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Gaza Escalation, Japan Typhoon Warning, Gory Bull Run

Five runners were injured on the first day of Spain's San Fiermo festival
Five runners were injured on the first day of Spain's San Fiermo festival

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the army to prepare for a possible ground offensive in Gaza, Haaretz quotes a senior official as saying. This comes after the Israeli military launched “Operation Protective Edge” hitting more than 50 targets in air strikes. Palestinian militants continued to fire rockets into southern Israel, some of them intercepted by Israel’s protection system Iron Dome. Earlier, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged Israel to “immediately stop its escalation and the raids on Gaza.”

Ukraine’s Defense Minister Valeriy Geletey rejected talks with separatists and said there would be no new “negotiations” until “the rebels completely lay down their arms,” AFP reports. His declaration comes amid increasing pressure from Germany and France to broker a truce deal between the two sides, and as Kiev forces follow orders to blockade the rebels inside the city of Donetsk, where most of the separatist forces have gathered after fleeing Sloviansk over the weekend.

Five runners were injured in a traditional bull run on the first day of Spain’s San Fiermo festival.

At least 16 people, including four Czech NATO soldiers, were killed in a suicide attack in eastern Afghanistan this morning, AP reports. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Meanwhile, Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah rejected yesterday’s result giving a lead to his rival Ashraf Ghani and claimed victory, although millions of ballots are still being audited for fraud.

More than 500,000 Japanese were urged to evacuate their homes as one of the most powerful typhoons in recent years is nearing its coasts, Reuters reports. On top of torrential rains and gusts of wind of more than 250 km per hour (155 mph), waves up to 14 meters high are also expected. Three nuclear power plants that lie in the predicted path of typhoon Neoguri are shut down due to national policy, a precaution aimed at avoiding a new nuclear disaster following the tsunami that hit Fukushima in 2011.

In his first meeting with abuse victims since rising to the papacy, Pope Francis begged for forgiveness with some strong words.

British scientists have developed a blood test that can predict with a 87% accuracy whether people with memory problems will develop Alzheimer’s disease in the following 12 months, The Guardian reports.

As Brazil gets set for tonight’s World Cup semifinal against Germany, here’s a Le Monde report from Manaus, the urban center in the heart of the Amazonian rain forest, where a growing number of Indigenous people are searching for survival. “The World Cup and everything that comes with it should be miles away from the concerns of the City of God. Indigenous Amazon people like Perreira, divided in 160 tribes with 200 languages, are following the Copa with as much interest as the rest of Brazil. But soccer is just soccer, and although the braided basket structure of the Arena da Amazonia, the stadium in Manaus, is inspired by local culture, the status of indigenous populations is still uncertain.”
Read the full story, World Cup Detour With Amazonia's Indigenous.

An American pharmaceutical lab wants to charge patients 56,000 euros for medication that costs them 200 to make.

Real Madrid legendAlfredo di Stefano has died at age 88.

South Korea’s national audit agency announced it was taking legal action against 11 government officials it suspects of corruption after finding that they were partly responsible for the sinking of a ferry in April that killed at least 293 people, most of them high school students. According to news agency Yonhap, the report shows “a flurry of governmental negligence and corruption” contributed to the disaster by, among others, failing to conduct proper safety controls.


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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

What Are Iran's Real Intentions? Watch What The Houthis Do Next

Three commercial ships traveling through the Red Sea were attacked by missiles launched by Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels, while the U.S. Navy shot down three drones. Tensions that are linked to the ongoing war in Gaza conflict and that may serve as an indication as to Iran's wider intentions.

photo of Raisi of iran speaking in parliament

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at the Iranian parliament in Tehran.

Icana News Agency via ZUMA
Pierre Haski


PARIS — It’s a parallel war that has so far claimed fewer victims and attracted less public attention than the one in Gaza. Yet it increasingly poses a serious threat of escalating at any time.

This conflict playing out in the international waters of the Red Sea, a strategic maritime route, features the U.S. Navy pitted against Yemen's Houthi rebels. But the stakes go beyond the Yemeni militants — with the latter being supported by Iran, which has a hand in virtually every hotspot in the region.

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Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, the Houthis have been making headlines, despite Yemen’s distance from the Gaza front. Starting with missiles launched directed toward southern Israel, which were intercepted by U.S. forces. Then came attacks on ships belonging, or suspected of belonging, to Israeli interests.

On Sunday, no fewer than three commercial ships were targeted by ballistic missiles in the Red Sea. The missiles caused minor damage and no casualties. Meanwhile, three drones were intercepted and destroyed by the U.S. Navy, currently deployed in full force in the region.

The Houthis claimed responsibility for these attacks, stating their intention to block Israeli ships' passage for as long as there was war in Gaza. The ships targeted on Sunday were registered in Panama, but at least one of them was Israeli. In the days before, several other ships were attacked and an Israeli cargo ship carrying cars was seized, and is still being held in the Yemeni port of Hodeida.

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