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By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Ari Rabinovitch GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip have agreed to a three-day humanitarian truce to begin Friday morning, and negotiators from both sides will travel to Cairo to discuss a longer-term. The 72-hour break after more than three weeks of fighting was set to begin at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT), according to a joint statement released by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. A spokesman for Hamas, the Islamist group dominant in Gaza, said all Palestinian factions would abide by the truce as long as Israel holds its fire. Officials in Israel were not available for immediate comment.

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.


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.


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.


Wreckage of a damaged car is pictured after an explosion in KaohsiungAn explosion caused by a gas leak in the southern Taiwanese city Kaohsiung has killed 15 people and injured another 243, Taiwanese media reported on Friday. Smoke with a “gas-like smell” was seen coming out of drains in the streets before the explosion, Formosa TV and the China Times newspaper said. The Kaohsiung government has set up an emergency centre, with a plan to send soldiers in to coordinate the rescue operation, the media said.


By David Ljunggren and Alastair Sharp OTTAWA/TORONTO (Reuters) - The recent hacking attempt on a sensitive Canadian government computer network is similar to attacks mounted by an elite unit of the Chinese army based in Shanghai, according to a cybersecurity expert. Canada said on Tuesday "a highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor" had broken into the National Research Council, a leading research body that works with major companies such as aircraft and train maker Bombardier Inc. Beijing on Thursday accused Canada of making irresponsible accusations that lacked credible evidence. While Canada did not give details of the attack, CrowdStrike Chief Technology Officer Dmitri Alperovitch said it was similar to other hacking campaigns launched by a unit of the People's Liberation Army that his company has nicknamed 'Putter Panda.' The group, Unit 61486, has thousands of people and conducts intelligence on satellite and aerospace industries, he said. "It certainly looks like one of the actors we track out of China that we've seen going after aircraft manufacturers in the past," Alperovitch said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announces a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, while in New DelhiU.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday called the 72-hour ceasefire agreed to by Israel and Hamas in their conflict in the Gaza Strip a "lull of opportunity" and said it was imperative that the sides make their best efforts to find common ground. Kerry said Egypt's foreign minister will invite the Gaza ceasefire parties to take part in "serious" negotiations in Cairo and that the United States plans to send a small delegation to the talks. Kerry called the ceasefire "precious time." "It is a lull of opportunity, a moment for the different factions to be able to come together with the state of Israel in an effort to try to address ways to find a sustainable ceasefire and then obviously, over a longer period of time, address the underlying issues," Kerry told reporters.


Australia's Marc Leishman fired a six-under par 64 on Thursday to seize a one-stroke lead in the Bridgestone Invitational with defending champion Tiger Woods four shots back. Leishman had eight birdies and two bogeys at Firestone Country Club and was one stroke in front of England's Justin Rose, South African Charl Schwartzel and American Ryan Moore. Moore also notched five birdies without a bogey while former Masters champion Schwartzel had six birdies and one bogey for his share of second.
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A series of underground gas explosions killed 20 people and injured 270 others late Thursday in Taiwan's second-largest city, authorities said. The National Fire Agency said five firefighters were among the dead. Taiwan's Central News Agency reported that firefighters had been at the scene investigating reports of a gas leak when the explosions occurred.
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. law enforcement can force Microsoft Corp. to turn over emails it stores in Ireland, a judge ruled in a case that technology companies have rallied around as they pursue billions of dollars in data storage business abroad.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel has accepted a proposal for a three-day truce with militant groups in the Gaza Strip, an official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said. "Israel has accepted the U.S./U.N. proposal for a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire beginning 8 a.m. (0500 GMT) Friday," said the official, who made the statement on condition of anonymity. (Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Flames from an explosion from an underground gas leak in the streets of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, early Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. A massive gas leakage early Friday caused five explosions that killed several people and injured over 200 in the southern Taiwan port city of Kaohsiung. (AP Photo) TAIWAN OUTTAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A series of underground gas explosions killed 20 people and injured 270 others late Thursday in Taiwan's second-largest city, authorities said.


HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — A federal judge in the U.S. territory of Guam denied a motion Thursday to release a Russian lawmaker's son accused of hacking computers inside hundreds of U.S. businesses.

Tiger Woods watches his chip to the fourth hole, during the first round of the Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament, Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Akron, Ohio. (AP Photo/Phil Long)AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Tiger Woods made six birdies to account for his mistakes and opened with a 2-under 68 at the Bridgestone Invitational on Thursday, still four shots behind Marc Leishman of Australia, who shot 64 on a perfect day for scoring at Firestone.


ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska Native regional corporation and six Native Village corporations signed an agreement with a Shell Oil subsidiary Thursday that aims to share the profits from offshore drilling off Alaska's northwest coast.

