By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Dan Williams GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pressed regional proxies to nail down a Gaza ceasefire on Friday as the civilian death toll soared, threatening to spread Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed to the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. With Israel and Islamist Hamas setting seemingly irreconcilable terms for a truce that mediators hope will begin by a major Muslim festival next week, Kerry worked the phones from Egypt while aides made clear his patience was limited. The urgency was spurred on Thursday by the killing of 15 people sheltering at a U.N.-run school in the northern Gaza Strip, which local officials blamed on Israeli shelling. Israel said its forces had come under attack from Palestinian militants in the area of the school and that they had shot back.
Back in 2012, the Sun erupted with a powerful solar storm that just missed the Earth but was big enough to "knock modern civilization back to the 18th century," NASA said. The extreme space weather that tore through Earth's orbit on July 23, 2012, was the most powerful in 150 years, according to a statement posted on the US space agency website Wednesday. "If the eruption had occurred only one week earlier, Earth would have been in the line of fire," said Daniel Baker, professor of atmospheric and space physics at the University of Colorado. Instead the storm cloud hit the STEREO-A spacecraft, a solar observatory that is "almost ideally equipped to measure the parameters of such an event," NASA said.