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News Wrap: Pro-Russian rebels, government forces renew fighting in Eastern Ukraine

July 1, 2014 at 6:02 PM EDT
Ukrainian troops stand guard at the headquarters of the Ukrainian army's Anti-Terrorist Operation, ATO, near the eastern Ukrainian city of Izyum, near Donetsk, on June 20, 2014. Photo by Sergey Bobok/AFP/Getty Images
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Heavy fighting seized Eastern Ukraine today, one day after President Petro Poroshenko ended a cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Within hours, a gun battle broke out in Donetsk, as rebels captured the Interior Ministry headquarters. Government forces also bombarded rebel bases and checkpoints.

In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the blame lies entirely on the Kiev government.

PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russia (through interpreter): Unfortunately, President Poroshenko made a decision to resume military operations. And we could not — when I say we, I mean myself and colleagues from Europe — we couldn’t convince him that the road to a sustainable, durable and long-term peace cannot lie through war.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Separately, European Union ambassadors put off deciding on new economic sanctions aimed at Russia. They said they will make a decision next week.

A car bombing in Nigeria has killed at least 56 people in a busy marketplace. The explosion erupted today in the northeastern state of Borno, where more than 200 girls were abducted earlier this year. There were no immediate claims of responsibility, but officials blamed the Islamist group Boko Haram.

In Israel, busloads of mourners turned out for the funeral of three Israeli teenagers, apparently murdered by Palestinian militants in the West Bank. The young men’s bodies were found yesterday.

Lindsey Hilsum of Independent Television News reports from Jerusalem.

LINDSEY HILSUM: Tens of thousands came to Modiin cemetery between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem today to mourn three Israeli teenagers, 19-year-old Eyal Yifrach and 16-year-olds Naftali Fraenkel and Gilad Shaer. The funeral was a channel for public outrage, as well as the private grief of the families, and a political event attended by Israel’s top leadership.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, Prime Minister, Israel (through interpreter): They glorify death. We glorify life. They glorify cruelty, and we glorify mercy.

LINDSEY HILSUM: In Hebron last night, Israeli soldiers raided the House of Amar Abu Aisha, one of two Palestinians suspected of kidnap and murder. His relatives knew what would happen next. Israeli forces demolished the family home.

The two men, both associated with Hamas, but not believed to be acting under orders from the leadership, are still on the run. In Jenin today, the funeral of another young man, 19-year-old Palestinian Yusuf al-Zagher, killed by Israeli forces who said he had thrown a grenade at them yesterday. His death brings to six the number of Palestinians killed in Operation Brother’s Keeper, the Israeli attempt to capture the killers of the Yeshiva students.

Last night, Israel attacked 34 sites in Gaza, retribution not just against Hamas, but also the residents of the territory. There may be more to come.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Those airstrikes came after militants in Gaza fired more rockets into Israel. The Israeli cabinet is still considering a direct response to the killing of the teenagers.

Cabinet leaders in Japan today loosened limits on the country’s military that have been in place since World War II. The new policy means Japanese forces will now be permitted to join in defending allies, and not only Japan proper. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe argued the change is essential in the face of China’s growing military power.

The U.S. Navy has its first female four-star admiral, who also happens to be the first African-American to hold that rank. Michelle Howard was formally promoted today. She’s been in the service for 32 years. It became official during a ceremony at a memorial to women in the

ADM. MICHELLE HOWARD, U.S. Navy: If you don’t believe today was a first, when I called to order four-star shoulder boards for women, they didn’t exist.

(LAUGHTER)

ADM. MICHELLE HOWARD: A special contract was let, and you folks are seeing the first set in the history of the United States Navy.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

JUDY WOODRUFF: Howard now assumes the Navy’s second highest post as vice chief of national operations.

Parts of the Midwest got even more rain overnight and today, after a week of downpours. Six states faced substantial flooding along the Mississippi River and other waterways. In Iowa, crews searched for a teenager who was swept away. Today’s rain also swamped a major highway leading to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

The new health care law is facing yet another challenge. It turns out there are discrepancies for many of the eight million people who signed up for coverage in the personal information that was shared with the health exchanges. The problems could prevent them from getting insurance.

The inspector general’s office at the Department of Health and Human Services reported the findings. Officials say they hope to clear up most of the cases this summer.

American automakers saw their sales grow again in June, but at a slower pace. Chrysler led the way with a 9 percent increase. General Motors, Toyota and Hyundai all reported smaller gains. Ford sales fell 6 percent.

On Wall Street, July got off to a fast start after upbeat reports on manufacturing in the U.S. and China. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 129 points to close at a record 16,956. The Nasdaq rose 50 points to close at 4,458. And the S&P 500 added 13 to finish at 1,973, also a record.