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By Andy Bruce and William Schomberg LONDON (Reuters) - British retail sales rose between April and June at the fastest pace for a calendar quarter in 10 years despite stagnating last month, bolstering expectations that the economy has sustained its swift pace of recovery. Retail sales volumes rose 1.6 percent in the second quarter compared with the previous three months, a latest sign of strength in Britain's economy which has put a first interest rate hike on the agenda of the Bank of England. Still, retail sales growth for June alone disappointed, rising just 0.1 percent from May and by 3.6 percent compared with a year ago, according to the Office for National Statistics. The ONS said a fall in clothing sales during the month was probably the result of delayed price-cutting on summer clothes by retailers who normally hold sales in June but may have held off this year due to good weather.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli tanks and warplanes bombarded the Gaza Strip on Thursday, as Hamas militants stuck to their demand for the lifting of an Israeli and Egyptian blockade amid international efforts to broker a cease-fire.