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Today in History

Today is Thursday, July 24, the 205th day of 2014. There are 160 days left in the year.

Alaska tourist train derails, injuring 9 slightly

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A popular tourist train derailed Wednesday in southeast Alaska, and nine people suffered non-life-threatening injuries, officials said.

Some lethal injection problems in US executions

The Arizona state prison is shown where the nearly two hour execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood took place on Wednesday, July 23, 2014, in Florence, Ariz. Wood was convicted in the 1989 shooting deaths of Debbie Dietz, 29, and Gene Dietz, 55, at an auto repair shop in Tucson. (AP Photo) Since Texas became the first state to use lethal injection as its execution method on Dec. 7, 1982, some problems have been reported during the process nationwide. Those include delays in finding suitable veins, needles becoming clogged or disengaged, and reactions from inmates who appeared to be under stress. Some examples:


Jailed Venezuelan opposition leader goes on trial

Supporters placed life-size cardboard cutouts of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez outside the Justice Palace as the trial against Lopez for inciting violence at anti-government protests began, in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. Lopez is the head of the Popular Will party. Before turning himself in to authorities in February, he had been spearheading a movement to force President Nicolas Maduro's resignation. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano) CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A top leader of the anti-government protests that wracked Venezuela for months this spring is getting his day in court.


AccuWeather: A Few Storms, Then More Comfy!

AccuWeather: A Few Storms, Then More Comfy! Meteorologist Adam Joseph says the drenching storms for some will bring dropping humidity for all.


Kerry says 'some progress' in Gaza truce efforts

An Israeli tank fires a 155mm shell towards targets in the Gaza Strip from a position near Israel's border with the Palestinian enclave on July 23, 2014 Washington's top diplomat said global efforts to end 17 days of bloodshed in Gaza were progressing as the Palestinian death toll rose to 718 Thursday and airlines kept flights to Israel suspended over rocket fears. The Islamist Hamas movement rejected any truce without the lifting of Israel's eight-year blockade on Gaza. "We will not accept any initiative that does not lift the blockade on our people and that does not respect their sacrifices," Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said. Hamas hailed the suspension of Tel Aviv flights by many world airlines as a "great victory."


Kerry says 'some progress' in Gaza truce efforts

An Israeli tank fires a 155mm shell towards targets in the Gaza Strip from a position near Israel's border with the Palestinian enclave on July 23, 2014 Washington's top diplomat said global efforts to end 17 days of bloodshed in Gaza were progressing as the Palestinian death toll rose to 718 Thursday and airlines kept flights to Israel suspended over rocket fears. The Islamist Hamas movement rejected any truce without the lifting of Israel's eight-year blockade on Gaza. "We will not accept any initiative that does not lift the blockade on our people and that does not respect their sacrifices," Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said. Hamas hailed the suspension of Tel Aviv flights by many world airlines as a "great victory."


China manufacturing index jumps to 18-month high: HSBC

The HSBC preliminary purchasing managers index (PMI), which tracks activity in China's factories and workshops, leapt to 52.0 this month, its highest since January 2013 A key measure of Chinese manufacturing activity hit an 18-month high in July, HSBC said Thursday, in a further sign the world's second-largest economy is gaining momentum on the back of Beijing's mini-stimulus. The HSBC preliminary purchasing managers index (PMI), which tracks activity in China's factories and workshops, leapt to 52.0 this month, its highest since January 2013, according to the British banking giant. "Economic activity continues to improve in July, suggesting that the cumulative impact of mini-stimulus measures introduced earlier is still filtering through," HSBC economist Qu Hongbin said in a statement accompanying the data. The figures are compiled by financial information services provider Markit and released by HSBC.


China manufacturing index jumps to 18-month high: HSBC

The HSBC preliminary purchasing managers index (PMI), which tracks activity in China's factories and workshops, leapt to 52.0 this month, its highest since January 2013 A key measure of Chinese manufacturing activity hit an 18-month high in July, HSBC said Thursday, in a further sign the world's second-largest economy is gaining momentum on the back of Beijing's mini-stimulus. The HSBC preliminary purchasing managers index (PMI), which tracks activity in China's factories and workshops, leapt to 52.0 this month, its highest since January 2013, according to the British banking giant. "Economic activity continues to improve in July, suggesting that the cumulative impact of mini-stimulus measures introduced earlier is still filtering through," HSBC economist Qu Hongbin said in a statement accompanying the data. The figures are compiled by financial information services provider Markit and released by HSBC.


