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Netanyahu vows to complete Gaza tunnels destruction
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:49:58 -0400

By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Jeffrey Heller GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, facing international alarm over a rising civilian death toll in Gaza, said on Thursday he would not accept any ceasefire that stopped Israel completing the destruction of militants' infiltration tunnels. The Israeli military estimated on Wednesday that accomplishing that task, already into its fourth week, would take several more days. "I wont agree to any proposal that will not enable the Israeli military to finish this important task, for the sake of Israel's security." Leaving open the option of widening a ground campaign in the Hamas Islamist-dominated Gaza Strip, the Israeli military said it had called up an additional 16,000 reservists. Gaza health officials said 19 Palestinians were killed in Israeli assaults on Thursday, which included an air strike on a van in the heart of Gaza City, which killed two people.

Ukraine premier stays on, envoys agree on crash site route
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:05:08 -0400

Ukrainian tanks move along a road near Eastern Ukrainian village of Novoselivka PershaBy Pavel Polityuk and Natalia Zinets KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's parliament rejected Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk's resignation on Thursday and finally passed legislation he said was needed to finance an army offensive against a separatist rebellion in the east and avert a national default on its debts. The assembly's about-turn on laws it refused to back a week earlier offers relief to Kiev's Western backers, who had feared Ukraine was sliding deeper into political chaos and might renege on an international bailout as it heads into an election period. The first is that Argentina has defaulted, and the second is that Ukraine has not defaulted and never will," Yatseniuk told the chamber, making clear he would stay in office. The political battle has been taking place against the backdrop of a military campaign to win back parts of the Donbass region, which borders Russia, from the pro-Moscow rebels.

Kurdish oil cargo unloaded at sea, destination a mystery
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 07:32:13 -0400

File photo of the oil tanker SCF Byrranga, which was renamed the United Kalavrvta in March 2014By Keith Wallis SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Part of a Kurdish oil cargo has been offloaded from a Greek-managed tanker into another tanker in the South China Sea, but mystery surrounds the identity of the buyer and where the two tankers are headed. The United Emblem, which is carrying more than 1 million barrels of oil, is one of three tankers loaded with oil from the autonomous Kurdish region, which is trying to sell oil independently. Iraqi Kurdistan is locked in a bitter legal and diplomatic struggle with Baghdad over international oil sales. The Kurdistan Regional Government filed a letter with the Texas court arguing its sales are allowed under the Iraqi constitution.

India, U.S. stress strategic ties but tensions remain
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:47:24 -0400

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry addresses the media as India's External Affairs Minister Swaraj looks on during their joint news conference New DelhiBy David Brunnstrom and Rajesh Kumar Singh NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The United States and India stressed their desire to boost business and defense ties on Thursday, but trade and spying rows were a reminder of the obstacles to President Barack Obama's vision of a "defining" partnership. After a day of meetings in New Delhi seen as a preparation for a September visit to Washington by new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the Indian leader's election had created a "singular opportunity." "The moment has never been more ripe to deliver on the incredible possibilities in the relationship between our two nations," he told a news conference after the annual Strategic Dialogue meeting between the two countries.

Two killed, 100 injured in gas explosion in Taiwan: Xinhua
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:31:40 -0400

Wreckage of a damaged car is pictured after an explosion in Kaohsiung(Reuters) - An explosion caused by a gas leak in the Taiwanese capital Taipei killed at least two people and injured more than 100 others, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported early on Friday. The report said that before the explosion, smoke with a "gas-like smell" was seen coming out of drains in the streets. The blast caused big fires and overturned cars, it added. The damage was spread across several streets of the Kaohsiung city area, Xinhua said. (Writing by Robin Pomeroy; Editing by Alison Williams)

Heavy shelling, clashes spread in Libya's Tripoli
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:47:51 -0400

Destroyed vehicles are seen after fighting between Libyan special forces and ex-rebel fighters of the Benghazi Shura Council in BenghaziBy Patrick Markey TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Clashes with artillery and rockets spread on Thursday into two Tripoli districts, where rival militia brigades were battling over the airport in Libya's worst fighting since the 2011 revolt that ousted Muammar Gaddafi. Nearly 200 people have been killed since the violence erupted two weeks ago in Tripoli and also in the eastern city of Benghazi, where a coalition of Islamist militants and former rebels has overrun a major army base in the city. Three years after the fall of Gaddafi, Libya's fragile government and nascent army have failed to impose authority on heavily armed brigades of former rebels who have become the North African country's powerbrokers.

US approves Boehringer's once-a-day inhaler drug
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:27:30 -0400

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new long-acting inhaler drug from Boehringer Ingelheim to treat people with chronic lung disease.

