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Learning English - Words in the News
19 March, 2007 - Published 11:58 GMT
Concern for BBC correspondent in Gaza
BBC reporter Alan Johnston

It's a week since the BBC correspondent in Gaza, Alan Johnston, disappeared in Gaza City. It's presumed he's been kidnapped. There have been calls from politicians and colleagues for his immediate release. This report from Tim Franks:

Listen to the story

Over the last week rumours have ricocheted around Gaza as to what has happened to Alan Johnston. But there's an almost complete dearth of verifiable information.

As the BBC is pointing out today, there's still no independent confirmation that Alan Johnston has been kidnapped. The corporation says that the authorities in Gaza and beyond continue to insist that everything possible is being done to locate the reporter. But it's disappointing, the BBC says, that a week on still there's no firm word as to his whereabouts or condition.

The hope will be that, now a new Palestinian government has at last been formed, Alan Johnston's suspected abduction can move back to the top of the regional agenda.

Tim Franks, BBC, Jerusalem

Listen to the words

information that one person passes to another which may not be true

here, spread quickly

lack, very small amount

verifiable information
information that can be checked for being true or not

pointing out
drawing attention (to a fact that other people may not know about)

taken somewhere illegally by force (often in order to get something for returning them)

to locate
to find

there's no firm word
no confirmation has been given

taking someone somewhere illegally by force

top of the regional agenda
the most important issue in the area

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