A T-Mobile store sign is seen in Broomfield, ColoradoBy Soyoung Kim and Leila Abboud PARIS/NEW YORK (Reuters) - French telecommunications company Iliad SA has made a surprise offer for T-Mobile US Inc , setting up a potential bidding war with Sprint Corp , the U.S. mobile carrier now controlled by Japan's Softbank Corp . Iliad, which has shaken up the French mobile and broadband market in the past decade with its cheap, pared-down subscriber plans, bid $15 billion in cash for 56.6 percent of T-Mobile US at $33 per share, it said in a statement on Thursday. The Paris-based company said its offer for the fourth-largest U.S. carrier values all of T-Mobile at $36.20 per share, a premium of 42 percent over the pre-announcement share price.


TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A series of underground gas explosions killed 20 people and injured 270 others late Thursday in Taiwan's second-largest city, authorities said. The National Fire Agency said five firefighters were among the dead. Taiwan's Central News Agency reported that firefighters had been at the scene investigating reports of a gas leak when the explosions occurred.

Japan's PM Shinzo Abe (L) and Chile's president MIchelle Bachelet (R) pose during a press conference at La Moneda presidential Palace in Santiago July 31, 2014Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sealed a series of deals on a visit to Chile Thursday in areas ranging from mining to minimizing damage from earthquakes. Abe is on a five-country Latin American tour that comes just after rival Asian giant China's President Xi Jinping wrapped up his own visit to the region. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said she wanted her country, with its long Pacific coastline and abundant ports, to be Japan's gateway to the region. "I want to show you that Chile is a great partner and an enormous entryway to the Latin American region," she said during meetings with Abe at the presidential palace.


Rockets are fired from Gaza Strip towards Israel, Thursday, July 31, 2014, as international efforts to end the 23-day-old conflict seemed to sputter despite concern over the mounting death toll. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic)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.


An Israeli artillery gun fires a 155 mm shell towards targets in the Gaza Strip from their position near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip on July 31, 2014Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire in the Gaza conflict, US Secretary of State John Kerry and the United Nations announced early Friday. Kerry said the two sides would begin the truce at 8 am local time (0500 GMT) and that Israelis and Palestinians would enter talks in Cairo. The top US diplomat said the ceasefire would last for 72 hours "unless extended." "This ceasefire is critical to giving innocent civilians a much-needed reprieve from violence," the statement said.


People wait to cross a damaged bridge on July 31, 2014 near the village of Debaltseve, eastern UkraineWith hazards including blown-up railway bridges and unexploded shells and mines, the route chosen by international investigators to reach the MH17 crash site on Thursday was fraught with risks. The team, consisting of Dutch and Australian experts as well as monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), left the rebel-held city of Donetsk early Thursday morning moving in a convoy of three white SUVs clearly marked with the OSCE logo. Their round trip charted a wide arc of around 500 kilometres (300 miles), despite the crash site being only some 60 kilometres (40 miles) from their base in Donetsk. It came across a railway bridge blown up in early July as a cargo train passed over.


BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Authorities in Colombia say electricity is gradually being restored in the port city of Buenaventura, which was blacked out Monday night when suspected rebels blew up a transmission tower.
Gas leaks triggered a series of powerful explosions in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung, killing at least 20 people and injuring up to 270, officials said Friday, warning that the toll is expected to rise. "The blasts late Thursday killed at least 20 people and left 270 others injured," the National Fire Agency said, adding that the injured were being rushed to various hospitals in the port city. The explosions, believed to have been triggered by gas leaks, were powerful enough to upturn cars and rip open paved roads. It felt like an earthquake," Taiwan's Central News Agency quoted an eyewitness as saying.

Riot police stand guard near the Israeli embassy in AmmanThe United States and United Nations are announcing that Israel and Hamas have agreed to a humanitarian cease-fire to start Friday morning for 72 hours.


Palestinian Heygar Jendiyah, gestures as she speaks to the photographer, while her daughter Ranin, 10, stands background, at the house, partially destroyed by an Israeli strike earlier during the war, in the Sabra neighborhood of Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 31, 2014. The building houses 21 members of the extended family, and now with several rooms destroyed, they try to go about their lives, without electricity and without running water for several hours a day. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire beginning Friday, during which time there will be negotiations on a more durable truce in the 24-day-old Gaza war, the United States and United Nations announced Thursday.


