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Gaza bloodshed deepens as airlines shun Israel
By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Crispian Balmer GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Gaza fighting raged on Wednesday, displacing thousands more Palestinians in the battered territory as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said efforts to secure a truce between Israel and Hamas had made some progress. In a blow to Israel's economy and image, American aviation authorities extended a ban on U.S. flights to Tel Aviv for a second day, spooked by rocket salvoes out of the Gaza Strip, with many other global airlines also avoiding the Jewish state. Adding to the pressure on Israel, U.N. ...
U.N. launches inquiry into Israeli violations in Gaza
GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations Human Rights Council agreed on Wednesday to launch an international inquiry into violations that may have been committed during Israel's latest military offensive in Gaza. At the end of an emergency session, the 47-member Geneva state forum adopted a resolution presented by Palestinians by a vote of 29 states in favor, 1 against (the United States) with 17 abstentions (including some European Union members). (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)
Dole, vets groups renew push for disability treaty
WASHINGTON (AP) ? At 91, Bob Dole won't take no for an answer.
UN rights chief warns of possible Gaza war crimes
GENEVA (AP) ? The U.N.'s top human rights official demanded Tuesday that all sides in the two-week war in the Gaza Strip refrain from indiscriminate attacks on civilians, warning that violations may amount to war crimes.
US economy, though sluggish, may now be sturdier
WASHINGTON (AP) ? Out of a seemingly hollow recovery from the Great Recession, a more durable if still slow-growing U.S. economy has emerged.
Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down over rebel-held territory
By Natalia Zinets and Gabriela Baczynska KIEV (Reuters) - Kiev said two of its fighter jets were shot down over the rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday, and the missiles that brought them down might have been fired from Russia. A spokesman for Ukraine's military operations said the planes were shot down near Savur Mogila, not far from where a Malaysian airliner was brought down last week, killing all 298 passengers on board. Ukraine's Security Council said the military jets were hit at the altitude of 5,200 metres by missiles that, according to preliminary information, were launched from Russia. The terrorists do not have such professionals," said Andriy Lysenko, the council's spokesman, referring to pro-Russian rebels fighting the government forces in eastern Ukraine.
PepsiCo raises profit forecast as N. America snack sales rise
PepsiCo Inc's PEP.N higher-than-expected quarterly profit could give the company more ammunition against an activist investor who wants it to separate its snack and beverage businesses. It also reported a 2 percent organic sales increase in its beverage business, which includes the Gatorade and Tropicana brands. The sales increases were partly a result of price hikes that PepsiCo implemented as it launched new products which usually command higher prices. PepsiCo shares were up 2.7 percent at $91.59 on Wednesday afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange.
Arizona high court delays planned execution
FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) ? Arizona's highest court on Wednesday temporarily halted the execution of a condemned inmate so it could consider a last-minute appeal.
FAA extends flight ban to Tel Aviv for U.S. airlines by 24 hours
(Reuters) - The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday extended a ban on U.S. airline flights to Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv by an additional 24 hours. A statement from the U.S. agency said the flight prohibition first issued on Tuesday remains in effect as it evaluates conditions. The FAA had banned U.S. flights to Tel Aviv in response to a rocket strike that landed near the airport. The FAA ban applies only to U.S. operators such as Delta Air Lines, American Airlines Group and United Airlines.
Mavericks' Felton pleads guilty in NYC gun case
NEW YORK (AP) ? Dallas Mavericks point guard Raymond Felton pleaded guilty Wednesday in a New York gun case, taking a plea deal that involved admitting a felony but spares him jail.
Bills DT Marcell Dareus wants to earn team's trust
PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) ? Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus can finally start focusing on football again, even though he spent much of Wednesday riding a stationary bike on the sideline.
Obama fundraises for Dems; demands GOP cooperation
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ? As hopes dim for bipartisan action in Congress this summer, President Barack Obama is calling on Republican lawmakers to cooperate while complaining that they have "gone off the rails" and urging Democrats to get over their complacency and vote them out of office.
