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By Richard Lough BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina faced a race against on time on Wednesday to avert its second default in 12 years, needing to either cut a deal by the end of the day with "holdout" investors suing it or win more time from a U.S. court to reach a settlement. Argentine Economy Minister Axel Kicillof scrambled to New York on Tuesday to join last-ditch negotiations, holding the first face-to-face talks with the principals of New York hedge funds who demand full repayment on bonds they bought at a discounted rate after the country defaulted in 2002. The hedge funds are owed $1.33 billion, but an equal treatment clause in an agreement Argentina made with bondholders in 2005 would cost Argentina many billions more. Latin America's No. 3 economy has for years fought the holdout hedge funds that rejected large writedowns, but after exhausting legal avenues Argentina faces default if it cannot reach a last-minute deal.
An Israeli shelling on a UN school in Gaza killed 20 people early Wednesday, medics said, as Palestinian factions were to head to Cairo to discuss a temporary humanitarian ceasefire. The shell slammed into the school in northern Gaza as the conflict between Israel and Hamas entered its 23rd day, with international efforts to bring an end to the bloodshed continuing apace.