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  Gas Blasts Kill 24, Injure 271 In Taiwanese Port
    KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan, Aug 1: At least 24 people were killed and 271 injured when several underground gas explosions ripped through Taiwan´s second-largest city, hurling concrete and cars through the air and blasting trenches in the streets, authorities said Friday, as a search for the cause began.

The series of explosions about midnight Thursday and early Friday struck a densely populated district where several petrochemical companies operate pipelines alongside the sewer system in Kaohsiung, a southwestern port with 2.8 million people.

  US, UN Announce Deal On 72-hour Gaza Cease-fire
    JERUSALEM, Aug 1: Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire to begin Friday morning, the United Nations and United States announced, although Secretary of State John Kerry cautioned there were "no guarantees" the lull in violence would bring an end to the 24-day-old Gaza war.

The surprise announcement came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to destroy Hamas´ tunnel network "with or without a cease-fire" and as the Palestinian death toll soared past 1,400.

  Death Toll Hits 51 From Mudslide In Indian Village
    MALIN, India, Aug 1: Heavy rains hampered efforts Friday by hundreds of rescue workers digging through heavy mud and debris, as the death toll from a landslide that engulfed an entire village in western India rose to 51.

Rescuers are still looking for about 100 people missing and feared dead, after another 10 bodies were pulled out of the debris overnight.

  Blasts As Experts Reach MH17 Crash Site In Ukraine
    ROZSYPNE, Ukraine, July 31: Explosions rang out near the crash site of downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine on Thursday (31 July) as international investigators arrived for the first time in nearly a week after Kiev announced a surprise one-day halt to its offensive against rebels.

A small team of Dutch and Australian experts accompanied by international monitors reached the vast site of the doomed jet after days of fierce fighting between government forces and rebels had stopped them reaching the area. The Dutch justice ministry said the team was so far only a "reconnaissance" mission but would hopefully pave the way for more experts to visit soon.

  China Allows Foreign Reporters At News Conference
       Associated Press  
    BEIJING, July 31: Foreign reporters are being allowed to attend China´s Defense Ministry briefings for the first time, marking a small milestone in the increasingly confident Chinese military´s efforts to project a more transparent image.

Restrictions still apply and there is no sign of an improvement in the generally paltry amount and poor quality of information released by the People´s Liberation Army, the world´s largest standing military with 2.3 million members.

  More Headlines:
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  • 10 guilty in India school fire that killed 94 kids
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  • China: Ex-security czar Zhou under investigation
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  • Suicide bomber kills Afghan president's cousin
  • US: Russia violated 1987 nuclear missile treaty
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