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Washington's top diplomat said global efforts to end 17 days of bloodshed in Gaza were progressing as the Palestinian death toll rose to 718 Thursday and airlines kept flights to Israel suspended over rocket fears. The Islamist Hamas movement rejected any truce without the lifting of Israel's eight-year blockade on Gaza. "We will not accept any initiative that does not lift the blockade on our people and that does not respect their sacrifices," Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said. Hamas hailed the suspension of Tel Aviv flights by many world airlines as a "great victory."
China's food regulator has visited close to 600 restaurants, businesses and food distributors as it investigates a fast-spreading food safety scare that has dragged in a number of global brands and hit food outlets as far away as Japan. Shanghai police detained five people on Wednesday, including the head and the quality chief of Shanghai Husi Food, a Chinese-based supplier to foreign fast-food brands including KFC, McDonald's Corp and coffee chain Starbucks Corp over allegations it supplied out-of-date meat. Shanghai Husi Food is owned by Illinois-based OSI Group.
By Daniel Wallis DENVER (Reuters) - A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that Colorado's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, but stayed his ruling until the issue is decided by a higher court. U.S. District Judge Raymond Moore found in favor of six same-sex couples who filed a lawsuit challenging the state's 2006 constitutional amendment that defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Moore's 12-page ruling was the latest in a series of decisions by state and federal judges who have struck down state bans on gay marriage and then put their rulings on hold pending appeal. Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said he was gratified the judge agreed that additional litigation in that court would be wasteful, since the U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to hear an appeal in neighboring Utah's case.