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Taliban Releases Video of Foreign Hostages
Afghanistan's Taliban has released a video message of two foreign hostages, an American and an Australian, five months after they were seized at gunpoint in Kabul.
The captives, Kevin King and Australian Timothy John Weeks, are shown pleading with the United States to negotiate their release with the Taliban to save their lives.
The pair were teaching at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul before they were seized at gunpoint in early August near the campus.
King and Weeks addressed U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, saying the Taliban is demanding release of its prisoners from the U.S.-run Bagram Airfield and at Pul-e-Charkhi, an Afghan detention center outside Kabul.
They both asked their families to press the U.S. government to secure their freedom.
"We hope that you can put pressure on them so that they will negotiate more and arrange an exchange for us for some Taliban soldiers. So, please talk to them because we don't know how much longer the Taliban will be patient," King said.
In his message, Weeks said the video was filmed on January 1; he cried while appealing for their release.
American forces reportedly attempted to rescue the hostages days after they were abducted but failed because the hostages were not found at the raid location, somewhere in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar.
In a statement released to media along with the video, the Taliban warned against any such attempt in future, saying "the use of force can throw their prisoners into extreme danger."
"If the opposing side solves this issue rationally, there would have been no reason for the publication of a video," it said.
1. Pro-Europe Party Wins Bulgaria Elections, Socialists Yield
The leader of Bulgaria's Socialist party has conceded defeat after exit polls showed her party placing second in the parliamentary election held Sunday.Socialist leader Kornelia Ninova congratulated former Prime Minister Boiko Borisov's GERB party as the election's winner.An Alpha Research exit poll said GERB won 32.2 percent of the vote, with the Socialist Party coming in second with 28 percent. A separate exit poll by Gallup International Balkan had GERB with 32.8 percent and the Socialists with 28.4 percent.Official results are expected Monday. The election had been seen as a test of Bulgaria's loyalties to the European Union and to Russia, with which it has historic political and cultural links. Bulgaria is set to take over the bloc's presidency in 2018.GERB and the Socialists both campaigned to revive economic ties with Russia to benefit voters in the European Union's poorest nation. But the Socialists vowed to go further, even if it meant upsetting the country's European Union pa
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An Egyptian court sentenced 56 people to prison terms of up to 14 years on Sunday over the capsizing of a boat that killed over 200 people, one of the deadliest disasters in the dangerous Mediterranean crossings of migrants to Europe.The boat capsized off the Egyptian coast on Sept. 21. Rescue workers and fishermen rescued at least 169 people, but at least 202 died.Fifty-seven people faced charges including causing the accidental death of 202 passengers, not using sufficient rescue equipment, endangering lives, receiving money from the victims, hiding suspects from authorities and using a vessel without a license. One woman was acquitted.The boat sank in the Mediterranean off Burg Rashid, a village in Egypt's northern Beheira province where the sea and the Nile meet. It had been carrying Egyptian, Sudanese, Eritrean and Somali migrants and was believed to be heading for Italy.One month after the boat sank Egypt's parliament passed legislation setting prison terms and fines for those fo
3. South Korea Prosecutors Seek Detention Warrant for Ousted President Park
South Korean prosecutors said on Monday they will seek a detention warrant for ousted President Park Geun-hye, who has been accused of taking bribes from big businesses.Park, 65, became South Korea's first democratically elected president to be removed from office when a constitutional court upheld her parliamentary impeachment this month. Park denies any wrong doing.Last week, Park was interviewed by prosecutors for 14 hours, finally leaving early Wednesday.
4. Jewish American Lobby Opens Conference in Washington
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