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Israel launched an aerial offensive in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, bombing more than 30 targets including homes and calling it part of a campaign named "Operation Protective Edge" targeting Hamas Islamist militants firing rockets at the Jewish state.
The military urged Israelis within a 40-km (24-mile) radius of the southern coastal territory to stay within reach of protected areas and ordered summer camps shut as a precaution against rocket fire.
Palestinian officials said Israel bombed more than 30 targets in little more than an hour before dawn, including two homes in southern Gaza, one of which was identified by a neighbour as belonging to a Hamas member.
Nine people suffered shrapnel injuries. There were no other reported casualties as the buildings were believed to have been evacuated beforehand.
Witnesses said a house bombed in Khan Younis was flattened. The Palestinian Health Ministry said nine neighbours were wounded by debris from that strike.
Al Jazeera America
The first weekend of July has reminded many Israelis and Palestinians of the beginnings of the second intifada in 2000: Protests have erupted in Palestinian neighborhoods both inside Israel and in the occupied territories, Jews attacked Palestinians in restaurants and on buses, Palestinians threw stones at Jewish cars, and reports of police violence have fanned the flames. Furthermore, after 48 hours without aerial attacks, Israeli planes bombed multiple sites in the Gaza Strip on Saturday night and more on Sunday, killing at least nine Palestinians, and for the first time since November 2012 Palestinian rockets were fired at the southern city of Be’er Sheva. And just like 14 years ago, all this came right after the collapse of a U.S.-led diplomatic effort.
But even as anger mounts over the abductions and killings of three teenage Israeli settlers and of a 16-year-old Palestinian in East Jerusalem, there is one striking difference between the fateful days of October 2000 and today’s events: Casualties in the current escalation remain minimal compared with the heavy toll in early clashes of the second intifada. (Continued airstrikes in Gaza, of course, could quickly change that.)
Still, Israeli and Palestinian Authority security officials are hoping that the flames of fury will die down as angry Arab teens are summoned home to break the day’s Ramadan fast with their families and racist Israeli mobs are dispersed and distracted by the World Cup. They’re also expecting that Sunday’s reports that six Israeli youths were arrested on suspicion of involvement in Mohammed Abu Khdeir’s murder will further cool tempers.
Another key difference between now and 2000 is in the leadership on both sides of the divide: Unlike their predecessors Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat, who failed to grasp the danger they were fomenting in 2000, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are both risk-averse leaders invested in the stability of the status quo.
Israel called up reserve troops on Monday for a possible escalation of hostilities with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip where Hamas said six of its fighters were killed by air strikes, something Israel denied.
Hamas vowed revenge for what it said were deadliest attacks in a surge of violence since the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli youths and a Palestinian teen.
Palestinian militants kept up their now-daily rocket launchings into Israel as pressure mounted from hardliners in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition for tougher action against Hamas, the dominant force in the Gaza enclave.
The Israeli military said its aircraft had targeted "terror sites and concealed rocket launchers" in the enclave, but had not hit the southern Gaza area of Rafah, on the Egyptian border, where the Hamas gunmen died.
Three Israelis accused of kidnapping and burning to death a Palestinian teenager have reportedly confessed and re-enacted the murder for the authorities.
The three are among six people arrested for the killing of Mohammed Abu Khdeir last week, which investigators believe was carried out as a revenge killing for the death of three Israeli teenagers.
The mother of one of those accused, however, denied his involvement, telling the Ynet website: "We're shattered and this thing is very difficult for us. My son has nothing to do with this and he will go free. This is crazy because he's only 16."
News of the reported confessions came as police struggled to contain five days of violent clashes in occupied east Jerusalem and in Arab towns across Israel that have plunged many areas into a toxic and fearful divide.
Tensions have been running high for weeks since the Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and killed in the West Bank.
Dozens of rockets have been fired at southern Israel after Hamas promised revenge for Israeli airstrikes on Gaza.
The Palestinian Islamist movement said one Israeli strike near Rafah killed five of its fighters.
But the Israeli military said the men appeared to have died after handling explosives in a tunnel that had been hit on Thursday.
Tensions have risen since a Palestinian youth was killed in apparent reprisal for the murder of three Israelis.
An Israeli official said about 20 rockets were fired in just a few minutes on Monday night, adding that four had been destroyed by the Iron Dome anti-missile system.