AP reporter's account of Arizona execution

The Arizona state prison where the nearly two hour execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood took place on Wednesday, July 23, 2014, is photographed in Florence, Ariz. Wood was convicted in the 1989 shooting deaths of Debbie Dietz, 29, and Gene Dietz, 55, at an auto repair shop in Tucson. (AP Photo) FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) — Joseph Rudolph Wood looked around the death chamber and glanced at the doctors as they made preparations for his execution, locating the proper veins and inserting two lines into his arms.


Brumbies name unchanged side for Super Rugby semi

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The ACT Brumbies have named the same team that beat the defending champion Chiefs last weekend for Saturday's Super Rugby semifinal against the New South Wales Waratahs.

Top Asian News at 3:30 a.m. GMT

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Family members of victims of a plane crash were flying Thursday to the small Taiwanese island where the plane had unsuccessfully attempted to land in stormy weather, killing 48 people. There were 10 survivors. The ATR-72 operated by Taiwan's TransAsia Airways was carrying 58 passengers and crew when it crashed into a residential neighborhood on Penghu in the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and China late Wednesday, authorities said. The plane was on a flight from the city of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan.

Opposing rallies at Love Park call for peace

Opposing rallies at Love Park call for peace Here in Philadelphia, as in many parts of the world, people are concerned about the escalating conflict in the Middle East. And there are strong opinions on both sides.


China probes 581 firms, restaurants as food safety scare spreads

A security personnel stands guard in front of an OSI's food processing plants in Langfang China's food regulator has visited close to 600 restaurants, businesses and food distributors as it investigates a fast-spreading food safety scare that has dragged in a number of global brands and hit food outlets as far away as Japan. Shanghai police detained five people on Wednesday, including the head and the quality chief of Shanghai Husi Food, a Chinese-based supplier to foreign fast-food brands including KFC, McDonald's Corp and coffee chain Starbucks Corp over allegations it supplied out-of-date meat. Shanghai Husi Food is owned by Illinois-based OSI Group.


U.S. judge strikes down Colorado's gay marriage ban, stays ruling

Two men, both wearing signs that read "he's the groom", hold hands shortly after midnight after getting a civil union when Colorado's civil union law went into effect in Denver By Daniel Wallis DENVER (Reuters) - A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that Colorado's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, but stayed his ruling until the issue is decided by a higher court. U.S. District Judge Raymond Moore found in favor of six same-sex couples who filed a lawsuit challenging the state's 2006 constitutional amendment that defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Moore's 12-page ruling was the latest in a series of decisions by state and federal judges who have struck down state bans on gay marriage and then put their rulings on hold pending appeal. Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said he was gratified the judge agreed that additional litigation in that court would be wasteful, since the U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to hear an appeal in neighboring Utah's case.


Mother, daughter severely burned in food truck explosion die from injuries

Mother, daughter severely burned in food truck explosion die from injuries Action News has learned a mother and daughter injured during a food truck explosion in the Feltonville section of Philadelphia earlier this month have died.


Death, displacement mar Eid in Sudan's Darfur

A child walking with her mother to their shelter in a new settlement in Zam Zam camp, North Darfur on June 11, 2014 Shafia Abdullah's Sudanese family is consumed with thoughts of vengeance after militia shot him dead during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, ending his advocacy for Darfur's displaced people. Abdullah's murder is only one among many in Darfur's years of war but it symbolises what residents say is a worsening security situation, leaving little to celebrate as the Eid al-Fitr festival approaches next week. Abdullah, 35, lived in Central Darfur's Hassa Issa camp for the displaced and was gunned down on July 5, a relative said. Violence throughout Darfur has been as bad this year as it was then.