Sierra Leone's President Bai Koroma attends a meeting of ECOWAS in YamoussoukroBy Umaru Fofana FREETOWN (Reuters) - Sierra Leone has declared a state of emergency and called in troops to quarantine Ebola victims, joining neighbouring Liberia in imposing controls as the death toll from the outbreak of the virus hit 729 in West Africa. The World Health Organisation said it would launch a $100 million response plan on Friday during a meeting with the affected nations in Guinea. The WHO on Thursday reported 57 new deaths in the four days to July 27 in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, raising the death toll to 729. It said the number of Ebola cases had topped 1,300.


By Kate Kelland LONDON, (Reuters) - For scientists tracking the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa, it is not about complex virology and genotyping, but about how contagious microbes - like humans - use planes, bikes and taxis to spread. So far, authorities have taken no action to limit international travel in the region. The airlines association IATA said on Thursday that the World Health Organisation is not recommending any such restrictions or frontier closures. The West Africa outbreak, which began in Guinea in February, has already spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Rasheed Dwyer, centre of Jamaica, leads home a Jamaica 1, 2, 3, with Warren Weir, right, who placed second and Jason Livermore place 3rd in the men's 200 meter race at Hampden Park Stadium during the Commonwealth Games 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland, Thursday July 31, 2014. Dwyer won the gold medal winning the race.(AP Photo/Peter Morrison)GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — After Usain Bolt quelled a storm over reported criticism of conditions in Glasgow, a Jamaica teammate at the Commonwealth Games said he can't wait to leave the cold weather.


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) — For stock investors, the red flags were everywhere on Thursday.


SEATTLE (AP) — The sister of an American tour guide who has been detained in North Korea for nearly two years renewed her urgent call for his release Thursday, saying reports that he feels "abandoned" are devastating.
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A series of underground gas explosions killed 20 people and injured 270 others late Thursday in Taiwan's second-largest city, authorities said. The National Fire Agency said five firefighters were among the dead. Taiwan's Central News Agency reported that firefighters had been at the scene investigating reports of a gas leak when the explosions occurred.
By Phil Stewart WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday called on Israel to do more to protect civilians in its military offensive in Gaza and condemned an Israeli strike on a U.N.-run school, even as it defended moves to resupply its close ally with ammunition. The White House reiterated its position that it was Israel's right to defend itself and described the resupply of ammunition disclosed as the fighting raged this week as "routine." White House spokesman Josh Earnest rejected suggestions that resupplying the Israelis might prolong the conflict, saying it was "part of a routine foreign military sales delivery." "The requested items were readily available and were provided as they have been on numerous other occasions," Earnest said. Israel says 56 of its soldiers and three civilians have been killed.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The defense team in the Blackwater trial attacked the testimony of a key prosecution witness Thursday, telling a jury that the witness lied to federal investigators even after he had sworn to tell the truth in an effort to win leniency in the case surrounding the killings of 14 Iraqis.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Contradictions have surfaced in the criminal trial of Blackwater security guards in the 2007 shooting that killed 32 Iraqis.

Palestinian Heygar Jendiyah, gestures as she speaks to the photographer, while her daughter Ranin, 10, stands background, at the house, partially destroyed by an Israeli strike earlier during the war, in the Sabra neighborhood of Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 31, 2014. The building houses 21 members of the extended family, and now with several rooms destroyed, they try to go about their lives, without electricity and without running water for several hours a day. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire beginning Friday, during which time there will be negotiations on a more durable truce in the 24-day-old Gaza war, the United States and United Nations announced Thursday.


A boy walks on July 31, 2014 through an empty class room in a school in Monrovia which has been closed down by the Liberian government to protect students from contracting EbolaLiberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf appealed for more doctors and supplies to help West African nations battle an outbreak of deadly Ebola, warning Thursday the crisis was "nearing a catastrophe." Early denial about the dangers of the contagious disease among Liberians has now "turned into fear and panic," she told CNN in an interview over Skype. After closing most of its land borders, Liberia announced Wednesday that it was shuttering all its schools and placing non-essential government staff on leave.


An office worker looks at a man sleeping inside the basket he uses to collect cardboard for recycling at the financial district in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday, July 31, 2014. The collapse of talks with U.S. creditors sent Argentina into its second debt default in 13 years and raised questions about what comes next for financial markets and the South American nation's staggering economy. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Stocks fell sharply in Argentina on Thursday as the country entered into economic uncertainty with its second default in 13 years, one forced upon it by New York hedge funds with the backing of U.S. courts.


Nijel Amos, celebrates after winning the men's 800 meter race from David Rudisha, of Kenya 2nd and Andre Olivier of South Africa 3rd, at Hampden Park Stadium during the Commonwealth Games 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland, Thursday July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Nijel Amos of Botswana turned the tables on Olympic champion David Rudisha to win the 800-meter gold medal at the Commonwealth Games on a cool, rainy Thursday night at Hampden Park.


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