There was no immediate word on casualties or damage in Israel.
Hamas released a statement saying it had "fired dozens of rockets" on several towns in central and southern Israel "in response to the Zionist aggression".
Al Jazeera America
SAN DIEGO – The “Carl DeMaio for U.S. Congress” sign outside a nondescript building at the northern end of this seaside city is as flashy as it gets at DeMaio campaign headquarters.
Inside, campaign staffers quietly work the phones. The candidate’s office is void of decorations beyond several framed photos of friends, family and campaign workers displayed on a console. One picture is of DeMaio and his partner, Johnathan Hale, publisher of San Diego Gay & Lesbian News.
A similar image of the couple in a campaign ad has catapulted DeMaio, a Republican, onto the national stage. When he released a Web ad in February that featured him and Hale holding hands and waving a rainbow flag, the attention it received had less to do with DeMaio’s being openly gay than with his being hard to pigeonhole.
He is not and never has been a gay rights activist and said he can’t understand why the ad was such a big deal, since it’s traditional for candidates to show off their spouses and families.
Al Jazeera America
ROCK SPRINGS, N.M. — Her hair was still wet when she got to the hospital: dark brown locks that fell past the tips of her shoulder blades to the small of her back.
“I woke up at my normal time, 5:30, and I looked at my phone and I got this ugly feeling,” said LaTonya Johnson. “I thought I was dreaming.”The text message on her phone read: I’m in the ICU. You’re probably sleeping, but I’m here.
Staff Sgt. Lonnie Al Watts was fighting a ventilator when she got to him. His heart rate was shooting up and down. He was hot, so she cleaned his face with a cool washcloth, and when the doctors told her he would need to be transferred to Albuquerque, she prepared to be there for him.
“I prayed with him, then I kissed his head,” said Johnson. “Rubbed his head again, and said, ‘I love you, be strong, I’ll be waiting for you in Albuquerque.
’”Watts never made it
Passengers using airports that offer direct flights to the US may be forced to switch on their mobile phones and other electronic devices to prove to security officials that they do not contain explosives, it was announced on Sunday.
“During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones,” the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said in a post on its website. It warned: “Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft. The traveller may also undergo additional screening.”
The TSA did not disclose which airports would be conducting the additional screening. It was reported last week that passengers at British airports travelling to the US were facing extra checks on phones. Belgian officials said passengers there would also have devices checked.
Britain's Department for Transport (DfT) advised that the new restriction meant any electronic device with a flat battery would not be allowed on flights, the Press Association reported.
Last week the DfT said undisclosed extra measures at British airports were not expected to cause "significant disruption" to passengers and noted that the official UK threat status remained unchanged.
The nation greets the coming of July each year with fireworks on the National Mall and, days earlier, explosive decisions at the U.S. Supreme Court.
While the Mall fireworks dissipate within moments, the court's decisions will have repercussions for decades. Indeed, no sooner was the ink dry on this term's contraceptive decision than the court's three female justices accused their male colleagues of reneging.
"Those who are bound by our decisions usually believe they can take us at our word," wrote Justice Sonia Sotomayor for herself and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan. "Not so today."
The last-minute imbroglio capped a term marked by both unanimity and division. Although high-profile decisions on contraception, campaign finance rules, public prayer and union power all were decided by 5-to-4 conservative majorities, the court achieved a rare degree of unanimity in its decision-making overall.
"There is something really remarkable that happened this year at the Supreme Court," says former Obama administration acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal. "In roughly two-thirds of the cases, they agreed unanimously with one another, and you have to go back to the year 1940 to find that happening."
Supporters of legal marijuana in Washington on Monday delivered more than double the signatures needed to put the issue on a ballot, an initiative that could face congressional opposition.
Adam Eidinger, chairman of the DC Cannabis Campaign, said the group had collected about 57,000 signatures to put the measure on a Nov. 4 ballot in the U.S. capital, well over the 22,373 required by law.
"This would not open up stores. This would not lead to D.C. becoming a tourist haven," he told reporters at the District of Columbia Board of Elections.
"This is just for the citizens who live here, the residents who pay taxes, to have the right to use marijuana freely in their homes without fear of arrest, harassment or a ticket."
The measure would allow people 21 and older to possess up to 2 ounces (56 grams) of marijuana for personal use. They also could grow up to six plants at home, three of them mature and flowering.
