Hamas's top military commander Mohammed Deif, whose wife and son were killed in an air strike in Gaza, is Israel's most wanted man who has defied assassination attempts for years. In the war between Israel and Hamas, Deif has been a shadowy if hardline presence, refusing to countenance a truce until Israel ends its eight-year blockade of the Palestinian enclave.
A rebound in exports helped narrow Japan's trade deficit in July, data showed Wednesday, but the shortfall still came in worse than expected after a marked slowdown in the world's number three economy. Japan's exports in July rose 3.9 percent on-year to 6.19 trillion yen, the first rise in three months, thanks to robust shipments of automobiles and electronic equipment such as parts for smartphones. Imports rose 2.3 percent to 7.15 trillion yen, underpinned by purchases of oil and gas, which have shot up following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, when Japan shuttered its nuclear reactors. Overall, the trade deficit last month came in at 964.0 billion yen ($9.4 billion), narrowing from 1.03 trillion yen a year ago, although it was wider than the June trade deficit.
Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrat party came under fire Wednesday after lifting the suspension of former executive Chris Rennard, whose membership was frozen in the wake of sexual harassment allegations. A report into the claims found the evidence against Rennard was "broadly credible" but not beyond reasonable doubt, and in May the peer apologised for inadvertently intruding on "personal space". "I am obviously pleased that all disciplinary investigations against me have been brought to an end and that the suspension of my party membership has been lifted," Rennard said. "All allegations made about me have now been investigated thoroughly, including by the Metropolitan Police Service, and fell at the first hurdle as there was insufficient evidence to proceed further."
By David Lawder FOND DU LAC Wis. (Reuters) - Glenn Grothman is a fiery conservative who wants to slash welfare programs and crack down on illegal immigrants who he says will "destroy" America. And if U.S. House Speaker John Boehner wants to keep his job next year, he had better be sure Grothman and his fellow House of Representatives newcomers are happy. ...
By Steve Quinn JUNEAU Alaska (Reuters) - Voting ended on Tuesday in a primary election in Alaska that has three Republicans, including a Tea Party candidate, vying for the chance to face a Democratic incumbent in a race seen as critical to their party's bid to regain control of the U.S. The primary contest pits two former colleagues from Alaska's executive branch, Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell and ex-Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan, and the Tea Party's Joe Miller, against one another to decide who challenges Senator Mark Begich in November's general election.
By Jon Herskovitz AUSTIN Texas (Reuters) - Texas Governor Rick Perry, a possible Republican presidential candidate in the 2016 race, was fingerprinted and had his mug shot taken by judicial authorities on Tuesday after being indicted last week on two felony charges of abusing power. This indictment is fundamentally a political act that seeks to achieve at the courthouse what could not be achieved at the ballot box," Perry said after finishing the 15-minute processing at the Travis County criminal justice center, a short walk away from the governor's mansion. The indictment has cast a shadow over a presidential run for Perry, who has ranked near the bottom of possible Republican candidates. Perry was indicted on Friday by a grand jury in Travis County, a Democratic stronghold in the heavily Republican state, over his veto of funding for a state ethics watchdog that has investigated prominent Texas Republicans.
Hamas said Wednesday that an Israeli air strike killed the wife and child of its Gaza military chief, as a temporary ceasefire went up in smoke and Cairo truce talks froze. "The wife of the great leader was martyred with his daughter," in a strike Tuesday night, Hamas's exiled deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzuk wrote on Facebook while saying nothing about the fate of Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades commander Mohammed Deif himself. The Israeli military said it hit "more than 25 targets" in Gaza Tuesday but would not elaborate.
By Jonathan Kaminsky NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - In a blow to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's move to withdraw his state from Common Core education standards, a state judge on Tuesday blocked Jindal's plan to scrap a key set of standardized tests due to be introduced in the coming school year. Jindal's push to ditch Common Core, announced in June and given teeth by his orders to scrap the multistate tests, came amid a backlash against the English and math standards aimed at boosting critical-thinking skills and unifying state guidelines. Judge Todd Hernandez, in issuing a preliminary injunction against the governor in a lawsuit filed by Common Core backers that is awaiting trial, said plans to drop the tests, slated to serve as a must-pass benchmark for fourth-graders, had sowed uncertainty. "The evidence is clear that this state of the unknown has caused anxiety and other harm to the parents, teachers, administrators and students in Louisiana," he wrote.
A protester scaled the home of the British justice minister and set up camp on the roof to demand greater rights for fathers, an activist group said. "He has set up camp on top of the roof and has enough supplies to last several days," the group New Fathers 4 Justice said in a statement. A spokesman for justice minister Chris Grayling said the ongoing incident was a matter for the police. The group said the protester was Martin Matthews who, according to press reports, previously scaled the politician's constituency office.
Dozens of Nigerian soldiers have refused to deploy for an offensive against Boko Haram Islamists until they receive better weapons, several of the mutineers told AFP on Wednesday. The troops said they had been ordered to move out of their barracks in the northeastern city of Maiduguri towards the Gwoza area of Borno state, where the insurgents have reportedly seized pockets of territory. The troops said they had set up a camp in the Bulabulin area on the outskirts of Maiduguri. "We are being killed like chickens by Boko Haram because we are not given the required weapons to fight," said another soldier who also requested anonymity.