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The skies over GAZA remained calm today as a long-term ceasefire took hold, ending the deadliest violence in a decade, with Israel and Hamas both claiming 'victory' in the 50-day war.

Millions in and around the war-torn enclave enjoyed a welcome night of peace during which there were no strikes on GAZA. The agreement, which went into force yesterday, saw the warring sides agree to a "permanent" ceasefire which Israel said would not be limited by time, in a move hailed by Washington, the United Nations and top world diplomats. Both Israel and the Islamist Hamas movement, hailed the ceasefire as a victory. But commentators took a more realistic perspective. "a draw" was the headline in Maariv newspaper. And experts said the two sides had agreed to halt their fire out of exhaustion after seven weeks of fighting which has claimed the lives of 2,143 Palestinians and 70 on the Israeli side. ' Under the deal, Israel will ease restrictions on the entry of goods, humanitarian aid and construction materials into GAZA, and it expanded the offshore area open to Palestinian fishermen to six nautical miles. But talks on crunch issues such as Hamas's demands for a port and an airport and the release of prisoners, as well as Israel's calls to disarm militant groups, will be delayed until the negotiators return to Cairo within the coming month. On the ground in Gaza, the streets quickly took on some semblance of normalcy with people going out shopping and heading back to work, as workers sought to repair damage to electrical power lines and the phone network. Fishermen were also out at sea after Israel expanded the fishing zone.

 

Ukraine's Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, has urged north Atlantic treaty organization to act to help his country at a summit next week.

Chairing a meeting in Kiev, Yatsenyuk said we expect our western partners and the alliance to provide practical help and take crucial decisions at the summit being held next month. Meanwhile, talks between the leaders of Russia and Ukraine apparently failed to make a major breakthrough towards ending brutal fighting in east Ukraine as the Russian President, Vladimir Putin played down the entry by his troops into the former soviet state. Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko and Putin sat down for a crunch one-on-one in Minsk after marathon talks involving top EU officials as tensions spiked after Moscow admitted for the first time that its troops had crossed into Ukraine. Poroshenko said there were some results but there seemed to be no significant compromises to help end four months of clashes between government forces and pro-Russian fighters. Poroshenko said all sides without exception agreed to a Kiev peace plan but demanded actions not words after the meeting that also included the leaders of Kazakhstan and Belarus -- pointing to an agreement for talks on border controls and between army chiefs.

 

The Islamic state of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is making as much as 2 million dollars per day by selling oil on the black market at much lower prices.

According to a senior consultant from Iraq's ministry of oil since ISIS has controlled about 60 percent of Syria's oil producing areas and a number of oil fields in Iraq, and smuggled their product to turkey and other places for huge benefits. Black market oil trade prevails in the border areas connecting Iraq, Turkey and Iran. Hussien Allawi said ISIS has set up a black market network of a considerable size in the past two months. Sometimes there could be about 210 tank trucks smuggling oil out of Iraq in a single day to fetch about 10 to 25 dollars per barrel against the normal price of 100 dollars. Despite the situation, Iraqi oil ministry spokesman said ISIS lacks technical personnel and expertise, so the producing ability of the oil fields under its control is limited. However, some experts warn that if the source of funds cannot be cut off, the group will continue to become stronger.

 

A bus collided with a truck in northwest China, killing 15 and injuring 48 others.

The bus was carrying 61 passengers veered into the opposite lane and crashed into a truck on a highway. 13 passengers aboard the bus and 2 people in the truck were killed. Six among the injured were reported in a critical condition. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

 

A major 6.9 magnitude earthquake rocked Peru early today.

The us geological survey said, the quake hit at 23:21 Gmt 42 kilometers east-northeast of Tambo at a depth of 58.9 kilometers. The epicenter of the quake was located 471 kilometers southeast of the capital Lima. The pacific tsunami warning center cautioned that earthquakes of this size "sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within 100 kilometers of the earthquake epicenter."

 
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