It allows for transfer of marijuana without payment from one person to another, but not sales.
A spate of violence over Fourth of July weekend left more than a dozen people dead and scores injured in several US cities.
In Chicago, more than 80 people were shot over the extended weekend, 14 fatally, according to the Chicago Tribune, which aims to track every shooting in the city.
"It's Groundhog Day in Chicago," said Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy at a press conference on Monday, in which he called the level of violence over the weekend "unacceptable".
McCarthy said the department's strategy for combating gun violence over holiday weekends appeared to work Thursday through Saturday, but failed on Sunday when more than 20 people were shot, leaving four dead.
In the 84 hours between mid-afternoon Thursday and early Monday morning, at least 82 people were shot, the Tribune reported.
McCarthy said eight of the incidents involved police being threatened or returning fire. Two teenage boys aged 14 and 16 were shot dead by police, the Tribune reported. All incidents involving police are being independently investigated, as is standard procedure.
The city is all too familiar with the ravages of gun violence. During last year’s Fourth of July weekend, shootings in Chicago left at least 12 people dead and more than 70 injured over the four-day holiday weekend, according to local reports at the time.
The Central Intelligence Agency was involved in a spying operation against Germany that led to the alleged recruitment of a German intelligence official and has prompted renewed outrage in Berlin, two U.S. officials familiar with the matter said on Monday.
CIA Director John Brennan has asked to brief key members of the U.S. Congress on the matter, which threatens a new rupture between Washington and a close European ally, one of the officials said.
It was unclear if and when Brennan's briefing to U.S. lawmakers would take place. The CIA declined any comment on the matter.
The office of Germany's Federal Prosecutor, based in the western city of Karlsruhe, late last week issued a statement saying that a 31-year old man had been arrested on suspicion of being a foreign spy, and that investigations were continuing. The statement offered no further details.
German politicians have said that the suspect, an employee of the country's foreign intelligence service, admitted passing to an American contact details concerning a German parliamentary committee's investigation of alleged U.S. eavesdropping disclosed by Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the U.S. National Security Agency.
Iraq's new parliament postponed its next session for five weeks on Monday, extending the country's political paralysis in the face of a Sunni Islamist insurgency which claimed the life of an army general on the northwestern outskirts of Baghdad.
Citing the inability of political camps to reach "understanding and agreement" on nominations for the top three posts in government, the office of acting speaker Mehdi al-Hafidh said parliament would not meet again until Aug. 12.
Putting off the work of reaching consensus for five weeks is a slap in the face to efforts by Iraq's Shi'ite clergy - along with the United States, the United Nations and Iran - to foster an inclusive government to hold the country together.
With no signs that Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will abandon his bid for a third term, there is a risk that Iraq will fragment along ethnic and sectarian lines.
"Things are moving faster than the politicians can make decisions," a senior Shi'ite member of parliament told Reuters.
Forty-eight hours after talks to end South Africa's longest strike hit a brick wall when the mining minister suddenly pulled out, a bishop and an anti-establishment corporate lawyer engineered a deal at a secret meeting in a ritzy hotel.
The events, revealed by interviews with key players in the five-month platinum strike, expose the impotence of the bargaining structures that have underpinned labour relations since the end of white-minority rule in 1994.
They also cast a shadow over the ruling African National Congress (ANC), which admonished the minister for inviting the lawyer to the talks after he had left the ANC to be elected to parliament for the ultra-leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
The chastened minister then withdrew from the negotiations, almost scuppering an agreement between the world's three biggest platinum firms and the striking Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), which has informal ties to the EFF.
With Neymar out of Brazil's World Cup semifinal against Germany, Joachim Löw's side has one less concern going into the match. But no one on the team is happy to see one of the tournament's best sidelined.
Following their quarterfinal win against France on Friday, the German national team flew back to their base camp in Santo Andre and was in the air for Brazil's own quarterfinal tie with Colombia.
It didn't take long for the German team to get up to speed once they landed, however: Brazil were through to the semifinal, but Neymar was out.
The tournament-ending injury to one of the World Cup's stars means Germany gain a slight edge over their opponents for Tuesday's match in Belo Horizonte, but that's not how the German players pictured it would be if they face Brazil in the World Cup.
