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[July 31, 2014]
AP Top News at 6:46 p.m. EDT
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Dow plunges as multiple worries vex investorsNEW YORK (AP) — For stock investors, the red flags were everywhere on Thursday. There were weak corporate results, the looming end of stimulus from the Federal Reserve and tensions between the West and Russia. On top of that, some investors feared that stocks have become too pricey after three years without a significant downturn.
Facebook's Internet.org expands in ZambiaNEW YORK (AP) — Facebook's Internet.org project is taking another step toward its goal of bringing the Internet to people who are not yet online, launching an app Thursday in Zambia. The Internet.org app will give subscribers of Zambia's Airtel phone company access to a set of basic Internet services for free. Users of the app won't incur the data charges that can be prohibitive for many people in developing nations. Facebook has already been working with mobile operators around the world to offer its own service free of charge to phone subscribers — think of it as a gateway to the rest of the Internet.
US, UN announce deal on 72-hour Gaza cease-fireJERUSALEM (AP) — Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire beginning Friday, during which time there will be negotiations on a more durable truce in the 24-day-old Gaza war, the United States and United Nations announced Thursday. The 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. There was no immediate Israeli comment on the announcement.
CIA spied on Senate, internal review findsWASHINGTON (AP) — The CIA's insistence that it did not spy on its Senate overseers collapsed Thursday with the release of a stark report by the agency's internal watchdog documenting improper computer surveillance and obstructionist behavior by CIA officers. Five agency employees — two lawyers and three computer specialists— improperly accessed Senate intelligence committee computers earlier this year in a dispute over interrogation documents, according to a summary of a CIA inspector general report describing the results of an internal investigation. Then, despite CIA Director John Brennan ordering a halt to that operation, the CIA's office of security began an unauthorized investigation that led it to review the emails of Senate staffers and search them for key words.
Default fuels uncertainty, stock drop in ArgentinaBUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Stocks fell sharply in Argentina on Thursday as the country entered into economic uncertainty with its second default in 13 years, one forced upon it by New York hedge funds with the backing of U.S. courts. The Merval stock index closed down more than 8 percent a day after Argentina walked away from talks in New York, where a court-appointed mediator led negotiations with U.S. hedge funds demanding some $1.5 billion.
Abbas seeks broad support for war crimes chargesGAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Nearly a month into Israel's fierce assault on Hamas in Gaza, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is facing mounting domestic pressure to seek war crimes charges against Israel at the International Criminal Court. He has hesitated in the past because such a move would instantly put the Palestinians on a risky collision course with Israel. But with about 1,400 Palestinians killed in Gaza, according to health officials, Abbas has signaled he might move ahead — cautiously.
Congress races to finish VA, highway billsWASHINGTON (AP) — Congress ran full-tilt into election-year gridlock over immigration Thursday and staggered toward a five-week summer break with no agreement in sight on legislation to cope with the influx of young immigrants flocking illegally to the United States. Prospects were considerably brighter for bipartisan measures to improve veterans' health care and prevent a cutoff in highway construction aid. Officials said both bills appeared likely to clear Congress by day's end, and that legislation to send Israel funds for its missile defense system might also pass.
Investigators reach Ukraine jet wreckage siteROZSYPNE, Ukraine (AP) — As mortar fire landed nearby, an international team of investigators finally reached the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 wreckage site Thursday and got their first look at a scene experts fear has been badly compromised in the two weeks since the plane was blown out of the sky. For the families of the 298 victims, it was an important start in locating and recovering bodies still out in the open and building a case against those who perpetrated the tragedy.
Gas explosions kill 15, injure 228 in TaiwanTAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan's National Fire Agency says 15 people were killed and 228 were injured a series of gas leak explosions in a southwestern city. The fire agency says five firefighters are among the dead.
W. Africa Ebola outbreak tops 700 deathsFREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — The death toll from the worst recorded Ebola outbreak in history surpassed 700 in West Africa as security forces went house-to-house in Sierra Leone's capital Thursday looking for patients and others exposed to the disease. Fears grew as the United States warned against travel to the three infected countries — Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia — and Sierra Leone's soccer team was blocked from boarding a plane in Nairobi, Kenya, that was to take them to the Seychelles for a game on Saturday. Airport authorities in Kenya said Seychelles immigration told them to prevent the team from traveling.
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