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RUSSIA will allow gambling in Sochi in a bid to make continued use of the facilities that were built in the Black Sea resort for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Russia spent USD51 billion on the Games, leaving many companies that invested in the city wondering how they were going to recoup their money.

MYANMAR Hours after Shamshu Nahad gave birth to her second child, a beautiful baby girl, her husband was digging its grave. For tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims trapped in displacement camps in western Myanmar, it is a scene that is becoming all too familiar.

JAPAN A powerful typhoon pummeled the southern Japanese islands of Okinawa yesterday, paralyzing transport and prompting U.S. forces based there to cancel all outdoor activity. Much greater damage is likely from torrential rains if the typhoon hits land as expected tomorrow or Friday. Authorities in China and Taiwan also warned ships to stay clear of the storm.
Isarel Militants in the Gaza Strip unleash dozens of rockets on southern Israel, setting off air raid sirens and forcing hundreds of thousands of Israelis to stay indoors as the military rushes more forces to the border and warns that even heavier fighting looks likely. The latest violence comes as Israel presses its investigation of six Jewish youths suspected of abducting and killing a Palestinian teenager.

USA An Independence Day hot dog eating contest in South Dakota turned tragic when a contestant choked to death. 47-year-old Walter Eagle Tail, of Custer, died at a hospital after attempts to save him failed at the scene. The Custer Chamber of Commerce sponsored the contest. The group canceled a pie-eating contest scheduled for Friday.

USA With the clock ticking to the start of legal weed sales in Washington state, store owners are making preparations to stock their shelves and control crowds ahead of opening their doors today. One year and eight months after voters in Washington and Colorado stunned much of the world by legalizing recreational marijuana, the sale of cannabis begins here this week, amid talk of high prices, shortages and celebration.

SWITZERLAND Diplomats from the United States, China and the European Union began talks yesterday with 11 other countries toward a deal that would cut tariffs on almost USD1 trillion of environmental goods. The proposed agreement at the WTO would cover 86 percent of trade in goods such as solar panels and wind turbines. The negotiations also include Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, and Chinese Taipei.

UK Sales of luxury Rolls-Royce cars, which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, have soared worldwide. The Britain-based manufacturer said that global sales in the first half of the year were up 33 percent compared with the same period in 2013. Growth was strongest in Europe, up over 60 percent, with Asia Pacific sales up almost 40 percent, the company said in a statement. Middle East sales were also strong, up 30 percent, with the U.S. and China also seeing double-digit growth.

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