Dutch retrieve DNA of some Ukraine crash victims
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:25:31 -0400

AMSTERDAM (AP) — The head of the Dutch-led international team investigating the Malaysian Airline Flight 17 disaster says his group has retrieved additional DNA samples from 25 victims at a mortuary in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

Israel vows to crush Gaza tunnels, snubs UN
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:17:26 -0400

Palestinian firefighters try to extinguish the flames in a van that was reportedly targeted by an Israeli military strike, in Gaza City on July 31, 2014Israel vowed Thursday to keep its troops in Gaza until they finish destroying a network of cross-border tunnels, despite sharp UN and US criticism over the Palestinian death toll. Speaking at a cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would not accept any ceasefire that did not allow troops to continue destroying tunnels used by militants to attack Israel. "So I will not accept any (truce) proposal that does not allow the (military) to complete this work for the security of Israel's citizens." Israel does not say how many troops are currently fighting inside the Gaza Strip.

U.S. advises against non-essential travel to countries hit by Ebola
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:16:58 -0400

By Julie Steenhuysen CHICAGO (Reuters) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday issued a travel advisory against non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to curb the spread of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa that has claimed more than 700 lives. CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said his agency will send an additional 50 disease experts to assist with efforts to contain the highly deadly virus, in what he called "the largest, most complex outbreak that we know of in history." Sierra Leone has declared a state of emergency and called in troops to quarantine Ebola victims, joining neighboring Liberia in imposing controls, as the death toll from the outbreak of the virus in West Africa hit 729.

US stocks fall sharply as earnings disappoint
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:16:17 -0400

FILE - This April 22, 2010, file photo, shows a Wall Street sign in front of the New York Stock Exchange. U.S. stocks slumped Thursday, July 31, 2014, as investors reacted to disappointing corporate earnings reports and assessed the implications of the approaching end to economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell sharply on Thursday as investors reacted to disappointing corporate earnings and outlooks from major U.S. companies including Exxon Mobil and Whole Foods Market. The slide put major indexes into the red for July, leaving the market on track for its first monthly loss since January. Argentina's stock market plunged after the South American nation defaulted on its debt for the second time in 13 years.

US man sues soccer star Ronaldo over trademark
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:15:10 -0400

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (AP) — A U.S. man has sued Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo over the phrase "CR7," which is used by soccer fans around the world as shorthand for the Real Madrid forward.

Libya Islamic militias declare control of Benghazi
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:13:12 -0400

Tunisian custom officers check the luggage of a man fleeing from Libya at the Ras Ajdir border post between Libya and Tunisia, southern Tunisia, Thursday, July 31, 2014. Up to 6,000 people a day have fled Libya into neighboring Tunisia this week, the Tunisian foreign minister said Wednesday, the biggest influx since Libya's 2011 civil war in a sign of the spiraling turmoil as rival militias battle over control of the airport in the capital Tripoli. (AP Photo/Ali Manssour)BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — Islamic hard-line militias, including the group accused by the United States in a 2012 attack that killed the ambassador and three other Americans, claimed control of Libya's second largest city, Benghazi, after overrunning army barracks and seizing heavy weapons.

South Africa's life expectancy jumps to 61.2 years
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:13:11 -0400

A nurse (L) at an anti-retroviral clinic in the town of Winterton, South Africa explains to a patient how she should take anti-retroviral drugs on March 11, 2008Life expectancy in AIDS-hit South Africa has shot up sharply over the past decade, thanks to life prolonging anti-retroviral (ARVs) treatment, latest estimates from the country's statistics agency showed Thursday. South Africans are on average living up to 61.2 years compared to 52.2 years some 10 years ago. "For 2014 life expectancy at birth is estimated at 59.1 years for males and 63.1 years for females," said Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) in an annual demographics report. Under the former presidency of Thabo Mbeki, South Africa refused to roll out state sponsored AIDS drugs.

France mulls ban on radical Jewish group
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:10:03 -0400

Demonstrators kick tear gas canisters as they clash with riot police in Paris on July 26, 2014 after a protest against Israel's military action in GazaFrance is considering disbanding a radical Jewish group whose members clashed with pro-Palestinian activists during rallies over Israel's offensive in Gaza, a source close to the case told AFP on Thursday. News of the mooted ban on the Jewish Defence League (LDJ) came just ahead of an evening pro-Israel demonstration outside the Jewish state's embassy, located near the French prime minister's office. Police said around 4,500 people joined the rally called by the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF). They were held in response to weeks of pro-Palestinian protests that have been marred by clashes, arrests and allegations of anti-Semitism in which synagogues were targeted and Israeli flags burnt.