GM issues 6 more safety recalls
DETROIT (AP) ? General Motors is issuing six more recalls covering a total of almost 718,000 vehicles in the U.S.
Kerry says 'some progress' in Gaza truce efforts
Washington's top diplomat said global efforts to end 16 days of bloodshed in Gaza were progressing Wednesday as the fighting raged on and airlines suspended flights over rocket fears. As US and UN diplomats continued intensive diplomacy to end the violence, the Islamist Hamas movement hailed the suspension of Tel Aviv flights by many world airlines as a "great victory." "The success of Hamas in closing Israeli airspace is a great victory for the resistance, and is the crown of Israel's failure," spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said as traffic to Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport slowed to a trickle after a rocket hit close to runways on Tuesday. As US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN chief Ban Ki-moon held talks in Jerusalem, they said they had pooled their efforts in the hope of boosting the quest for a truce in a conflict that has killed 685 Gazans, 34 Israelis and a Thai worker.
Officials rush to brush off sanctions impact after Putin ally's warning
By Darya Korsunskaya and Lidia Kelly MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian officials on Wednesday lined up to dismiss the economic impact of Western sanctions imposed for Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis, saying they were "peanuts" compared to what their country had to face during Soviet times. In a show of unity a day after an ally of President Vladimir Putin warned that Russia's anti-Western rhetoric could derail the economy, ministers said growth had not been dampened by the sanctions which include measures against some major companies. "The sanctions in their current format don't have a macroeconomic effect," Andrei Belousov, the Kremlin's top economic adviser, told journalists. "My assessment is that we're in the vicinity of 1 percent (gross domestic product growth) and will stay there until the end of the year." Trade Minister Denis Manturov said the measures by the West could not drive Russia into the isolation of Soviet times.
GM recalls 717,950 vehicles in U.S., not for ignition switches
General Motors Co on Wednesday announced six recalls covering 717,950 vehicles in the United States for varying reasons. None of the recalls were related to the ignition switch issues that have caused nearly 15 million recalls of GM vehicles worldwide this year. The new set of recalls brings GM's recalls worldwide this year to nearly 30 million. Vehicles involved in the recalls announced Wednesday have been linked to two crashes, 3 injuries and no deaths, GM said.
Stocks turn mostly higher as earnings roll in
NEW YORK (AP) ? U.S. stock indexes were mostly higher in early-afternoon trading Wednesday as investors weighed positive earnings from the technology industry against disappointing news from Boeing and other companies. Biotechnology stocks were among the biggest gainers.
FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) ? Arizona's top court temporarily halts murderer's execution as it considers last-minute appeal.
Lawyer: Nazi war suspect dies as extradition OK'd
PHILADELPHIA (AP) ? An 89-year-old Nazi war crimes suspect has died, the night before a judge ruled that he should be extradited to Germany to face trial, his lawyer said Wednesday.
With GOP runoff over, Perdue and Nunn face off
ATLANTA (AP) ? Within hours of David Perdue's GOP Senate nomination, he and Democrat Michelle Nunn launched the real battle for Georgia's open Senate seat with attack ads in a matchup that could help settle control of the Senate.
Israel detains soldiers after WhatsApp leaks about Gaza casualties
The Israeli military said on Wednesday it had detained several soldiers and a civilian on suspicion of leaking Gaza casualty figures over social media before families of the dead or wounded could be formally informed. A week into ground fighting with Hamas that has killed at least 32 soldiers, some Israelis complain of first learning their relatives were dead through WhatsApp, or of being misled by erroneous messages into believing they were among the toll. "Notifying a family of a soldier or officer who was killed in action is one of the most sensitive and well-planned procedures that exists in the military, as befits such a serious moment," the military said in a statement announcing the arrests following an investigation that it described has having employed "both open-source and undercover means". The army has revised its own official information regarding a soldier it initially reported as killed in Gaza on Sunday, but later designated as missing in action.
