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Kerry lands in Israel to pursue Gaza ceasefire
23 Jul 2014 | 3:47 am
TEL AVIV (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Tel Aviv on Wednesday to seek ways of ending the deadliest violence in years between Israel and Gaza's Islamist Hamas. "Secretary Kerry arrived in Tel Aviv, Israel, this morning to meet with officials to discuss the ongoing ceasefire efforts," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. "He will also travel to Jerusalem and the West Bank, and will be meeting with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Palestinian Authority President (Mahmoud) Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu. ...
Israel pummels Gaza; Kerry steps up diplomatic push
23 Jul 2014 | 3:47 am
By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Crispian Balmer GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli forces pounded the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, sending thousands of residents fleeing, and said it was meeting stiff resistance from Hamas Islamists, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Tel Aviv to push ceasefire talks. In a blow to Israel's economy, U.S. and many European air carriers halted flights to the country citing security worries after a militant rocket from Gaza hit a house near Ben Gurion airport. Israel urged a re-think, saying its airspace was safe. Making an unannounced, one-day visit, Kerry was due to see Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, signaling an intensification of efforts to end the bloodshed.
Costa Concordia begins final voyage
23 Jul 2014 | 3:45 am
Italy's Costa Concordia will set sail on its final voyage Wednesday as survivors look on, two-and-a-half years after the luxury cruise ship crashed and sank in a nighttime disaster that left 32 people dead. The rusting liner, which has been floated from its watery grave in the biggest salvage operation of a passenger ship ever performed, will be towed away to the port of Genoa in northwest Italy to be dismantled and scrapped. Surviving passengers who have returned to Tuscany's Giglio island will gather with locals and holidaymakers to bid a final farewell to the once-magnificent cruise ship.
U.N.'s Pillay says Israel may be committing war crimes
23 Jul 2014 | 3:43 am
GENEVA (Reuters) - Israel may be committing war crimes in Gaza, where its punitive house demolitions and killing of children raise the "strong possibility" that it is violating international law, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on Wednesday. Pillay, opening an emergency debate at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, also condemned the indiscriminate firing of rockets and mortars by Hamas into Israel. (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, editing by Tom Miles)
Flight bans show skittishness over trouble spots
23 Jul 2014 | 3:36 am
When U.S. and European airlines quickly canceled flights to Israel on Tuesday, they showed both a skittishness and a new sense of urgency in dealing with global trouble spots following last week's downing of a passenger plane over Ukraine.
With GOP runoff over, Perdue and Nunn face off
23 Jul 2014 | 3:35 am
ATLANTA (AP) — Now that Georgia Republicans have settled on businessman David Perdue as their nominee for the state's open Senate seat, the real battle begins with a marquee match-up in the fall against Democrat Michelle Nunn that could help determine control of the chamber.
Australia PM says unclear how many bodies recovered from Ukraine crash site
23 Jul 2014 | 3:32 am
By Matt Siegel SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Wednesday that it was still unclear how many bodies from downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 had arrived in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv and how many may have been left behind at the crash site. Five refrigerated wagons containing 200 body bags reached Kharkiv on Tuesday after pro-Russian separatists agreed to hand over the plane's black boxes to Malaysian authorities and the bodies to the Netherlands, where many victims had lived. "Based on early inspection of the trains in Kharkiv, we just don’t know how many bodies we have," Abbott told reporters.
Ukraine says pro-Russian rebels abandon positions on Donetsk outskirts
23 Jul 2014 | 3:31 am
Pro-Russian rebels are leaving their positions on the outskirts of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk and retreating towards its center, Ukrainian military officials said on Wednesday. Residents said the rebels, who want independence from Kiev for Ukraine's Donbass region, had dug trenches in downtown Donetsk outside the main university, where they have been living in student dormitories. Ukrainian forces have forced the rebels back to their two main strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk, taking villages and suburbs around them to try to squeeze them out. "In Donetsk, rebels abandoned their positions en masse and went towards the central part of the city," the headquarters of what Kiev calls its "anti-terrorist operation" said in a statement.
Iraq: Death toll from Baghdad attack rises to 31
23 Jul 2014 | 3:25 am
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi officials say the death toll from a late night suicide attack targeting a police checkpoint in Baghdad has climbed to 31 people, most of them civilians.
Gaza families plead for evacuation amid battle
23 Jul 2014 | 3:20 am
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli troops battled Hamas militants on Wednesday near a southern Gaza Strip town as dozens of Palestinian families trapped by the fighting scrambled to flee the area. The U.S. secretary of state meanwhile presses ahead with top-gear efforts to end the conflict that has killed at least 650 Palestinians and 31 Israelis.
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