Top Asian News at 7:00 p.m. GMT
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:02:39 -0400

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's junta on Thursday appointed a military-dominated interim legislature in another step in the slow return of promised electoral democracy. King Bhumibol Adulyadej's official endorsement of the appointment was announced on all television stations.

US launches charm offensive against wary India
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:01:39 -0400

NEW DELHI (AP) — Given a rare opportunity to lunch with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Gaurav Dalmia was less interested Thursday in discussing the planned topics at hand, including climate change or even the trade dispute between India and the U.S. Instead, the Indian businessman was focused on Kerry himself — and whether he would be able to smooth over brittle relations between Washington and New Delhi for the sake of economic growth.

Paris riot police deployed for pro-Israel rally
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 15:01:04 -0400

A woman holds an Israeli flag and a placard reading "Hamas Terrorist" during a gathering in front of the Israeli Embassy in Paris, France, Thursday, July 31, 2014. French police were bracing for the first major pro-Israel rally in Paris since the start of the Gaza war amid persistent reports that a small Jewish group implicated in violence at pro-Gaza rallies could be banned. (AP Photo/Francois Mori )PARIS (AP) — Hundreds of riot police in Paris deployed near the Israeli Embassy Thursday for the first major pro-Israel rally since the start of the latest Gaza war.

Ginobili will not play for Argentina at World Cup
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:59:41 -0400

Spurs guard Manu Ginobili participates in an Argentina national basketball team practice, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, July 30, 2014. Ginobili has expressed his intent to play for Argentina at the FIBA World Cup despite a stress fracture of the lower fibula of his right leg. It's unclear when Ginobili was injured. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)Manu Ginobili will not play for Argentina at the FIBA World Cup because of a stress fracture in his right leg that has bothered the San Antonio Spurs guard since the playoffs.

Gonzalez, Goffin reach semifinals in Kitzbuehel
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:57:06 -0400

KITZBUEHEL, Austria (AP) — Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina and David Goffin of Belgium reached the Kitzbuehel Cup semifinals on a rain-soaked Thursday, while top-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany lost.

Mugabe worried at divisions threatening his ruling party
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:52:35 -0400

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (L) arrives with his wife Grace at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on May 24, 2014Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Thursday complained that factionalism that forced him into a compromise government with his rivals five years ago was now threatening to tear his party apart. Addressing party and government officials at an event to celebrate his ZANU-PF party's election victory last year, Mugabe described the power-sharing government with long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai as "humiliating". "We had been shackled together with the likes of Tsvangirai and (opposition faction leader) Welshman Ncube," Mugabe said.

Plea agreements signed in US-Jamaica lottery scam
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:52:27 -0400

FARGO, North Dakota (AP) — Plea agreements have been reached in a federal investigation into a Jamaican lottery scam that targeted mostly elderly victims in the United States.

Investigators reach Ukraine jet wreckage site
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:52:10 -0400

A pro-Russian rebel throws a hat to his comrade to keep uniform formality as the convoy of the OSCE mission in Ukraine approaches to a check-point near the village of Rassipne, near the scene of the Malaysia Airlines plane crash, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)ROZSYPNE, Ukraine (AP) — Two weeks after a missile brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, an international team of investigators Thursday reached a wreckage site in eastern Ukraine that remains bitterly contested between government forces and pro-Russia separatist rebels.

Iliad of France makes surprise bid for T-Mobile US
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:46:10 -0400

NEW YORK (AP) — T-Mobile US Inc., the most eligible company in the U.S. wireless industry, has another suitor on its hands. Upstart French telecom company Iliad SA on Thursday said it has offered $15 billion for a majority stake.

NY judge: US warrant can reach email in Ireland
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:37:48 -0400

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. law enforcement can force Microsoft Corp. to turn over emails it stores in Ireland, a judge ruled Thursday in a case that technology companies have rallied around as they pursue billions of dollars in data storage business abroad.

Top UN aid official urges daily 'pauses' in Gaza
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:37:41 -0400

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. humanitarian chief called Thursday for daily "humanitarian pauses" until a long-term cease-fire is reached between Israel and Hamas in order to deliver relief to hundreds of thousands in need in Gaza, rescue the injured, and give civilians a reprieve from the war.

NY Fed: Puerto Rico should seek economic reforms
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:37:08 -0400

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — New York's Federal Reserve Bank warned on Thursday that Puerto Rico needs to improve its financial health soon or face what it called a "painful adjustment."

Top Asian News at 6:30 p.m. GMT
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:32:36 -0400

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's junta on Thursday appointed a military-dominated interim legislature in another step in the slow return of promised electoral democracy. King Bhumibol Adulyadej's official endorsement of the appointment was announced on all television stations.