Death, displacement mar Eid in Sudan's Darfur

A child walking with her mother to their shelter in a new settlement in Zam Zam camp, North Darfur on June 11, 2014 Shafia Abdullah's Sudanese family is consumed with thoughts of vengeance after militia shot him dead during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, ending his advocacy for Darfur's displaced people. Abdullah's murder is only one among many in Darfur's years of war but it symbolises what residents say is a worsening security situation, leaving little to celebrate as the Eid al-Fitr festival approaches next week. Abdullah, 35, lived in Central Darfur's Hassa Issa camp for the displaced and was gunned down on July 5, a relative said. Violence throughout Darfur has been as bad this year as it was then.


Funeral held for man who died in NY police custody

Funeral services are held for Eric Garner at Bethel Baptist Church in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. An overflow crowd packed a church for the funeral of the man who died in police custody after an officer placed him in an apparent chokehold. (AP Photo/New York Daily News, Julia Xanthos, Pool) NEW YORK (AP) — An overflow crowd packed a church and sang songs on Wednesday at the funeral of a man who died in police custody after an officer placed him in an apparent chokehold.


Aussie swimmers look to open Commonwealth Games in style

Australia's Emma McKeon at the FINA World Championships at Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona on August 1, 2013 Australia's powerhouse swimmers are expected to stamp their authority on the Commonwealth Games from the start on Thursday and help erase the misery of their 2012 London Olympics flop. Australian swimmers won just one gold at the Olympics with their campaign plagued by accusations of bullying, wild partying and misuse of prescription drugs. Over six days of competition at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre, Australia will be hopeful of retaining the women's 4x100m freestyle relay, whilst the Aussie trio of Emma Mckeon, Bronte Barrat and Brittany Elmslie will battle for gold in the women's 200m freestyle. Michael Jamieson and Hannah Miley will try to get the Games off to a flying start for hosts Scotland as they go for gold in the men's 200m breaststroke and women's 400m individual medley respectively.


Storms knock out power for thousands

Storms knock out power for thousands A line of strong and noisy storms made its way through the region Wednesday night.


South Korea unveils stimulus after ferry sinking

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's government unveiled stimulus plans Thursday after the shock of a deadly ferry sinking slowed economic growth to the lowest level in three quarters.

Preachers rail at police in funeral for NYC man who died in custody

Ellisha Flagg, sister of Eric Garner, arrives to attend his funeral in New York By Jonathan Allen NEW YORK (Reuters) - Preacher after preacher stepped up to the pulpit at a sweltering Brooklyn church on Wednesday to express fury at the city's police force during the funeral of Eric Garner, who died soon after police put him in a banned chokehold. As hundreds of mourners fanned themselves against the heat, the outrage sparked across New York City by video recordings, which show Garner flat on a sidewalk pleading to the officer gripping his neck that he cannot breathe, was never far from the surface. Between bursts of gospel singing, ministers preached loudly and angrily over Garner's flower-bedecked white coffin, expressing impatience with promises from Mayor Bill de Blasio and his police commissioner, Bill Bratton, that the training of police officers will be overhauled. "Let's not play games with this," Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist, said halfway through the service at Bethel Baptist Church, thrusting a pointed hand into the air.


Relatives fly to Taiwan plane crash site, 48 dead

Rescue workers survey the wreckage of TransAsia Airways Flight GE222 on the Taiwanese island of Penghu Thursday, July 24, 2014. The plane attempting to land in stormy weather crashed on the island late Wednesday, killing more than 40 people and wrecking houses and cars on the ground. (AP Photo) TAIWAN OUT TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Family members of victims of a plane crash were flying Thursday to the small Taiwanese island where the plane had unsuccessfully attempted to land in stormy weather, killing 48 people. There were 10 survivors.


China July HSBC flash PMI at 18-month high

A worker cut steel bars at a steel plant in Ganyu China's factory activity expanded at its fastest pace in 18 months in July as new orders surged, a preliminary HSBC survey showed on Thursday, the latest indication that the economy is picking up as government stimulus measures kick in. The HSBC/Markit Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 52.0 in July from June's final reading of 50.7, beating a forecast of 51.0 in a Reuters poll. "Economic activity continues to improve in July, suggesting that the cumulative impact of mini-stimulus measures introduced earlier is still filtering through," said Qu Hongbin, chief economist for China at HSBC. "We expect policy makers to maintain their accommodative stance over the next few months to consolidate the recovery." Mainland China stocks jumped after the PMI report while shares in the rest of Asia edged higher.


