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Egypt sentences 7 to life for sexual assaults

Egypt court sentences 7 to life in prison for sexual assaults in public squares
Sarah El Deeb, The Associated Press

CAIRO - An Egyptian court sentenced seven men to life in prison on Wednesday for sexual assaults on women during public rallies in Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square, in the first such heavy sentences since the government vowed to crack down on rampant sexual violence.

Sexual harassment has long been a problem in Egypt, but assaults have become more frequent and brutal since the 2011 overthrow of longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak, with frenzied mobs targeting women who take part in political gatherings.

Obama: Significant gaps on Iran nuclear talks

Obama says there are still 'significant gaps' and more work to do on Iran nuclear talks
Nedra Pickler, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama said Wednesday that there are "still significant gaps" and more work to do to reach a deal to get Iran to curb its nuclear program.

Iran and six world powers have tentatively decided to adjourn their nuclear talks two days early but plan to extend them past their planned July 20 end date, diplomats said Wednesday. The diplomats demanded anonymity because they were not authorized to divulge confidential information.

EU leaders order tougher sanctions against Russia

European Union leaders order escalation of sanctions on Russia over actions in Ukraine
Raf Casert And John-Thor Dahlburg, The Associated Press

BRUSSELS - European Union leaders ordered tougher sanctions against Russia on Wednesday because of its actions in Ukraine, asking the European Investment Bank to sign no new financing agreements with Moscow.

The leaders, meeting in Brussels, also agreed to act together to suspend financing of the new European Bank for Reconstruction and Development operations in Russia.

Rock vs. Chris Christie ends with (video) takedown

Rock vs. Christie ends with takedown after lawyers ask governor to remove action star
The Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. - Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has body-slammed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's humorous attempt to sell a pension-reform plan.

Christie's office removed a trailer that it posted to YouTube for a mock summer blockbuster titled "No Pain. No Gain."

The video originally included a shot of the Hollywood action star and former professional wrestler. A new version without Johnson was posted on Wednesday.

UN calls on Israel to agree to humanitarian pause

UN calls on Israel to agree to a 'unilateral humanitarian pause' for aid delivery to Gaza
Edith M. Lederer, The Associated Press

The United Nations is calling for Israel to agree to "a unilateral humanitarian pause" so that aid can be delivered to people in need of food, water and other necessities in Gaza.

U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Robert Serry, the U.N. special co-ordinator for the Middle East peace process, made the appeal after talks with Israel's Coordination Office for Government Affairs in the (Palestinian) Territories.

If Israel agrees to a "humanitarian pause," Haq said, Serry "would then urge the parties in Gaza to respect that pause."

Swedish court upholds detention order on Assange

Swedish court upholds detention order on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
Karl Ritter, The Associated Press

STOCKHOLM - A Swedish court on Wednesday upheld its detention order on Julian Assange, reaffirming the legal basis for an international warrant for the WikiLeaks founder which has kept him hiding in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for two years.

One of Assange's defence lawyers, Per Samuelson, said they would study the judge's decision in detail and then "write a juicy, toxic appeal" to a higher court.

Latest Fed survey sees improved economy

Fed survey: US economy expanding in all regions of country, helped by consumer spending
Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The economy kept expanding in all regions of the country in June and early July, helped by strength in consumer spending, a Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday indicates.

All 12 of the Fed's regions reported growth with five — New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Dallas and San Francisco — characterizing growth as "moderate" while the others reported "modest" growth. Boston and Richmond reported that growth came in at a slightly slower pace than the previous reporting period.

Court: Dutch liable for 300 Srebrenica deaths

Court: Dutch liable for 300 Srebrenica massacre deaths in 1995, but not for thousands more
Mike Corder, The Associated Press

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - A court on Wednesday ordered the Netherlands to compensate the families of more than 300 Bosnian Muslims killed after Dutch troops handed them over to Bosnian Serb forces in 1995, in a ruling that could make countries more leery to contribute troops to peacekeeping missions.

89 killed in worst Afghanistan bombing since 2001

89 killed in suicide blast in Afghanistan, deadliest attack on civilians since 2001
Rahim Faiez, The Associated Press

KABUL - A suicide bomber blew up a car packed with explosives near a busy market and a mosque in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing at least 89 people in the deadliest insurgent attack on civilians since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.

Police ticket boy after toy motorcycle hits SUV

Mexico police ticket 6-year-old boy, impound his toy motorcycle after crash with SUV
The Associated Press

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico - Police in this border city repented Thursday over ticketing a 6-year-old boy for reckless driving, driving without a license and not having his vehicle registered after he drove his miniature motorcycle into an SUV.

The boy's mother, Karla Noriega, said police impounded the miniature gasoline-powered motorbike that her son got for Christmas after he crashed into an SUV on Dec. 27.

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