After days of empty streets and shuttered shops, Gaza City sprang back to life on Thursday during a fragile UN-negotiated humanitarian truce between Hamas and Israel to halt cross-border fire. The Islamist movement and Israel began observing the five-hour ceasefire at 0700 GMT, after 10 days of violence that has killed at least 230 Palestinians and one Israeli. The people of Gaza City immediately took advantage, taking to the streets in their cars and forcing police to try to negotiate the traffic jams that suddenly formed. "I've been borrowing money from people to get by, and now I'm going to be able to pay them back," said Abdul Qassam Ataneh, waiting outside a branch of the Bank of Palestine.
Carlos Ghosn, the French-Lebanese chief of Nissan-Renault, on Thursday shrugged off any chance of vying for the Middle Eastern nation's presidency, saying he has "too many jobs already". The 60-year-old, widely credited with saving a near-bankrupt Nissan more than a decade ago, was born to Lebanese parents in Brazil. So unfortunately, I don't think this is part of the probabilities," he told reporters in response to a question about a political run, after delivering a speech at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan. Speculation over a political career was fuelled by reports last year quoting Ghosn as saying he would rely on the same techniques for running Lebanon that he used to turn around Nissan.
Kiev on Thursday accused a Russian air force jet of shooting down a Ukrainian warplane over its territory Wednesday, ratcheting up tensions along the volatile border between the two ex-Soviet states. "A military plane from the air force of the Russian Federation carried out a rocket strike on a Ukrainian airforce SU-25 as it fulfilled its task over the territory of Ukraine," Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council said on Twitter. The latest allegation from Kiev comes after it said that a military transport plane downed Monday was "likely" hit by a missile fired from the Russian side of the porous border. Tensions along the frontier -- across which Ukraine says Russia is pouring fighters and weapons to fuel the separatist uprising -- are at boiling point, with Kiev warning that Moscow has massed thousands of troops there in preparation for a possible invasion.
Street children in Uganda suffer from systematic abuse by the country's police and other officials, including beatings and sex attacks, Human Rights Watch said in a report Thursday. Human Rights Watch said it had documented how police and officials threaten street children at night, and beat them with batons, whips, or wires to extort bribes or as a punishment for vagrancy. Homeless children are also at risk of beatings and forced drug use from older homeless children or adults, and both boys and girls living on the street reported being raped or sexually assaulted by men and older street boys, the report said. "Ugandan authorities should be protecting and helping homeless children, not beating them up or throwing them in police jails with adults," said Maria Burnett, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.
Israeli tank fire killed three people in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, medics said, as the overall death toll from 10 days of violence in the Palestinian territory rose to 231. One Israeli has also been killed by rockets fired by Palestinian militants. Gaza emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said the three, all men in their 20s, were killed in southern Rafah shortly before 10:00 am (0700 GMT). Two men were killed in Gaza City, another two in Deir al-Balah and a fifth in northern Beit Lahiya.
A senior Liberal Democrat minister called Thursday for a complete rethink of the so-called "bedroom tax", distancing his party from the coalition's controversial welfare reform. Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said his party would make the case for "fairer rules" before the close of parliament next week, just over a year after the heavily criticised policy was introduced. The policy is aimed at encouraging people to move to smaller homes and free up social housing, making space for people currently stuck in overcrowded accommodation. Under his proposals, new social housing tenants would receive housing benefit based on the number of rooms they need, while existing tenants would only see benefits cut if they are offered and turn down a suitable smaller home.
The barrage of rocket fire from Gaza has not just triggered a rush for shelters, but has also sent Israelis scrambling to download applications to help cope with the frequent alerts. With nearly half a million downloads, the "Red Alert" smart phone application has become an everyday essential for Israelis since the July 8 start of Israel's military operation to stop Palestinian rocket fire brought a paradoxically sharp increase in attacks. Since then, militants have fired more than 1,200 rockets and mortar rounds at Israel, and Israel has bombed more than 1,750 targets inside the Gaza Strip, the army said on Wednesday.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas was to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Thursday amid intensifying efforts to end the deadly Israeli military offensive on Gaza. The meeting, announced by Egypt's presidency, comes as Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement that is the main power in Gaza, agreed to briefly halt hostilities Thursday on humanitarian grounds. The brief respite comes on the 10th day of Israel's Operation Protective Edge, launched on July 8 to stamp out rocket fire from Gaza militants. Cairo has once again become a diplomatic hub to end the fighting in Gaza after Egypt initially proposed a failed truce without consulting Hamas.
Assailants killed 14 Tunisian soldiers in an attack on two posts near the border with Algeria, where the army has been waging a crackdown on jihadists, the government said Thursday. "The toll is 14 dead soldiers and 20 wounded, and it is expected to rise," the defence ministry said, updating an earlier toll of four killed during the attack in the Mount Chaambi area. The attacks came almost a year to the day since Tunisian soldiers were ambushed in the same region of Mount Chaambi, where the army has been hunting down a group with links to Al-Qaeda. Eight soldiers were killed in the attack on July 29 last year which happened just days after the assassination of opposition politician Mohamed Brahmi in Tunis, causing a political crisis in the North African country.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is meeting growing resistance from both the left and the right as it pushes a multibillion-dollar emergency spending bill for the border, raising questions about chances for any action in Congress to address the crisis of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children crossing into South Texas.
President Barack Obama has a simple message for critics who charge that cascading global crises have left his foreign policy flatfooted and US power enfeebled. Obama, who won re-election posing as a war-ending, Osama bin Laden-dispatching statesman, is facing increasingly caustic reviews of his leadership as the Middle East unravels in fire and blood and rising powers challenge US resolve across the globe. We live in a complex world and at a challenging time," Obama said, after appearing in the White House Briefing Room on Wednesday to discuss Iran, Ukraine, Afghanistan and the Middle East.
Fidgeting with his placard, six-year-old Fang Mingxing made an unlikely protester. He should be starting classes in Beijing this autumn, but has been denied a place along with thousands of other migrants' children, with some parents daring to confront Communist authorities through repeated protests outside government offices. "I really like Stephen Hawking, but China has no one like him," said one parent, referring to the British theoretical physicist. Many of the demonstrators have built up businesses over 10 years or more, but now find themselves on the wrong end of China's latest development plan.
The United States said that top cabinet members will visit India in coming weeks to break the ice with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was once shunned by Washington. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit on July 31 and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will travel to India in early August, culminating in Modi's previously announced visit to Washington in September, officials told a Senate committee. "We are confident we can work in a strong and collaborative partnership with the Modi government to grow our economic and strategic relations with India," said Nisha Biswal, the assistant secretary of state for South Asia.