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  • TEL AVIV, July 31- Diamonds are a girl's best friend- but only if they are natural. Global diamond jewelry sales are worth more than $72 billion a year, according to the World Diamond Council, and jewelers like Tiffany and diamond miners led by De Beers stress that a jewel mined at great expense, and often with great risk, is infinitely more valuable than one made by man.

  • *Almost quarter of a million refugees in UN's Gaza shelters. *Gaza fighting in its fourth week. GAZA/ JERUSALEM, July 31- The United Nations in Gaza is struggling to withstand a flood of almost a quarter of a million refugees into shelters that have repeatedly come under Israeli fire.

  • *Netanyahu presses assault, sends envoys to Cairo. *U.N. outraged at refugee deaths at Gaza shelter.

  • *OPEC oil output rises in July from June- Reuters survey. LONDON, July 31- Brent crude slipped below $106 a barrel on Thursday as higher OPEC output and disappointing demand in the United States outweighed tensions in the Middle East, Africa and Ukraine.

  • *OPEC oil output rises in July from June- Reuters survey. SINGAPORE, July 31- Brent crude slipped towards $106 a barrel on Thursday and was set to post its biggest monthly loss in more than a year as higher OPEC output and disappointing demand in the United States outweighed tensions in the Middle East and Africa.

  • Brent slips toward $106 as US fuel demand disappoints Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 | 12:14 AM ET

    *OPEC oil output rises in July from June- Reuters survey. SINGAPORE, July 31- Brent crude slipped towards $106 a barrel on Thursday and was set to post its biggest monthly loss in more than a year as higher OPEC output and disappointing demand in the United States outweighed tensions in the Middle East and Africa.

  • TOKYO, July 31- The dollar stayed strong and U.S. bond yields held firm on Thursday after data showed solid U.S. economic growth, even as the Federal Reserve repeated its message that it is in no hurry to raise interest rates. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was almost flat in early trade.

  • GAZA STRIP, July 30- Israeli Colonel Tomer was literally tipped off to the tunnel snaking under a Palestinian village when the tank-churned earth gave way to the weight of one of his behemoth bulldozers' treads.

  • Congress cooperates _ and fights _ as recess nears Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 | 4:39 PM ET

    WASHINGTON— Eager to begin a monthlong break, Congress leavened its customary heavy partisanship on Wednesday with a pinch of compromise, advancing legislation to repair the deeply troubled Department of Veterans Affairs and working to clear funds for highway construction at home and missile defense in Israel.

  • *Hamas vows to fight on until Gaza blockades lifted. GAZA/ JERUSALEM, July 30- Israeli shelling killed at least 15 Palestinians sheltering in a U.N.-run school and another 17 near a street market on Wednesday, Gaza's Health Ministry said, with no ceasefire in sight after more than three weeks of fighting.

  • *Tunnel search a main mission of Israeli ground operation. GAZA STRIP, July 30- Israeli Colonel Tomer was literally tipped off to the tunnel snaking under a Palestinian village when the tank-churned earth gave way under the weight of one of his behemoth bulldozers.

  • Dubai, European airlines divert flights over Iraq Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 | 11:54 AM ET

    BAGHDAD— European airlines and a Dubai- based carrier are rerouting flights over Iraqi airspace as a security precaution amid fears that militants with the Islamic State group have weapons capable of shooting down planes, despite Iraq saying its skies are safe.

  • LONDON, July 30- Gold fell on Wednesday, pressured by a multi-month high in the dollar following stronger-than-expected U.S. economic growth data and ahead of a Federal Reserve statement that could give hints on interest rate policy. Spot gold, flat initially, fell 0.3 percent to $1,295.20 an ounce by 1452 GMT, after breaking below $1,300 in the previous session.

  • FOREX-Euro slides below $1.34, eyes on Fed and U.S. GDP Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 | 4:32 AM ET

    LONDON, July 30- The euro fell below $1.34 on Wednesday for the first time since last November before German inflation data that was likely to add to the case for the European Central Bank pumping more money into a moribund economy.

  • UPDATE 2-Brent hovers near $107.50; U.S. data, Fed eyed Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 | 3:14 AM ET

    *U.S., EU impose more sanctions on Russia over Ukraine. The focus is now on Russia and how President Vladimir Putin will react to further sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States.

  • SYDNEY/ SINGAPORE, July 30- The dollar touched a six-month high against a basket of major currencies on Wednesday, holding firm ahead of a Federal Reserve policy decision and U.S. gross domestic product data due later in the day.

  • UPDATE 1-Brent hovers near $107.50 ahead of U.S. data Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 | 1:15 AM ET

    *U.S., EU impose more sanctions on Russia over Ukraine. *Libya says oil output stays at 500,000 bpd. Geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, Africa and Europe continued to underpin prices, although so far there has been no major disruption to oil supplies.

  • SYDNEY/ SINGAPORE, July 30- The dollar hovered near a six-month high against a basket of currencies on Wednesday as investors awaited a Federal Reserve policy decision and U.S. gross domestic product data due later in the day.

  • Brent hovers near $107.50 ahead of U.S. data Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014 | 11:43 PM ET

    *U.S., EU impose more sanctions on Russia over Ukraine. *Libya says oil output stays at 500,000 bpd. Geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, Africa and Europe continued to underpin prices, although so far there has been no major disruption to oil supplies.

  • SINGAPORE, July 30- Gold was trading in a tight range below $1,300 an ounce on Wednesday, as investors nervously awaited the end of a Federal Reserve policy meeting to gauge the U.S. central bank's view on the economy and monetary policy.