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In our news wrap Thursday, an Islamic State militant killed two Iraqi generals and three soldiers in a suicide bombing. Also, stocks in China rebounded after a six-day slump triggered by concerns over the health of the Chinese economy.
A rash of consumer, business and government spending pushed U.S. economic growth into better-than-expected territory. The nation's gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 3.7 percent from April to June, according to the Commerce Department. That's more than a percentage point higher than initial estimates. For comparison, Japan's economy shrank and Germany and the U.K. grew by less than a percent for the same time period.
Stocks in China rebounded today and shook off a six-day slump triggered by concerns over the health of the Chinese economy. The two major Chinese indices surged by more than 5 percent, snapping a losing streak that had rippled around the financial world. Other Asian and European markets followed suit.
The Asian rally extended to Wall Street, helped along by the encouraging U.S. economic numbers. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 369 points to close above 16600. The Nasdaq rose 115 points, and the S&P 500 added 47 points. For oil, it was also a good day, the biggest one-day rally in nearly seven years. U.S. oil prices rose by nearly $4 a barrel, more than 10 percent, to $42.56.
In Iraq today, an Islamic State militant killed two generals and three soldiers in a suicide bombing. A vehicle filled with explosives hit the troops as they advanced towards the ISIS-controlled city of Ramadi in Anbar province. A funeral procession for the generals passed through Baghdad this afternoon.
Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi walked behind the coffins and vowed to defeat ISIS. The Islamic State claimed the attack was revenge for the recent killing of a senior militant fighter.
Police in Austria today discovered the decomposed bodies of as many as 50 refugees piled inside a truck on a highway from Budapest to Vienna, this as a summit on Europe's migrant crisis began today in Vienna.
Lindsey Hilsum of Independent Television News has this report from the scene of the discovery.
We were on our way to the Balkans summit in Vienna, where leaders were to discuss migration, when we saw police around a truck at the side of the road. The stench of death blew in through our car window.
The consequence of European governments' failure to deal with the tide of refugees and migrants was right here at the side of the motorway. The police first noticed the vehicle around 11:00 a.m.
HELMUT MARBAN, Austrian Federal Police:
They thought at first this was a breakdown, and then looked and they found no driver. And then they saw that blood comes out of the car. And the smell was like — yes. And then they call alarm.
Forensic teams worked on the outside. It's believed that the people inside may have been dead for several days. The lorry had the logo of a Slovakian chicken meat company, but the license plates were Hungarian and the vehicle was reportedly bought by a Romanian last year.
Police are investigating the network of people smugglers that brings refugees and migrants into Austria. The families who climbed into that truck must have thought that they were heading away from death, not towards it. But this then is what it's come to: people suffocating to death at the side of a motorway in one of the richest countries in the world.
Today's summit was overshadowed by the tragedy. Only Germany is responding to the crisis, accepting 800,000 Syrian refugees this year.
CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL, Germany (through interpreter):
Naturally, we are all shaken by the appalling news that up to 50 people lost their lives because they got into a situation where these traffickers didn't look after them, even though these people were on the way in search of safety and protection. And they had to die such a tragic death. This reminds us that we must tackle quickly the issue of immigration.
The E.U. leadership knows it's failing.
FEDERICA MOGHERINI, Foreign Policy Chief, European Union:
We understand very well that we cannot continue like this, with a minute of silence every time that we see people dying.
E.U. leaders know that Balkan countries can't cope with the influx. They're too poor and only recently recovering from war themselves. Yet rich E.U. countries, including Britain, are refusing to accept refugees. It's everyone's and no one's problem.
Just yesterday, authorities in nearby Hungary detained more than 3,200 refugees at its southern border with Serbia. That's the highest number so far this year.
Authorities in China have detained 11 people for their role in the massive warehouse explosion that killed at least 145 people. They're accused of negligence and abuse of power in the country's most — worst industrial disaster in recent years. The August 12 explosion at a chemical site devastated the port city of Tianjin and left 115 police and firefighters among the dead and missing.
A cloud of smoky air hung over much of the Northwestern U.S. today from about 50 large wildfires that are now burning. The National Weather Service imposed air quality alerts for parts of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. A fire in Okanagan, Washington, has now grown to almost 438 square miles, making it the largest fire ever recorded in that state.
Fire officials are working hard to contain it.
TODD PECHOTA, Incident Commander:
Containment remains at 17 percent and we have nearly 1,800 people from 33 states here supporting the firefighting efforts on the ground. Our priorities have not changed in terms of our objectives. The public — the safety of the public and our firefighters remains our number one concern.
A contingent of firefighters from Australia and New Zealand were deployed today to help battle the Washington wildfire.
New data released today shows that, although the vast majority of American children are vaccinated, those who are not still pose a big threat to public health. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that less than 2 percent of parents nationwide asked for vaccination exemptions last school year. But in certain states, the number is much higher, as high as 6.5 percent in Idaho.
The report follows a measles outbreak in California that sickened more than 100 people earlier this year.
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