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Two explosions heard in Egypt’s Rafah, near Gaza border: witnesses

ISMAILIA, Egypt (Reuters) – Two explosions were heard in the Egyptian town of Rafah, which borders the Gaza Strip, on Wednesday, security sources and witnesses said. The cause of the blasts was not immediately clear. The Egyptian army and Islamist militants have been embroiled in fighting for hours on Wednesday in North Sinai, after the militants attacked military checkpoints leaving 50 people dead. (Reporting by Yusri Mohamed; Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
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UK family of 12, with baby and grandparents, believed to have gone to Syria

A British family of 12, including a baby and two grandparents one aged 75, are believed to have gone to Syria after the family reported them missing, police said on Wednesday. The family, from Luton in Bedfordshire, central England, have not been seen since mid-May when they failed to return home after a holiday in Bangladesh. “There is a suggestion that the family may have gone to Syria, however police have so far been unable to corroborate that information,” Bedfordshire Police said in a statement.
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Volkswagen says U.S. brand sales up 5.6 percent in June on Golf demand

BERLIN (Reuters) – Volkswagen said on Wednesday sales of its core brand in the United States rose 5.6 percent in June, powered by demand for the Golf compact model.
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Islamic State attack in Egypt’s North Sinai kills 50

Egyptian flags flutter in Egypt's North SinaiBy Yusri Mohamed and Ahmed Hassan ISMAILIA, Egypt/CAIRO (Reuters) – Islamic State militants launched a wide-scale coordinated assault on several military checkpoints in Egypt's North Sinai on Wednesday in which 50 people were killed, security sources said, the largest attack yet in the insurgency-hit province. The onslaught marked a significant escalation in violence in the Sinai Peninsula, located between Israel, the Gaza Strip and the Suez Canal, and raised questions about the government's ability to contain an insurgency that has already killed hundreds of police and soldiers. It was the second high-profile attack in Egypt this week.



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Britain to decide on new Heathrow runway by end of year

An aircraft takes off from Heathrow airport in LondonBy Sarah Young LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will make a final decision on a 23 billion pound ($36 billion) plan for a third runway at Heathrow Airport by the end of the year, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday, setting the stage for a political battle over the issue. Few disagree that London needs a new runway to remain economically competitive, but its location has been disputed for over 25 years and the proposal to expand Britain's busiest airport has stoked tensions in the ruling Conservative party. Cameron set the deadline after a government-appointed commission selected Heathrow, in densely populated west London, as the preferred location for expansion, following a three-year study.



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German frustration with Greece bubbles over in feisty Bundestag debate

One by one, leading figures in the German government made their way to the podium in the sun-drenched chamber of the Bundestag on Wednesday and accused Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of betraying his own people. A day after Greece became the first advanced country to default to the International Monetary Fund, frustration in Berlin bubbled over, with politicians openly questioning whether they could negotiate in good faith with Tsipras if he survives a Greek referendum he has called for Sunday. Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, whose tough line in aid talks with Athens has turned him into a hate-figure in Greece, had the harshest words for the Tsipras government, accusing it of dramatically worsening the situation in the country, and saying repeatedly “I feel sorry for the Greeks”.
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Defiant Greek PM calls on Greeks to vote ‘no’ in referendum

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called on Greeks to vote ‘no’ in Sunday’s referendum on a bailout package offered by creditors, in a defiant address that dispelled speculation he was rowing back on the plan under mounting pressure. In a televised address to the nation, Tsipras told Greeks a ‘no’ vote was not tantamount to a rejection of Europe or the euro, but would instead step up pressure on creditors to give the country an economically viable agreement and lead Greece back to international markets. “Sunday’s referendum does not concern our country’s place in the euro, this is a given and no one can doubt it,” said Tsipras, who has come under pressure after being forced to shut banks following the move to call a referendum.
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Kraft shareholders approve sale of company to Heinz

FILE - This March 2, 2011, file photo, shows containers of Heinz ketchup on the shelf of a market, in Barre, Vt. Kraft shareholders have approved the sale of the company to ketchup maker H.J. Heinz, creating one of the world's largest food companies with annual revenue of about $28 billion. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)NORTHFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Kraft shareholders have approved the sale of the company to ketchup maker H.J. Heinz, creating one of the world's largest food companies with annual revenue of about $28 billion.