"We are all very sad that Neymar can't play," said German vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger at a press conference on Sunday. "It's always better when the big players are on the pitch."
Saudi Arabia has sentenced prominent human rights lawyer Walid abu al-Khair to 15 years in prison on charges that include seeking to undermine the state and insulting the judiciary, the state news agency reported.
The Specialised Criminal Court on Sunday also found al-Khair guilty of "inciting public opinion" and barred him from travelling outside the kingdom.
Abu al-Khair had been on trial on sedition charges that included breaking allegiance to King Abdullah and for showing disrespect for authorities.
The rights lawyer's websites were also closed down and was he was fined $53,000 for activities related to his activism.
Abu al-Khair, the founder and director of the Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, had been highly critical of a new anti-terrorism law passed by Saudi Arabia at the start of the year which was widely condemned by rights activists as a tool to stifle dissent.
The anti-terrorism law states that terrorist crimes include any act that "disturbs public order, shakes the security of society, or subjects its national unity to danger, or obstructs the primary system of rule or harms the reputation of the state".
The German government is expecting around 175,000 people to file applications for asylum this year, the highest number in two decades. Regional politicians are acting surprised, but there have been signs of this development for years now.
Last Friday, the state interior ministers of Germany's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) convened for a meeting at the stately Westin Bellevue in Dresden, with a view of the Elbe River and the baroque historic city center. But they weren't here to discuss the views -- the subject at hand was much grimmer: packed school gymnasiums, dwellings made out of shipping containers, cots and other logistical aspects of Germany's refugee crisis.
Germany may step up its counter-espionage efforts after an employee of its intelligence service was arrested on suspicion of spying for the US.
Measures being considered in response to scandal include monitoring the intelligence activities of nominal Nato allies such as America, Britain and France, as well as expelling US agents from Germany.
According to a report in Bild, the interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, has emphasised the urgent need for a "360 degree vision" of the foreign secret agency's activities. The newspaper claims to have obtained an internal document which outlines "concrete counter measures", thus moving away from a policy of not spying on Nato allies.
Asked about the new policy, a spokesperson of the German interior ministry did not deny the reports and said "an efficient and effective counter-intelligence against all sides is important, necessary, and has to be better organised than it has until now."
On Wednesday, Germany's federal prosecutor had arrested a 31-year-old employee of the German intelligence agency (BND) on suspicion of having sold secret documents to a contact at the CIA.
A 6.9-magnitude earthquake has struck southern Mexico and Guatemala.
Guatemalan firefighters said they had received reports of two people being killed in the San Marcos region. Another person died in Huixtla, Mexico.
Dozens of homes are also said to have been damaged in San Marcos.
The quake's epicentre was near the city of Puerto Madero in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, but it could be felt as far north as Mexico City and as far south as El Salvador.
The US Geological Survey said the quake had originated 60km (37 miles) below the surface, while Mexican seismologists said its depth was more than 90km.
The emergency services in Guatemala said two people died when their house collapsed on top of them in the town of San Rafael Pie de la Cuesta.
More than 60 women and girls are reported to have escaped from the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, security sources say.
They were among 68 abducted last month near the town of Damboa in north-eastern Borno state.
But some women who made it home said they feared other escapees had been recaptured, villagers told the BBC.
Boko Haram is still holding more than 200 schoolgirls abducted from Borno's Chibok town in April.
The BBC's Nigeria correspondent Will Ross says the insecurity is so rife in Borno state and the access so poor that it is not yet clear exactly how many of the young women managed to escape from Boko Haram.
'Dogs began barking'
Initial reports said the women escaped when the militants went to attack a military base near Damboa on Friday.
The Nigerian military said it killed more than 50 rebels in a clash that night.
Local vigilante Abbas Gava told journalists he had "received an alert from my colleagues... that about 63 of the abducted women and girls had made it back home"
Afghan presidential contender Abdullah Abdullah's camp rejected preliminary results of last month's run-off election on Monday as a "coup" against the people, putting him on a dangerous collision course with his rival, Ashraf Ghani.
The Independent Election Commission on Monday announced that Ghani won the June 14 second round with 56.44 percent of the vote, according to preliminary results. The tally might change when the final official numbers come out on July 22.
Abdullah's camp responded angrily, saying the result was invalid as it did not throw out all the fraudulent votes.
