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No End In Sight In Gaza, Maliki V. Kurds, Pope World Cup

An American summer
An American summer

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Gaza health ministry spokesman said that at least 77 Palestinians had been killed and more than 500 injured in the past three days, as Israel intensified strikes on targets in Gaza, The Guardian reports. Israel military said it had hit 322 targets last night, taking the total number to 750 since the beginning of the operation that Israel has called “Protective Edge.” In an attack on two houses in the district of Khan Younis, eight members of the same family were killed, including five children. Egyptian authorities meanwhile said they would open the border crossing of Rafah, the only one that bypasses Israel, to receive injured Palestinians.

Ahead of an emergency UN Security Council meeting, Ban Ki-moon urged both sides to show restraint. "Gaza is on a knife edge," he told reporters.

Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said “Hamas will continue to suffer harsh blows in coming days, with the power and extent necessary, until calm returns to the southern communities.” This echoes a previous statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said the operation "will expand and continue until the fire on our communities is over and the quiet is back.”

For more updates, follow the live blog on Haaretz.

Three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 27 injured in separate fights with armed rebels near the cities of Luhansk and Donetsk, Reuters reports. According to AFP, three civilians were also killed in Luhansk yesterday. In a telephone conversation, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s François Hollande that he would "exercise necessary restraint... to spare civilians" as the army prepares for its offensive on Donetsk.

It's summertime in North Carolina — time to build a lemonade stand!

Laurent Zecchini, Le Monde’s correspondent in Jerusalem, warns that we may be witnessing the birth of the “Third Intifada,” even as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu makes his own calculations: “He took advantage of the situation by launching a vast crackdown on the West Bank. The question now is whether this political offensive will be followed by an all-out military intervention and ground war. Israel wants to reestablish the deterrence power of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) against Gaza, but its main goal is political. It is to undermine the grounds of the Palestinian reconciliation by insisting that one of its members, Hamas, remains a terrorist organization.
Read the full article: The Post-Oslo Generation, Poised For Third Intifada?

A spokesman for the President of Iraq’s autonomous region of Kurdistan said that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki “has become hysterical and has lost his balance,” renewing calls for him to step down, according to AFP. This came in reaction to al-Maliki’s accusations yesterday that the Kurdish regional capital of Arbil was a haven for ISIS and had “exploited the circumstances” of the ongoing battle with the jihadist group to push for its own independence. Meanwhile, the Iraqi government informed the United Nations that ISIS had seized nuclear materials used for scientific research, and expressed fears these might be used to manufacture weapons.

Chinese hackers managed to penetrate the data bases of the U.S. federal government’s personnel office, where information about all federal employees is stored. The hackers were seeking to obtain data on “tens of thousands” of employees who had applied for top-secret security clearances, The New York Times reports. Quoting senior U.S. officials, the newspaper says the cyber attack took place in March but it’s unclear whether the hackers were affiliated with the Chinese government. A Homeland Security department official said there was no “loss of personally identifiable information.”

German authorities are investigating a second case of suspected spying, this time against a Defense Ministry employee who is thought to have ties to U.S. foreign intelligence, Deutsche Wellereports. Last week, a low-level official from Germany’s foreign intelligence agency BND was arrested over allegations that he has passed over 200 documents to the CIA for $34,000, a revelation that caused the German government to scrap its no-spy agreement with the U.S. and Britain. According to inside sources, investigators believe the second case is “more serious.”

Nashville is grand, New York is cool and London keeps calling. But music is happening everywhere in the world, and we'll discover it together here, on Hit It! our new music blog.


After both he and his opponent claimed victory, presidential candidate Joko Widodo said Thursday that now is not the time for parades, in attempt to avoid unrest ahead of next week’s final vote tally.

Online betting totals are expected to be huge by the time the competition concludes Sunday with the Germany-Argentina final.

With the Argentina v. Germany showdown set for Sunday’s World Cup final in Rio, we will also have an unprecedented soccer showdown between 2 Popes. Our take on it is here!

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How A Xi Jinping Dinner In San Francisco May Have Sealed Mastercard's Arrival In China

The credit giant becomes only the second player after American Express to be allowed to set up a bank card-clearing RMB operation in mainland China.

Photo of a hand holding a phone displaying an Union Pay logo, with a Mastercard VISA logo in the background of the photo.

Mastercard has just been granted a bank card clearing license in China.

Liu Qianshan


It appears that one of the biggest beneficiaries from Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to San Francisco was Mastercard.

The U.S. credit card giant has since secured eagerly anticipated approval to expand in China's massive financial sector, having finally obtained long sought approval from China's central bank and financial regulatory authorities to initiate a bank card business in China through its joint venture with its new Chinese partner.

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Through a joint venture in China between Mastercard and China's NetsUnion Clearing Corporation, dubbed Mastercard NUCC, it has officially entered mainland China as an RMB currency clearing organization. It's only the second foreign business of its kind to do so following American Express in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the development is linked to Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting on Nov. 15 with U.S. President Joe Biden in San Francisco, part of a two-day visit that also included dinner that Xi had with U.S. business executives.

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