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Islamic State weaves web of support in Gulf Arab states

Police cordon off the Imam Sadiq Mosque after a bomb explosion following Friday prayers, in the Al Sawaber area of Kuwait CityBy Angus McDowall and William Maclean KUWAIT/DUBAI (Reuters) – When a Saudi Arabian man flew to Kuwait in the early hours of Friday to carry out the country's worst militant attack, a bomb vest, Kuwaiti-style Arab robes, a place to prepare, and a car and driver to take him to his target were all lined up for him. The vest had been ferried across from Saudi Arabia a few days before in a complex operation suggesting Islamic State now commands a capable network of militants, propagandists and sympathizers on the Arabian peninsula, a security source said.Among those Fahd Suliman Abdul-Muhsen al-Qabaa contacted when his overnight flight via Bahrain landed, one had a family tie to Islamic State and another links to al Qaeda attacks in Kuwait a decade earlier, a security source and Kuwaiti media have reported.



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US, Cuba reach agreement to open embassies

FILE - In this Jan. 19, 2015 file photo, a Cuban and American flag wave from the balcony of the Hotel Saratoga in Havana. President Barack Obama will announce July 1 that the U.S. and Cuba have reached an agreement to open embassies in Havana and Washington, a senior administration official said. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and Cuba have agreed to open embassies in each other's capitals, the biggest tangible step in the countries' historic bid to restore ties after more than a half-century of hostilities.



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The Latest: Tsipras vows to push on with referendum

A woman passes a banner supporting the NO vote to the upcoming referendum at the Finance Ministry in Athens, Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Greece's government appeared to be caving into demands from its creditors on Wednesday, offering concessions in a desperate attempt to get more aid hours after its bailout program expired. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The latest news on Greece's financial woes (all times local):



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Trade schools have to find grads jobs, or lose financial aid

FILE - This July 8, 2014 file photo shows an Everest Institute sign on an office building in Silver Spring, Md. In the two decades since trade schools started popping up on U.S. stock exchanges to maximize profits, allegations of misconduct have been rampant. On July 1, 2015, new rules go into effect for any school with a career-training program. The Education Department estimates it loaned some $3.6 billion in the past five years to Corinthian students before the government forced it to sell or close its campuses. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Exotic dancers hired as admissions counselors. Recruiters told to seek out "impatient" individuals who have "few people in their lives who care about them." Military personnel still recovering from brain damage told to sign on the dotted line.



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Billionaire Saudi prince vows to donate $32 billion fortune

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world’s richest people, has announced he will donate all of his wealth to charity over the coming years.
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Macy’s dumps Donald Trump

Macy’s is pulling Donald Trump brand merchandise from its stores after the Republican presidential candidate’s recent controversial remarks created a public uproar.


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Greek prime minister assures voters bank deposits still in Greece will not be lost.

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek prime minister assures voters bank deposits still in Greece will not be lost.
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U.S. private payrolls rise solidly; factory activity picks up

Auto assembly line robots weld on the frame of 2009 Dodge Ram pick-up trucks at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Warren, Michigan"The current robust pace of job growth is double that needed to absorb the growth in the working age population." The report, which is jointly developed with Moody's Analytics, came ahead of the government's more comprehensive employment report on Thursday. According to a Reuters survey of economists, nonfarm payrolls likely increased 230,000 jobs in June after a robust 280,000 gain in May. The unemployment rate was forecast dipping one-tenth of a percentage point back to a seven-year low of 5.4 percent.



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Girl Scouts reject $100K gift

Girl Scouts in Seattle returned a donation that came with a discriminatory stipulation: No transgendered scouts. CNN affiliate KIRO reports.


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The Latest: Explosions on Egypt side of Gaza border

Smoke rises following an explosion in Egypt's northern Sinai Peninsula, as seen from the Israel-Egypt border, near Kerem Shalom town, southern Israel, Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Islamic militants on Wednesday unleashed a wave of simultaneous attacks, including suicide car bombings, on Egyptian army checkpoints in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula, killing tens of soldiers, security and military officials said. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)CAIRO (AP) — The latest news on the coordinated militant attacks in Egypt's restive northern Sinai Peninsula that killed 50 soldiers (all times local):



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Egypt security forces kill nine "armed men" in Cairo suburb: security sources