"We don't accept the results which were announced today and we consider this as a coup against people's votes," said Mujib Rahman Rahimi, a spokesman for Abdullah's campaign.
His rejection sets the stage for a possible bloody standoff between ethnic groups or even secession of parts of the fragile country, which is already deeply divided along tribal lines.
Super-typhoon Neoguri is approaching Japan's Okinawa islands, bringing strong winds and torrential rains.
Gusts of up to 270km per hour (160 miles per hour) are expected to slam into the southernmost subtropical island chain early Tuesday, and may reach mainland Japan by Wednesday. The storm could be one of the worst in decades, the national weather agency said.
The typhoon was located some 600km (370 miles) south of Okinawa's main island at 3am GMT on Monday, moving north/north-west at 25km (16 miles) per hour.
The meteorological agency forecast that Neoguri, whose name means raccoon in Korean, would dump up to 80mm (three inches) of rain an hour on Okinawa as it pounded the archipelago.
A growing number of Americans are buying raw milk. That's milk that has not been pasteurized to kill bacteria.
As we've reported, the legal treatment of raw milk varies state by state. In some places like California, it's sold in stores. In other states, it's outlawed entirely — although folks get around regulations by buying a "stake" in a cow so they're drinking what amounts to their own milk, or selling it as a pet food.
But this patchwork of permissions and workarounds means that, as a nation, we don't have any national standards when it comes to raw milk testing and safety.
A new group is trying to change that.
Mark McAfee is the CEO of Organic Pastures, California's largest raw milk dairy. And after frustration with the lack of national standards, he founded the Raw Milk Institute.
"People are searching for local raw milk," McAfee explains. "But when they go to the farm, or they go to the store, they really don't know what they're getting."
To create both accountability and transparency, McAfee worked with epidemiologists, biologists and other health professionals to create RAWMI's standards. Instead of just focusing on the end results, like bacteria levels, they also worked up detailed protocols for the entire process — from taking the temperature of the dishwasher used to clean the milk bottles to the distance between the water well and manure pile.
Can you hear the difference between hot and cold?
A British "sensory branding company" called Condiment Junkie wanted to know the answer. They specialize in sound design for all sorts of advertisements. Now they're taking a look at how they might use sound design to make better beverage ads. Take the sound of water pouring in this Twinings Tea commercial.
The marketers wanted to know: Would it be possible to make that noise itself more appealing? Can people hear the difference between a hot cup of tea being poured and, say, a cold beer? And is it possible to make a hot drink sound hotter or a cold drink sound more refreshing?
Stress is part of the human condition, unavoidable and even necessary to a degree. But too much stress can be toxic — even disabling.
And there's a lot of toxic stress out there.
A national poll done by NPR with our partners at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health finds that more than 1 in every 4 Americans say they had a great deal of stress in the previous month.
And half of all adults say they experienced a major stressful event in the past year. That works out to more than 115 million people.
As big as that number is, it's just the tip of the stress iceberg, says Princeton University psychologist Eldar Shafir. "Everything I know suggests that this is a pretty massive underestimate," Shafir tells Shots.
The wireless carrier is testing a cheaper version of plans offered by AT&T and Verizon Wireless, underscoring the notion that it's moving away from being simply the "unlimited data" carrier.
Sprint may be following the path of larger rivals AT&T and Verizon Wireless when it comes to its shared data plans.
The nation's third-largest wireless carrier by subscriber is holding a trial to test out the efficacy of a family data plan, according to a person familiar with the company's plan. It is also testing out discounted versions of its Framily and individual plans, CNET has learned.
The iPhone 6 may be able to last longer than the 5S on a single battery charge, at least according to new scuttlebutt.
Recent reports claim that Apple will launch two new iPhones -- one with a 4.7-inch screen, the other with a 5.5-inch display. The 4.7-inch model will reportedly see a 15 percent jump in battery performance over that of the iPhone 5S, according to AppleInsider, citing a report from Chinese tech site IT168. If true, that would be a healthy and welcome boost over the 8 percent increase from the iPhone 5 to the 5S.
Battery performance is one of the top complaints of smartphone users. How many of us run out of juice long before the day is over, requiring us to find a spot to recharge? Battery technology has improved over the years. But our smartphones now pack more and more features that can easily eat away at battery life. Finding a way to boost battery performance while keeping phones relatively slim and trim is the ultimate challenge.