By Alexander Dziadosz and Michael Georgy BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Islamic State insurgents posted a video on Tuesday purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. The video, titled "A Message To America," presented President Barack Obama with bleak options that could define America?s next phase of involvement in Iraq and the public reaction to it, potentially deepening his hand in a conflict he built much of his presidency on ending.
By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Maayan Lubell GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli air strikes killed 11 Palestinians in Gaza, including the wife and infant son of Hamas's military leader, Mohammed Deif, in what the group said on Wednesday was an attempt to assassinate him after a ceasefire collapsed. Accusing Israel of opening a "gateway to hell", Hamas fired rockets at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The attacks caused no casualties but demonstrated the Islamist movement could still bring the Gaza war to Israel's heartland despite heavy Israeli bombardments in the five-week-old conflict. Israel's military said it had carried out 60 air strikes on the Gaza Strip since hostilities resumed on Tuesday, and that Palestinians launched more than 80 rocket salvoes, some intercepted by the Israeli anti-missile Iron Dome system.
By Katharine Houreld and Syed Raza Hassan ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Thousands of Pakistani protesters tried to blockade parliament on Wednesday after an anti-government cleric told them not to allow anyone in or out, with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inside at the time, but the lawmakers left by a back entrance. The protesters have taken to the streets of Islamabad for five days, led by cricket star turned opposition leader Imran Khan and cleric Tahir ul-Qadri, who runs a network of Islamic schools and charities. The Supreme Court summoned both to appear before the court on Thursday. Its civilian government is struggling to assert its authority after decades when the country swung between democracy and military rule.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Kurdish ministers who suspended their participation in the government of outgoing Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki have rejoined the administration, Iraq's outgoing foreign minister said on Wednesday. "I am back in Baghdad as foreign minister," Hoshiyar Zebari, a Kurd, told Reuters. Maliki infuriated Kurdish leaders by accusing them of harboring terrorists after Islamic State militants swept through northern Iraq in June. (Reporting by Michael Georgy, editing by John Stonestreet)
By Jamie McGeever LONDON (Reuters) - World stocks mostly halted their recent rally on Wednesday before the latest policy signal from the U.S. Sterling jumped after the BoE minutes showed two of the nine policymakers unexpectedly voted to raise rates, while record-low money-market rates in the euro zone took the euro to its weakest against the dollar in almost a year. "This has lowered the bar for an increase in interest rates this year." Later in the day, minutes from the last Federal Reserve policy meeting will be released.
By Denny Thomas and Heng Xie HONG KONG/BEIJING (Reuters) - Canadian retailer Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc and China's Tencent Holdings Ltd are among suitors short-listed to buy a $16 billion minority stake in China's Sinopec Sales, the world's largest fuel retail network, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. China Life Insurance Co Ltd, the nation's biggest insurer, Hong Kong-listed ENN Energy Holdings Ltd, privately-owned Fosun Group, Hopu Investment Management and Affinity Equity Partners have also progressed to the next round, said the people who declined to be identified as the sale process is confidential.
By Taiga Uranaka TOKYO (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc is preparing to sell its Japanese retail banking operations, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday, as it waves the white flag on a venture plagued by regulatory troubles and anemic lending. The company which pioneered 24-hour ATMs in Japan and was the only foreign bank to make a major push into its retail banking sector is throwing in the towel after failing to gain enough scale to justify its costs. Citigroup has also signaled a desire to refocus its overseas strategy on growth markets and away from saturated mature markets such as Japan, where it has been doing business for more than a century. Citi has approached Japan's top three lenders, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) , Mizuho Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) about a sale, as well as regional banks, said the source, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
French President Francois Hollande said on Wednesday he would accelerate reforms to boost growth, highlighting steps to increase homebuilding and give tax breaks to poorer households as he tries to win back voter confidence. The most unpopular French president in modern history has come under growing fire from both the opposition and ruling Socialist party lawmakers over his economic policy. As he prepares for tough negotiations on the 2015 budget both at home and with France's EU partners, Hollande sought in an interview with Le Monde to explain that he would work on both fronts: reform France and help low-income households. Housing has become a major headache for the government, with housing starts in France down to a 16-year low - a serious drag on the economy.
As protests erupted in Ferguson, Mo., following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, many went to social media outlets for news and information, only to find that much content seemed to be missing from their streams.
Health & Weight Loss
Flu Shot Recommended for All Pregnant Women
Pregnant women should get the flu shot, regardless of how far along they are in their pregnancies, according to updated guidelines released by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The new guidelines by ACOG also state that vaccination is important for women who are trying to become pregnant. Preventing the flu is an essential element of care during preconception, as well as during pregnancy and after delivery, according to a statement from ACOG. "The flu virus is highly infectious and can be particularly dangerous to pregnant women, as it can cause pneumonia, premature labor and other complications," said Dr. Laura Riley, chair of ACOG's Immunization Expert Work Group, which developed the new guidelines.
The standard polio vaccine may not always work, as vaccinations didn't prevent polio in people in the Republic of the Congo during an outbreak there in 2010, a new study shows. The reason the vaccine didn't always work during the outbreak was that the virus had mutated, the researchers said. Of these people, 24 died from polio in the outbreak, and 51 others live in Bonn, Germany, and did not have polio. The findings show that researchers need to identify mutant virus strains and generate more potent polio vaccinations, said study leader Dr. Jan Felix Drexler, a virologist at the University of Bonn Medical Centr