French forces arrest Mali jihadist ex-leader
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:32:23 -0400

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Authorities in northern Mali say a former jihadist leader in the town of Gao has been arrested by French military forces.

England not over-excited by 1st test win in year
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:29:16 -0400

England's Moeen Ali celebrates bowling out India's Mohammed Shami during the fifth and final day of the third cricket test match of the series between England and India at The Ageas Bowl in Southampton, England, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)SOUTHAMPTON, England (AP) — With an emphatic end to its worst run of test cricket results in 28 years, England wasn't quite ready to herald a turning point in the new era or say a home series victory against India was within reach.

Palestinians 'facing a precipice,' UN Council told
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:23:43 -0400

Displaced Palestinians take shelter at the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City after fleeing attacks in the Shejaiya neighbourhood of the city, on July 31, 2014Palestinians are "facing a precipice" in Gaza, the top UN refugee official there told the Security Council on Thursday in a strongly-worded appeal for action. With more than 220,000 Palestinians already sheltering in UN facilities -- four times the number from the last Gaza conflict in 2008-2009 -- Philippe Krahenbuhl said he had reached breaking point. "We have exceeded the tolerable limit that we can accommodate," Krahenbuhl said, adding that he was "alarmed" by the latest Israeli instructions to civilians to evacuate two areas in Gaza targeted for more attacks. Krahenbuhl spoke to the council by audiolink from Gaza after Israel vowed to press on with its military campaign to destroy a network of tunnels used by Hamas militants for attacks.

Ebola fears send Liberia hand sanitiser prices soaring
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:21:28 -0400

A pharmacist searches for drugs in a pharmacy in Lagos on July 26, 2014London (AFP) - The struggle to contain the worst-ever Ebola epidemic in west Africa is being complicated by the soaring cost of hand sanitiser, a leading charity said on Thursday.

Norway calls off terror alert, says threat gone
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:18:38 -0400

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Norway's intelligence service says the Scandinavian country no longer faces an imminent terror threat from people with links to Islamic fighters in Syria.

Stocks fall in Argentina as country enters default
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:14:39 -0400

An activist holds a banner that reads in Spanish "Homeland or vultures, be strong Argentina"BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Stocks fell sharply in Argentina on Thursday as the country defaulted on its bills for the second time in 13 years, raising fears the move could diminish foreign reserves, stoke inflation and drive the economy deeper into recession.

Comm Games athlete fined for assault on rival
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:12:43 -0400

In this photo taken Friday July 27 2014, Francois Etoundi of Australia lifts during the men's 77kg weightlifting competition in the Commonwealth Games Glasgow 2014 in Glasgow Scotland. Etoundi, was stripped of his games accreditation Thursday July 31, 2014 after being arrested over an alleged assault during an altercation in the athletes' village in Glasgow. (AP Photo/Dominic Lipinski, PA) UNITED KINGDOM OUTGLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — An Australian medal-winning weightlifter was convicted Thursday of head-butting another Commonwealth Games competitor in the athletes' village and Australia's athletics coach was sent home for criticizing his top star — just as the country's 20-year domination of the competition appeared to be coming to an end.

Little doubt Israeli fire in Gaza school strike: White House
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:11:21 -0400

A wounded Palestinian girl who was sheltering in a UN school receives treatment at the Kamal Edwan hospital in Beit Lahia, the northern Gaza Strip, early on July 31, 2014The United States said Thursday there was little doubt Israeli artillery was the source of a "totally indefensible" strike that killed 16 people at a UN school in Gaza. White House spokesman Josh Earnest noted that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had said all available evidence pointed to Israeli artillery and that the Israeli government had acknowledged its forces were firing in the area in response to Hamas fire near the school. "That is why we have continued to urge Israeli military officials to live up to their high standards that they have set for the protection of innocent civilians. Despite the mounting concern over the high civilian casualties, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to press ahead with an offensive to destroy a network of tunnels that Hamas militants use to attack Israel.

White House: UN school shelling 'indefensible'
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:10:16 -0400

Wafa, 3, sits on the shoulders of her father Mahmoud Abuarqoub, a Palestinian American from Baltimore, Md., as demonstrators hold a vigil for the victims of the fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza in front of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, July 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says there is little doubt Israeli artillery hit a United Nations school in Gaza and is describing the shelling as "totally unacceptable and totally indefensible."

Palestinians mull war crime charges against Israel
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:07:46 -0400

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, South African Navi Pillay, answers journalist's questions about the human rights situation in the world, during a press conference at the Geneva Press Club, in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini)GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is seeking written pledges of support from all political factions, including rival Hamas, before making any attempt to press for possible war crimes charges against Israel, senior officials said Thursday.