Porch shooter's lawyer says he feared for his life
DETROIT (AP) ? A suburban Detroit man who killed an unarmed woman on his porch was rocked out of sleep by a series of "boom, boom, boom" pounding sounds outside his home, causing him to grab a shotgun, open the front door and fire, a defense lawyer told jurors during opening statements Wednesday.
APNewsBreak: Medicaid enrollees strain Oregon
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) ? Low-income Oregon residents were supposed to be big winners after the state expanded Medicaid under the federal health care overhaul and created a new system to improve the care they received.
Nigeria opposition leader Buhari target of a Kaduna attack
Nigerian opposition leader Muhammadu Buhari was the target of the second bomb attack in the northern city of Kaduna on Wednesday but escaped unhurt, an official said. Buhari, who also led Nigeria as a military head of state in the 1980s, "was the target" of the bombing in the Kawo area of the city, said Ahmed Maiyaki, the spokesman for Kaduna's governor.
First MH17 bodies arrive in grieving Netherlands
The first bodies from flight MH17 arrived in the Netherlands on Wednesday almost a week after it was shot down over Ukraine, as the conflict flared yet again near the Malaysian airliner's crash site. Uniformed Dutch military personnel solemnly hoisted 40 wooden coffins from two planes and placed them in individual hearses at Eindhoven airport in the south of the country in a powerfully sombre ceremony, as a trumpeter played the Last Post and a large crowd of the bereaved watched, shielded from the press. The televised two-hour ceremony watched across the Netherlands and abroad came in stark contrast to the chaotic and disturbing scenes filmed in the aftermath of the plane crash. The Netherlands has been united in grief and growing anger because of delays in getting bodies home and over the way pro-Russian separatists have treated the site, the victims' remains and personal possessions.
Head of troubled CDC anthrax lab has resigned
NEW YORK (AP) ? The head of the government lab that potentially exposed workers to live anthrax has resigned, an agency spokesman said Wednesday.
Malaysia jet victims' bodies arrive in Netherlands
EINDHOVEN, Netherlands (AP) ? Two planes carrying 40 coffins bearing victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 landed Wednesday in the southern city of Eindhoven, and pro-Russian rebels shot down two fighter jets in Ukraine's restive east as fighting flared in the region.
Philippine anger as game with NBA players is cancelled
Organisers of a visit by NBA stars to the basketball-mad Philippines have apologised and offered refunds after an exhibition game was abruptly cancelled. Tycoon Manny Pangilinan, whose company sponsored the scheduled match Tuesday night between a visiting NBA contingent and the national team, issued a profuse apology amid growing anger at the cancellation. The NBA team, including the Houston Rockets' James Harden, the San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers and DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors, were supposed to play "five on five" games with the national team, Gilas Pilipinas, on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Delta 2Q profit rises 17 percent
ATLANTA (AP) ? Delta Air Lines Inc. said Wednesday that second-quarter earnings rose 17 percent, topping analysts' expectations, as passengers flew more miles at higher average fares and fuel spending declined.
IMF sees US growth at weakest since recession
WASHINGTON (AP) ? U.S. economic growth this year will likely be at the weakest pace since the Great Recession ended, the International Monetary Fund said, mostly because of a sharp, weather-related contraction in the first quarter.
Costa Concordia wreck leaves Giglio on final voyage
Italy's once-luxurious Costa Concordia cruise liner embarked on its last voyage on Wednesday, as tug boats began towing it from island wreck site to scrapyard grave in one of the biggest salvage operations in maritime history. Sunshine streamed down on the Mediterranean bay where hundreds of onlookers watched as the final cable attaching ship to shore was cut, finally severing ties between the Tuscan island of Giglio and the ship two and a half years after its capsize claimed 32 lives. "It's hard not to get emotional," said Franco Porcellacchia, an engineer with ship owner Costa Crociere. "Today, Giglio is once again ours," a local man, visibly relieved to see the back of the Concordia, told AFP.
