By Eliana Raszewski and Richard Lough BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Factory owner Norberto Garcia was poised to launch a series of new toys this year after grafting hard for the past decade to rebuild his business following Argentina's 2001-2002 economic crash and debt default. Garcia's wait-and-see attitude is typical of other businesses who anticipate a slowdown in sales in a country grappling with a surging inflation rate but are convinced any economic downturn will be moderate. While unsettling, the debt crisis today is a far cry from the turmoil of Argentina's $100 billion default in 2002, and Garcia is optimistic things will ultimately improve. Argentina's record default sent shockwaves through global capital markets and millions of Argentines lost their jobs as the economy collapsed.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli aircraft, tanks and navy gunboats targeted symbols of Hamas control in Gaza City early Tuesday in the heaviest night of bombardment in three weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of a "prolonged" campaign in Gaza.
Bloodshed in and around Gaza surged Tuesday with strikes killing 26 Palestinians, including at least four children, as Israel announced the deaths of five more soldiers, shattering hopes for an end to three weeks of violence. "In the name of humanity, the violence must stop," pleaded UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon after holding long talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, urging him to heed international calls for a ceasefire. As he spoke, the military sent messages to thousands of Palestinians in Shejaiya, Zeitun, Jabaliya, Beit Lahiya and Beit Hanun, urging them to flee their homes and seek shelter in central Gaza City as troops prepared to step up their 21-day campaign. Shortly afterwards, the cloudy skies over Gaza lit up with flashes as the army began an intensive wave of air strikes and heavy shelling across the strip that continued early Tuesday and left 26 Palestinians dead, AFP correspondents and medics said.