The Israeli military said on Wednesday it would hold fire unilaterally in limited areas of the Gaza Strip for four hours from 3 p.m. (1200 GMT) for humanitarian purposes, an army statement said. Hamas described the truce as a media stunt because it only applied to some areas. "IDF (Israel Defence Forces) has authorized a temporary window in the Gaza Strip. The humanitarian window will not apply to the areas in which IDF soldiers are currently operating," the Israeli statement said.
Economists had forecast the economy growing at a 3.0 percent rate in the second quarter after a previously reported 2.9 percent contraction. A separate report showing private employers added 218,000 jobs to their payrolls last month, a decline from June's hefty gain of 281,000, did little to change perceptions the economy was strengthening. The economy grew 0.9 percent in the first half of this year and growth for 2014 as a whole could average above 2 percent. The government also published revisions to prior GDP data going back to 1999, which showed the economy performing much stronger in the second half of 2013 and for that year as a whole than previously reported.
France has evacuated nearly 50 French and British citizens from Libya by ship, French authorities said on Wednesday, amid growing lawlessness and unrest in the north African country. The French chief of staff said 40 French nationals and seven Britons were pulled out in the overnight operation and would be taken to the southern French port city of Toulon. The French ambassador was among those who left and the embassy has been temporarily closed, said foreign ministry spokesman Vincent Floreani. France had on Monday advised its nationals -- of whom less than 100 remained in Libya -- to leave the country immediately and contact the embassy for evacuation.