updated 2:05 PM MDT, Mar 26, 2017
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live coverage on Paris hostage situations



Live video as two hostage situations in France develop.Live Coverage: Police close in on Charlie Hebdo suspects; hostages taken in eastern Paris

by cassandra.garrison 1/9/2015 3:05:34 PM
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Scotland votes 'No' to independence

Scotland has voted to stay in the United Kingdom after voters decisively rejected independence.

With 31 out of the country's 32 council areas having declared after Thursday's vote, the 'No' side has an unassailable lead of 1,914,187 votes to 1,539,920.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond called for unity and the unionist parties to deliver on more powers.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said he was delighted the UK would remain together and called for national unity.

In other developments:

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FEATURE-Somali "paradise flower" chewers savour low-price bliss after UK ban

* Khat use booms in Somalia after Britain outlaws leaves

* Chewing narcotic shrub illegal in U.S., much of Europe

* Defenders call it social tradition like drinking coffee

* Detractors say abuse has harmful medical, social effects

By Abdi Sheikh

MOGADISHU, Aug 26 (Reuters) - "The president has arrived, the president has arrived," chant youths in Mogadishu's Beerta Khaatka market, as armed men in trucks mounted with machine guns escort lorries with horns blaring through the throng.

The joking salutation is not for Somalia's president, but hails a national institution nonetheless: white sacks brimming with leafy sprouts of khat, the narcotic shrub chewed across the Horn of Africa and Yemen in a tradition dating back centuries.

The ubiquitous sight of young men with rifles slung over their shoulders and green stalks of khat dangling from their mouths is emblematic of the Somalia of recent decades, where marauding Islamist rebels and warlords bent on carving out personal fiefdoms have fomented a culture of guns and violence.

Grown on plantations in the highlands of Kenya and Ethiopia, tonnes of khat, or qat, dubbed "the flower of paradise" by its users, are flown daily into Mogadishu airport, to be distributed from there in convoys of lorries to markets across Somalia.

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Malaysia Airlines Amsterdam flight carrying 295 passengers shot down in Ukraine


By Kashmira Gander – 17 July 2014
A Malaysia Airlines passenger aircraft carrying 295 people on board has crashed after being shot down eastern Ukraine near the Russian border, according to an adviser to Ukraine's Interior Minister
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Airliner carrying 295 'shot down'
Malaysian passenger plane carrying 295 passengers crashes in Ukraine

The commercial Boeing airliner was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, the source told the Interfax news agency.

The aircraft involved is understood to be a Boeing 777 with flight number MH17, which departed from Amsterdam at 12.14am local time, 15 minutes alter than scheduled, according to flight records.

It was expected to arrive in Malaysia at 6:10am local time, but did not enter Russian airspace when it was expected to, a Russian aviation source told Reuters.

An adviser to Ukraine's Interior Minister said the plane was shot down.

Spokesman Anton Gerashenko said on his Facebook page that the plane was flying at an altitude of 33,000 feet over eastern Ukraine when it was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher.

A similar launcher was reported by journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier today.

The Interfax report said the plane came down 50 km (20 miles) short of entering Russian airspace. It "began to drop, afterwards it was found burning on the ground on Ukrainian territory," the unnamed source said.

The plane appeared to have come down in a region of military action where Ukrainian government forces are battling pro-Russian separatists.

A separate unnamed source in the Ukrainian security apparatus, quoted by Interfax, said the plane disappeared from radar at a height of 10,000 metres after which it came down near the town of Shakhtyorsk.

A spokesman for Malaysian Airlines confirmed "an incident" involving one of its flights and is expected to release a statement.

The airline posted on its Twitter feed that it "has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow".

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