Top Asian News at 3:00 a.m. GMT

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Family members of victims of a plane crash were flying to the small Taiwanese island on Thursday where the plane had unsuccessfully attempted to land in stormy weather, killing 48. There were 10 survivors, and authorities were searching for one person who might have been in a wrecked house on the ground. The ATR-72 operated by Taiwan's TransAsia Airways was carrying 58 passengers and crew when it crashed into a residential neighborhood on Penghu in the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and China late Wednesday, authorities said. The plane was on a flight from the city of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan.

Roma beats Liverpool 1-0 in friendly

Liverpool FC defender Jose Enrique (3) chases the ball against AS Roma during a friendly soccer match at Fenway Park in Boston, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP Photo) BOSTON (AP) — Marco Borriello scored in the 90th minute to give Roma a 1-0 victory over Liverpool in a preseason friendly Wednesday night at Fenway Park.


Arizona inmate dies 2 hours after execution began

FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Arizona Department of Corrections shows inmate Joseph Rudolph Wood. The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 denied a final, last-ditch appeal from Wood, who is seeking a reprieve from execution. (AP Photo/Arizona Department of Corrections, File) Arizona officials say a murderer who was sentenced to death has died nearly two hours after his execution started.


Arizona inmate takes nearly two hours to die in botched execution

Joseph Wood is pictured in this undated handout booking photo By David Schwartz PHOENIX (Reuters) - An Arizona inmate took almost two hours to die by lethal injection on Wednesday and his lawyers said he "gasped and snorted" before succumbing in the latest botched execution to raise questions about the death penalty in the United States. The execution of convicted double murderer Joseph Wood began at 1:52 p.m. at a state prison complex, and the 55-year-old was pronounced dead just shy of two hours later at 3:49 p.m., the Arizona attorney general's office said. The appeal, which said the procedure violated his constitutional right to be executed without suffering cruel and unusual punishment, was denied by Justice Anthony Kennedy of the U.S. Supreme Court. "Arizona appears to have joined several other states who have been responsible for an entirely preventable horror: a bungled execution.


UN aid chief says Gaza ceasefire is vital

TOKYO (AP) — The U.N.'s humanitarian chief said Thursday that a ceasefire to stop the violence in Gaza is vital because of the deteriorating situation.

Officials rush to brush off sanctions impact after Putin ally's warning

By Darya Korsunskaya and Lidia Kelly MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian officials on Wednesday lined up to dismiss the economic impact of Western sanctions imposed for Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis, saying they were "peanuts" compared to what their country had to face during Soviet times. In a show of unity a day after an ally of President Vladimir Putin warned that Russia's anti-Western rhetoric could derail the economy, ministers said growth had not been dampened by the sanctions which include measures against some major companies. "The sanctions in their current format don't have a macroeconomic effect," Andrei Belousov, the Kremlin's top economic adviser, told journalists. "My assessment is that we're in the vicinity of 1 percent (gross domestic product growth) and will stay there until the end of the year." Trade Minister Denis Manturov said the measures by the West could not drive Russia into the isolation of Soviet times.

Malaysian airliner's voice recorder in good condition, says ICAO

By David Ljunggren OTTAWA (Reuters) - The cockpit voice recorder of the Malaysian airliner downed over Ukraine is in good condition, the U.N. civil aviation body said on Wednesday, adding that it was holding talks with airlines and states on how to assess the danger posed by conflicts. Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by a missile over eastern Ukraine last week, killing almost 300 people. Officials from the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization are helping Ukrainian and Dutch authorities probe the crash. "The cockpit voice recorder is in good condition ... the digital flight data recorder is still under review," ICAO said in a statement.

