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US President Barack Obama spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and stressed the need for an immediate and sustainable ceasefire in the raging Gaza conflict.

Both the Israelis and Hamas exchanged strike and counter-strike as world leaders pushed for an elusive ceasefire. In a statement, the white house said President Obama "made clear the strategic imperative of instituting an immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire that immediately ends hostilities and leads to a permanent cessation of hostilities based on the November 2012 ceasefire agreement" brokered by Egypt. Israeli media meanwhile said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet was holding a meeting extending from last evening into the early hours i the morning today to discuss the next steps in Gaza. On the other hand Saudi King Abdullah bin abdulaziz al-Saud met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the royal palace. During the meeting, the two leaders discussed the current situation in the Gaza strip. Over 1050 Palestinians, mainly civilians and including many children, have been killed in the 20-day conflict. Fighting renewed as Israel pounded Gaza with aerial, naval and artillery bombardments after a night of rocket fire from Hamas. The two sides had observed a 12-hour humanitarian pause on Saturday, giving Gaza medics a chance to pull bodies from rubble they had not been able to reach under fire. Hamas call for another ceasefire were ignored by Israelis, as world leaders pushed for a permanent cessation of hostilities. Neither side has agreed to the truce demands of the other. Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was engaged in a round of telephone diplomacy late last evening to rally support and humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza. He spoke with un secretary general Ban ki-Moon, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and regional leaders, stressing that the priority was to get food and medical aid into areas worst hit by Israel's military offensive. Meanwhile Obama's Secretary of State John Kerry was still working for Israel and Hamas to agree to further halts in the bloodshed ahead of hoped for Egypt-led peace talks. Israel rejected a Kerry-proposed ceasefire earlier in the week, and Hamas has resisted truce efforts by Cairo.

 

Fierce fighting in eastern Ukraine where a Malaysian airliner was downed further complicated an investigation as Europe and the United States prepared economic sanctions on Russia over the conflict.

International monitors say the fighting itself could affect the crash site, underlining the growing complexity of trying to establish who shot down Malaysia airlines flight mh17. Deputy head for the organization for security and cooperation in Europe's monitoring mission in Ukraine, said monitors would not visit the site on Sunday. An Osce spokesman said the group would try again today. The Ukrainian rebels are still in control of the area where the plane was shot down earlier this month but fighting in the wider eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk has been heavy as Ukrainian government forces try to drive them out. New York democratic senator chuck Schumer and New York democratic representative Steve Israel made a call to outfit commercial jets with missile defense systems. Their proposal comes after a Malaysian airliner crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17th killing all 298 people aboard. Democratic representative Israel, however, acknowledged concerns surrounding such an initiative. Meanwhile, international monitors said the fighting in Ukraine could affect the crash site, underlining the growing complexity of trying to establish who shot down Malaysia airlines flight mh17. Anti-Missle defense systems could cost as much a two million dollars to outfit each plane.

 

North Korea commemorated the 61st anniversary of the end of the Korean war, with a huge fireworks display, lighting up the skies over Pyongyang.

The north's state-run television, KRT, showed North Koreans gathering to watch the display. The Korean war started on June 25, 1950, when 90,000 communist North Korean troops launched a surprise attack on South Korea. During the war, the United States rallied the United Nations to send troops to counter the north's invasion of the south backed by soviet forces. The allies nearly destroyed Kim il-Sung's army, until china intervened to reverse the charge. On July 27, 1953, the commanders of North Korea, china and the United States signed the armistice, setting up a 240-kilometre border across the peninsula that is the world's most heavily guarded frontier. North and South Korea are still technically at war, since the 1950-53 war ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. South Koreans and war veterans also attended a ceremony marking the 61st anniversary of the end of the Korean war that led to the armistice treaty. At the event, South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won vowed a strong military for the country. Earlier in the day, the united nations command in South Korea also marked the armistice anniversary in the truce village of Panmunjom.

 

A wildfire forced the evacuation of more than 500 homes and about 1,200 residents in a rural area east of the California state capital Sacramento, a day after the blaze broke out.

The wind-swept fire burned more than 3,000 acres, destroying five residences and two outbuildings. The fire is centered about 8 kilometers north of the town of Plymouth and 30 miles east of Sacramento in north central California and it covers parts of Amador and el dorado counties. About 250 homes were ordered evacuated on Saturday afternoon, bringing the total number to 515 since the blaze erupted on Friday. More than 50 fire engines were on the scene of the fire, the cause of which is still under investigation.

 

Three simultaneous suicide car bomb attacks by Al-Qaeda on army posts in Southern Yemen and clashes that followed killed two soldiers and 10 militants.

Dozens of militants had taken part in the dawn attacks that aimed to capture three army posts in Mahfad, in the province of Abyan. The military official said two of the car bombs exploded before reaching their targets, while a third went off at the gate of a base.

 
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