Gaza ceasefire in trouble: Fighting erupts two hours after start of the truce

It was not immediately clear as to which side broke the ceasefire amid claims and counter-claims


A 72-hour ceasefire brokered by the US and the UN was in jeopardy just two hours after it began on Friday, with the Palestinian militant groups accusing Israel of killing four persons in the Gaza Strip by artillery shelling and Tel Aviv blaming militants of firing rockets.


Four Palestinians were killed and 20 others injured in an Israeli artillery attack near the southern Rafiah area today, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.


Palestinian sources claimed that three others were shot by Israeli sniper fire in the southern Gaza Strip.


An Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson said they were looking into the incidents.


Around the same time, two Code Red sirens were heard in Eshkol Regional Council. Two rockets landed in an open area, Israel's Channel 10 reported.


It was not immediately clear as to which side broke the ceasefire amid claims and counter-claims.


The announcement of the truce between Israel and Palestinians was made in a statement released in New Delhi, where US Secretary of State John Kerry is on a visit.


The temporary humanitarian ceasefire came into effect early Friday after Israel accepted a joint proposal from the US and the UN which took into consideration a key demand by it.


Israel had been demanding that any ceasefire deal include a condition that allows its troops to remain in Gaza over the 72-hour truce which it says it would utilise to locate and neutralise tunnels infiltrating into Israel.


Representatives of the Palestinian Authority, which controls the West Bank, and an Israeli delegation are in Cairo to work on a sustainable truce beyond the next 72 hours.


Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders are also camping in the Egyptian capital but talks with Israel are carried out informally through mediators as the militant factions do not recognise the Jewish state.


The Palestinian death toll in the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza surpassed that of Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009 as the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli attacks reached 1,450 yesterday in its 25th day.


According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, 1,417 Palestinians were killed during Operation Cast Lead, which was the longest conflict between the two sides lasting 22 days, before the current fighting began.


The death count on the Israeli side also saw a significant increase with 61 soldiers killed this time compared to 10 in 2008-09. Three Israeli civilians and a Thai national working in Israel died in rocket and mortar attacks.


US Judge rejects Microsoft’s defense of overseas data

US Attorney Preet Bharara has argued that under a 1986 law governing electronic communications, Microsoft is required to share user data with authorities regardless of where the company has decided to store it


A judge on Thursday rejected a bid by Microsoft to derail a warrant demanding that email data from servers in Ireland be turned over to US prosecutors.


Microsoft vowed to battle on in the case, which is being closely watched by Internet companies eager to assure users around the world that their private information is not being freely shared with US authorities.


“The only issue that was certain this morning was that the District Court’s decision would not represent the final step in this process,” Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said in an email reply to an AFP inquiry after the ruling by US District Judge Loretta Preska.


“We will appeal promptly and continue to advocate that people’s email deserves strong privacy protection in the US and around the world.”


Microsoft argued in court that the warrant, which would require the tech giant to turn over customer emails stored in a data centre in Dublin, should be nullified because it would give the US government excessive power to pry over private information.


A two-hour hearing ended with Preska denying Microsoft’s request to have the sub-poena quashed, according to a spokesperson for the US attorney in New York.


The legal battle comes amid rising concern about US surveillance following revelations of snooping disclosed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.


Leading tech firms, including Apple and Verizon, have filed briefs supporting Microsoft.


Microsoft has argued that the customer emails, sought in this case in a Justice Department narcotics probe, are entitled to the same protections as paper letters sent by mail.


That means prosecutors should only be able to access the information in the electronic “cloud” with a warrant, and that the authority of such warrants ends at the US border.


Smith also has publicly contended that the case could leave US citizen’s privacy vulnerable to overseas prying if other counties opt for the same tactic.


But US Attorney Preet Bharara argued that under a 1986 law governing electronic communications, the tech giant is required to produce the data regardless of where Microsoft has decided to store it.


HSBC India manufacturing PMI jumps to 17-month high

Business conditions in the Indian manufacturing sector improved for the ninth consecutive month in July, as companies scaled up production in response to robust levels of demand, the HSBC survey says


India’s manufacturing sector growth jumped to 17-month high in July, driven by flood of new orders from both domestic and overseas companies due to post-election boost in sentiments, an HSBC survey said.


The HSBC India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), a measure of factory production, rose to 53.0 in July, up from 51.5 in June, signalling an improvement in business conditions.


A flood of new orders from both domestic and external sources has led to a surge in activity, pushing the manufacturing PMI to a 17-month high,” HSBC Co-Head of Asian Economic Research, Frederic Neumann, said, adding that all monitored categories witnessed a rise in output and order flows.


A PMI reading above 50 indicates growth while a lower reading means contraction.


Business conditions in Indian manufacturing sector improved for the ninth consecutive month in July, as companies scaled up production in response to robust levels of demand.


Commenting on the survey report, Nomura said, the PMI suggest that India's manufacture sector is on solid footing. "The PMI data, especially the strong activity level and the domestic demand-led pickup in order inflows, indicate that the rise in manufacturing activity over the last few months is on a solid footing and likely to gain momentum in coming months. Although a below-normal monsoon may impede agricultural production this year, we expect real GDP growth to rise to 5.0% y-o-y in FY15 from 4.7% in FY14 on a strong pickup in the manufacturing sector with upside risks to our baseline forecast. On the inflation front, data indicate that manufactured prices remain in check. However, if  input cost pressures sustain, output prices could increase somewhat (WPI manufactured) in coming months," it said in a note.


Striking a quick word of caution, HSBC said input price pressures have risen sharply and supply side constraints still limit the pace with which growth can recover without stoking inflation.


The speed of the recovery has also lifted price pressures, with input prices rising steeply. This means that the RBI may not cheer as loudly as the rest of us,” Neumann said.


Nomura, in the note said, "A growth recovery appears to be underway as manufacturing output has picked up and both the rise in domestic demand and the higher order-inventory ratio bode well for future output growth. Output prices remain in check, but with margins under pressure there are risks of manufactured output prices rising in coming months".


The HSBC report added that rains have progressively improved, reducing the severity of the drought, and the new government has been proactive in addressing potential price risks.


These two factors provide the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) with enough comfort to stay on hold next week. But, the battle against inflation is not over, price indicators within the PMI serve as a reminder of this fact. The speed of the growth recovery needs to be monitored, if it is too quick it could be inflationary,” HSBC said.


RBI’s next credit policy review is scheduled on 5th August.


According to official figures, retail inflation in June touched its lowest mark at 7.31% since January 2012 and the wholesale price index (WPI) based inflation slid to four-month low of 5.43%, mainly due to easing vegetables prices.






2 years ago

The PMI jumping up to 53 shows an expansion in the economy.After many months of contraction this is good news.The CPI and the WPI have come down which signals a downtrend in inflation.However it needs to be seen if this trend continues.

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