants, a judgement that proved to be a miscalculation in the 1990s when the massacre of more than 50 tourists in Luxor engendered international outrage.
  • structure: Between 2004 and 2015, the Sinai insurgency has grown from mainly an urban terrorism campaign of bombing soft targets (such as the Taba Hilton in 2004) to a structured, low-to-mid level insurgency, aiming primarily for " hard" targets ( such as Battalion 101 Camp in el-Arish, the HQ of the military campaign, dubbed " Sinai's Guantanamo" by locals).

Egypt's Copts praise Sisi but await more tangible support

  • anger: Just weeks after the February airstrikes, Christians in the mixed village say they were attacked by Muslims who were angered by Sisi's decree allowing the construction of a new church to honor those killed by Islamic State.
  • decree: Just weeks after the February airstrikes, Christians in the mixed village say they were attacked by Muslims who were angered by Sisi's decree allowing the construction of a new church to honor those killed by Islamic State.
  • assailant: The assailants threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at Coptic properties in al-O ur, which is perched on the banks of the Nile, and several people were injured.
  • autocrat: Tension between Muslims and Christians had simmered for years in Egypt, but relations worsened following the 2011 revolt that led to the downfall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
  • deride: Hardline Muslim clerics gained unprecedented freedom to preach on Egyptian television after the uprising, and some openly derided Christians on air.

AP Analysis: In fractured Israel, all electoral bets are off

  • eloquence: Notorious around the world for American-accented eloquence in the service of a tough stance, he is extraordinarily divisive at home, where he has been prime minister for the past six years, and for nine in total.
  • infuriate: His speech last week before the U.S. Congress, urging a tighter deal than he believes is brewing on Iran's nuclear program, was typical: He impressed some Israelis, while infuriating others who sensed a political ploy.
  • sense: His speech last week before the U.S. Congress, urging a tighter deal than he believes is brewing on Iran's nuclear program, was typical: He impressed some Israelis, while infuriating others who sensed a political ploy.
  • degenerate: A TV debate between the main candidates other than Netanyahu and Herzog quickly degenerated into shouted accusations of fascism, criminality and treason.
  • constellation: By dint of necessity, this constellation has nonetheless coalesced over the years into rival leftist and rightist blocs: the Arab parties aligned with the dovish left, and the religious with the nationalistic right.