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptian security forces stormed an apartment in the western Cairo suburb of ’6th of October’ and killed nine men whom they said were armed, security sources said. The sources said authorities had received information the group was planning to carry out an attack. Among those dead was Nasser al-Hafi, a prominent lawyer for the Muslim Brotherhood and a former lawmaker. (Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Toby Chopra)
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U.S., Cuba restoring diplomatic ties after 54 years

DeLaurentis talks to Medina in HavanaBy Daniel Trotta and Matt Spetalnick HAVANA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama affirmed to Cuban President Raul Castro their decision to restore diplomatic relations and said the former Cold War enemies could reopen embassies in each other's capitals beginning July 20, the Caribbean country said on Wednesday. Cuba's foreign ministry cited a letter, which Obama addressed to Castro, that it received from the senior U.S. diplomat in Havana.



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US manufacturing growth improves in June; hiring jumps

In this photo taken June 11, 2015, machinist Angel Altamirano, 32, of River Rouge, grinds a guardrail for a staircase in Detroit. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, issues its index of manufacturing activity for June on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. (Todd McInturf /The Detroit News via AP) DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUTWASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturing growth improved in June, helped by a jump in employment.



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Emails show top officials aware of Clinton’s private address

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 2014, then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Senior Obama administration officials, including the White House chief of staff, knew as early as 2009 that Hillary Rodham Clinton was using a private email address for her government correspondence, according to some 3,000 pages of correspondence released by the State Department late Tuesday night, June 20, 2015. But it's unclear whether the officials realized Clinton, now the leading Democratic presidential candidate, was running her email from a server located in her home in Chappaqua, N.Y., a potential security risk and violation of administration policy. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Senior Obama administration officials, including the White House chief of staff, knew as early as 2009 that Hillary Rodham Clinton was using a private email address for her government correspondence, according to some 3,000 pages of correspondence released by the State Department late Tuesday night



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Poll: Bush, Trump rise nationally

With nearly all of the expected 2016 presidential candidates formally in the race, a new CNN/ORC national poll finds two recent entrants to the GOP field on the rise, while Hillary Clinton maintains her position atop the Democratic field, though holding a slightly slimmer lead.


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The Latest: Sharapova moves into 3rd round at Wimbledon

Maria Sharapova of Russia returns a shot to Richel Hogenkamp of the Netherlands, during their singles match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, Wednesday July 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)LONDON (AP) — The Latest from Wimbledon (all times local):



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US construction spending rises 0.8 percent in May

FILE - In this June 18, 2015, file photo, construction workers secure a steel apparatus to a crane that will be used on the roof of the Oculus structure at the World Trade Center transportation hub, in New York. The Commerce Department reports on U.S. construction spending in May on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. construction spending posted a solid gain in May, pushing total activity to the highest point since the fall of 2008, with the strength led by a big jump in non-residential projects.



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Jim Caviezel to receive award from Jimmy Stewart Museum

INDIANA, Pa. (AP) — Jim Caviezel is being honored by a Pennsylvania museum dedicated to actor Jimmy Stewart.
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Tunisia identifies hotel attack victims, 30 British: official

An ambulance carrying British tourists, who were wounded during the Imperial Marhaba hotel attack by a gunman, arrive to board the Royal Air Force (RAF) jet at Monastir airport, TunisiaThirty Britons and 8 other foreigners were killed in the Tunisian hotel attack last Friday when a gunman opened fire on holidaymakers, Tunisia's health ministry said on Wednesday completing last formal identification. The massacre at the Sousse resort, claimed by Islamic State militants, was the worst such attack in Tunisia's modern history, delivering a serious blow to the North African country's vital tourist industry. The health ministry said all 38 victims had been formally identified, including the 30 Britons, three Irish citizens, two Germans, one Belgian, one Portuguese and one Russian national.



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Indonesian plane crash toll rises to 142

Soldiers search the wreckage of an Indonesian Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft a day after it crashed in a residential area of Medan, in northern Sumatra province on July 1, 2015The number of people killed when an Indonesian air force plane crashed into a residential neighbourhood rose to 142 on Wednesday, as families said their relatives had paid to be on the aircraft, in violation of military rules. The recovery operation officially ended late Wednesday with all the parts of the plane cleared from the site, air force chief Agus Supriatna said. A small group of military personnel would remain in the area to check for more bodies, he added.



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