US officials, lawmakers clash over Iraq policy
WASHINGTON (AP) ? Senior U.S. officials and lawmakers butted heads Wednesday over the American response to Iraq's expanding Sunni insurgency, with Republicans saying drone strikes should have been authorized months ago and even Democrats questioning the Obama administration's commitment to holding the fractured country together.
Biden among Urban League meeting speakers in Ohio
CINCINNATI (AP) ? The National Urban League wants to make sure job issues and economic insecurity are in the forefront of this fall's election campaigns, its leader said Wednesday as members of the civil rights organization gathered for their four-day conference.
Senate bill targets companies that move overseas
WASHINGTON (AP) ? The Senate voted Wednesday to advance an election-year bill limiting tax breaks for U.S. companies that move operations overseas. But big hurdles remain.
Owner of Mexican shelter defends tough love
MEXICO CITY (AP) ? The owner of a group home raided last week amid abuse and filthy conditions defended her "tough love" approach, but acknowledged that things got out of control.
More than 40 feared dead in Taiwan plane crash
More than 40 people were feared dead in a plane crash in Taiwan on Wednesday, officials said, with witnesses and local media reporting the flight came down in a storm after an aborted landing. Taiwan's transport minister said 10 bodies had so far been recovered from the wreckage of the domestic flight, which had 58 people on board. Local media reported that TransAsia Airways flight GE222 had smashed into two houses near Magong airport on the Penghu islands off the southwest coast after requesting a second attempt to land there. The twin turboprop plane was flying from the southwestern city of Kaohsiung to the islands and had been delayed due to bad weather as Typhoon Matmo pounded Taiwan, according to the authorities.
Lawmakers criticise UK arms sales to Russia; Cameron pledges no new exports
By Kylie MacLellan LONDON (Reuters) - Lawmakers on Wednesday queried why Britain had granted licences to sell tens of millions of pounds worth of arms to Russia, embarrassing Prime Minister David Cameron, who has called for a Europe-wide ban on such sales because of the Ukraine crisis. The criticism, in a report compiled by four of parliament's select committees, comes two days after the British leader said France's sale of two helicopter carriers to Russia would be "unthinkable" in Britain. The government said in March it would stop some arms exports to Russia, but the report said that as of mid-May only 34 of 285 outstanding licences, worth more than 131 million pounds ($223.41 million), had been suspended or revoked. "We should have been applying a more cautious approach for some considerable time towards Russia," said John Stanley, chairman of parliament's Committees on Arms Export Controls.
More than 50 Israeli reservists refuse to serve: Washington Post
More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the nation's reserve force, citing regret over their part in a military they said plays a central role in oppressing Palestinians, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday. "We found that troops who operate in the occupied territories aren?t the only ones enforcing the mechanisms of control over Palestinian lives. While some Israelis have refused to serve in the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, the military's structure is such that serving in any capacity forces one to play a role in the conflict, said the soldiers, most of whom are women who would have been exempted from combat. Their comments come as the conflict in Gaza continues to escalate, displacing thousands more Palestinians in the battered territory even as the United States presses both sides for an immediate ceasefire and longer-term peace plan.
Here's sellin' to you, kid. Casablanca piano for sale
The iconic piano from Hollywood romance "Casablanca" goes on sale at auction in New York in November, the highlight of more than two dozen collectors' items from the fabled war-time classic. "Play it, Sam," says a stunning Ingrid Berman, cajoling Dooley Wilson into singing "As Time Goes By" before a moody Humphrey Bogart storms over to find his ex-lover sitting in his nightclub. Wilson's character Sam first played the song on the piano for Bogart's character Rick and Bergman's Ilsa when they fell in love in Paris as Nazi troops advanced on the French capital. The salmon-colored instrument is the star of more than 30 items from the 1942 black and white movie offered for sale on November 24 by Bonhams auction house and Turner Classic Movies.
Trump: DC hotel will be among world's best
WASHINGTON (AP) ? Donald Trump says his new hotel in the Old Post Office building in downtown Washington "will be one of the fine ... and maybe the finest" hotels in the world.