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By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Maayan Lubell GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - 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. Israel's security cabinet decided to continue its offensive in the enclave and there was no sign of a halt to a 23-day conflict in which 1,326 people, mostly civilians, have died. Some 3,300 Palestinians, including many women and children, were taking refuge in the school in Jabalya refugee camp when it came under fire around dawn, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said. "Our initial assessment is that it was Israeli artillery that hit our school," UNRWA chief Pierre Krahenbuhl said in a statement after representatives of the agency visited the scene and examined fragments, craters and other damage.
By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge on Wednesday ordered Bank of America Corp to pay $1.27 billion of damages after a federal jury found the second-largest U.S. bank liable for fraud over defective mortgages sold by its Countrywide unit. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan ruled nine months after jurors found Bank of America and former Countrywide executive Rebecca Mairone liable for defrauding government-controlled mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac through the sale of shoddy loans by the former Countrywide Financial Inc in 2007 and 2008. The case centered on a mortgage lending process known as "High Speed Swim Lane," "HSSL" or "Hustle," and which ended before Bank of America bought Countrywide in July 2008.