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JERUSALEM (AP) — Offering the first glimmer of hope for a Gaza cease-fire, the United States on Wednesday said negotiations to broker a truce between Israel and Hamas militants are making some progress even if an end to more than two weeks of bloodshed is nowhere near.
By David Milliken and William Schomberg LONDON (Reuters) - Bank of England officials discussed in July whether there was a case for an early rate rise to cool Britain's economy, but were held back in part by strikingly low wage growth and signs of weakness abroad. The nine members of the Monetary Policy Committee were unanimous when they voted to keep interest rates on hold at their July 9-10 meeting, as forecast by a Reuters poll. Sterling fell and British government bonds underperformed German debt after the release of the minutes, which offered little to bolster expectations among many in the market that a rate rise will come later this year. The Bank also said there were signs, most clearly in the housing market, that Britain's growth - which has been the fastest among the world's big rich economies - would slow a bit in the second half of 2014.
By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Crispian Balmer GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli forces pounded Gaza on Wednesday, meeting stiff resistance from Hamas Islamists and sending thousands of residents fleeing, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on a visit to Israel ceasefire talks had made some progress. In a blow to Israel's economy and a public relations coup for Hamas, U.S. and European air carriers halted flights to the Jewish state citing concern over a militant rocket from Gaza that hit a house near Ben Gurion airport. Israel urged a re-think, saying its air space was safe. Adding to pressure on Israel, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on Wednesday there was "a strong possibility" that it was committing war crimes in Gaza, where 645 Palestinians have died in the fighting, mostly civilians.