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A deadly gas leak explosion Kaohsiung on Friday
A deadly gas leak explosion Kaohsiung on Friday

Friday, August 1, 2014


A planned 72-hour ceasefire lasted just two hours after taking effect Friday morning, as fighting broke out and casualties quickly began piling up again. The temporary truce had been announced late Thursday by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who’d indicated that talks would take place in Cairo during the break in fighting to attempt to find a more lasting accord.

Delegations from both sides arrived early Friday in the Egyptian capital, reports the BBC, although the fate of the talks is now unclear.

An Israeli soldier was reportedly taken captive in southern Gaza this morning, says Reuters. "The IDF is currently conducting intelligence efforts and extensive searches in order to locate the missing soldier," the IDF Spokesman said in an announcement.

Hostilities had continued overnight, writes the New York Times, with Israeli airstrikes and shelling killing 14 Palestinians, according to Gaza health officials. Militants fired rockets into Israel until minutes before the 8 a.m. deadline.

The Associated Press reported that 27 civilians were killed and more than 100 injured Friday morning near the southern Gaza town of Rafah. Israeli military sources told the BBC the attack was in response to rocket fire on Kerem Shalom in Israel.

Critical of the Israeli government, Tel Aviv-based daily Haaretz’s latest editorial says the IDF are too reliant on arms and firepower in the absence of good intelligence.

Following Argentina’s default on its debt for the second time in 13 years — and the eighth time in its history — the government of Latin America’s third largest economy maintains it has in fact not defaulted. Argentine President Cristina Kirchner said in a televised speech that while she’s open to further talks with the hedge funds it owes money to, she must defend the nation’s interests, and that paying the expected $500 million could trigger additional claims and ruin the country. A new hearing is scheduled on Friday in New York to discuss the default, Reuters reports.

In an impassioned Le Monde essay, Algerina-born writer Mohamed Kacimi lashes out at those in the Arab world who hold out the Palestinian cause as the ultimate litmus test of justice and identity. Supporting Palestinians, he writes, “is not a question of tribal solidarity. It must be a well thought-out decision, a responsible one, made with full knowledge of the facts — not an identity or religious reflex as is often the case nowadays the Palestinian cause was so led astray by Arab regimes and Islamist parties that it’s lost all of its value for the young generations. Far from being a political cause, Palestine has become a medium for collective release. We bear its name, shout it in Arab streets and mosques — for in this collective imaginary, plagued by the religious, the word Palestine refers neither to geography nor history, but to a collective frustration.”
Read the full article: Don't Call Him A Traitor: The Palestinian Cause, Revisited.

A series of deadly pre-dawn explosions Friday caused by a gas leak tore into the city of Kaohsiung in central Taiwan. By midday, the death toll had climbed to 25 people, with at least 267 injured.

The World Health Organization has announced dozens of new deaths caused by the deadliest Ebola outbreak ever recorded, bringing the total number of victims to 729 across West Africa. According to CBS News, U.S. health officials are warning Americans not to travel to the three countries hit by the virus: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
In an effort to prevent contamination, West African leaders are quickening the pace of emergency efforts, writes The New York Times, deploying soldiers and authorizing house-to-house searches for infected people.

The world bid farewell to a Nobel author, international actors, a guitar hero and the last foreign minister of the Soviet Union. Read about them here.

An international team of 70 Dutch and Australian investigators finally reached the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash site in eastern Ukraine on Friday morning. But continued fighting in the area is likely to hinder the forensics team’s work.AP reports that separatists have ambushed Ukrainian soldiers, killing at least 10, some 20 km (12 miles) from where the plane crashed.

Uganda has overturned a draconian anti-gay law that punished homosexuality with life imprisonment. The Anti-Homosexuality Act, passed in December 2013, targeted not only people caught having homosexual intercourse, but also made it a crime to “publicly promote homosexuality” — which included simply offering HIV counseling. The law was struck down on procedural grounds, the BBC reports.

That’s how many kilograms of cocaine have gone missing from police headquarters in Paris, with a street value of 2.5 million euros. Read more about it on our By The Numbers feature here.


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