Kerry pushes for Gaza truce as death toll tops 700

Smokes rises during an Israeli ground offensive in the east of Gaza City By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Allyn Fisher-Ilan GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The death toll in Gaza topped 700 on Thursday as Israeli tank fire before dawn killed 16 people in the Hamas-dominated coastal territory, including six members of the same family, Palestinian health officials said. The continued violence defied world efforts to achieve a ceasefire between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas after 17 days of fighting, though some officials voiced optimism that a limited truce may be within reach. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, flying back from Israel to Cairo for more talks with Egyptian mediators, reported some progress in ceasefire talks. "We are continuing to work on it, but it is not set at this point." Israel's security cabinet released no decision after meeting late into the night on a proposed humanitarian truce under which fighting would cease immediately but negotiations for terms for an extended deal would begin only in several days' time.


China factory index at 18-month high in July

HONG KONG (AP) — A survey shows China's factory activity rose in July to its highest level in 18 months, a sign that mini-stimulus measures to shore up the world's No. 2 economy have taken hold.

Japan trade deficit at record $75B in first half

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's trade deficit surged to a record 7.6 trillion yen ($74.9 billion) in the first half of the year as exports failed to keep pace with surging imports, the Finance Ministry reported Thursday.

Japan trade deficit at record $75B in first half

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's trade deficit surged to a record 7.6 trillion yen ($74.9 billion) in the first half of the year as exports failed to keep pace with surging imports, the Finance Ministry reported Thursday.

Top Asian News at 2:30 a.m. GMT

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Family members of victims of a plane crash were flying to the small Taiwanese island on Thursday where the plane had unsuccessfully attempted to land in stormy weather, killing 48. There were 10 survivors, and authorities were searching for one person who might have been in a wrecked house on the ground. The ATR-72 operated by Taiwan's TransAsia Airways was carrying 58 passengers and crew when it crashed into a residential neighborhood on Penghu in the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and China late Wednesday, authorities said. The plane was on a flight from the city of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan.

Leaders of Taiwan, China offer condolences for 48 dead in plane crash

Rescue personnel survey the wreckage of TransAsia Airways flight GE222 on Taiwan's offshore island of Penghu By Faith Hung TAIPEI (Reuters) - The leaders of rivals China and Taiwan expressed condolences on Thursday for victims of a TransAsia Airways turboprop plane that crashed during a thunderstorm the previous day killing 48 people including two French nationals. The plane, a 70-seat ATR 72, crashed near the runway on the small island of Penghu, west of Taiwan island, with 54 passengers and four crew on board. "Today is a very sad day in the history of Taiwan aviation," Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou said in a statement. "All of Taiwan is grieving." China's president, Xi Jinping, who is on a Latin America tour, felt "deeply grieved" after learning the tragedy has caused heavy casualties, the mainland's State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, said in a statement, according to the Xinhua news agency.


Michigan governor's campaign met with ambivalence

FILE- In a June 20, 2014 file photo, Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder speaks during an interview before signing legislation to provide state funding for Detroit municipal pensions in Detroit. Snyder defied fellow members of the GOP by supporting the Medicaid expansion in the federal health care law, committing state money to help Detroit emerge from bankruptcy and vetoing Republican gun, abortion and voter ID bills. Now the upbeat Snyder is facing a tough bid for a second term. Many Republicans don’t know what to make of his neutrality on social issues and his reluctance to bash Democrats. And he’s still made plenty of enemies among Democrats and their allies in organized labor. (AP Photo/File) LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has accomplished much of what he set out to do when he was elected four years ago. He's logged improvements in the state's economic health, presided over the creation of 250,000 private-sector jobs and confronted many of Detroit's worsening financial problems.


Michigan governor's campaign met with ambivalence

FILE- In a June 20, 2014 file photo, Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder speaks during an interview before signing legislation to provide state funding for Detroit municipal pensions in Detroit. Snyder defied fellow members of the GOP by supporting the Medicaid expansion in the federal health care law, committing state money to help Detroit emerge from bankruptcy and vetoing Republican gun, abortion and voter ID bills. Now the upbeat Snyder is facing a tough bid for a second term. Many Republicans don’t know what to make of his neutrality on social issues and his reluctance to bash Democrats. And he’s still made plenty of enemies among Democrats and their allies in organized labor. (AP Photo/File) LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has accomplished much of what he set out to do when he was elected four years ago. He's logged improvements in the state's economic health, presided over the creation of 250,000 private-sector jobs and confronted many of Detroit's worsening financial problems.


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