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By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Ori Lewis GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel pressed ahead with its Gaza offensive saying it was days from achieving its core goal of destroying all Islamist guerrilla cross-border attack tunnels, but a soaring Palestinian civilian toll has triggered international alarm. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet on Wednesday approved continuing the assault launched on July 8 in response to a surge of rocket attacks by Gaza's dominant Hamas Islamists. Israel also sent a delegation to Egypt, which has been trying, with Washington's blessing, to broker a ceasefire. Fifty-six Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza clashes and more than 400 wounded.
By Sarah Marsh BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina defaulted for the second time in 12 years after hopes for a midnight deal with holdout creditors were dashed, setting up stock and bond prices for declines on Thursday and raising chances a recession could worsen this year. After a long legal battle with hedge funds that rejected Argentina's debt restructuring following its 2002 default, Latin America's third-biggest economy failed to strike a deal in time to meet a midnight deadline for a coupon payment on exchange bonds. "It is going to complicate life for businesses like YPF which were going to look externally for financing," said Camilo Tiscornia, a former governor of Argentina's central bank. State-controlled energy company YPF needs funds to develop Argentina's huge Vaca Muerta shale formation.
Paris (AFP) - BNP Paribas on Thursday posted a net quarterly loss of 4.3 billion euros ($5.75 billion), as a record fine for violating US economic sanctions sent it into the red for the first time since 2008.