A man stormed a high-rise construction site in downtown Auckland early Thursday morning, shooting at terrified workers and killing two people hours before New Zealand planned to host the first game of the FIFA Women's World Cup tournament. The gunman was found dead after a police shootout, during which an officer was shot and wounded. Four civilians were also injured. The shooting happened near hotels where Team Norway and other soccer teams have been staying.

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said the tournament would go ahead as scheduled. Police said there would be heightened security at the tournament's opening game to help reassure fans, and FIFA said a minute of silence would be observed before each of the two opening games. "Clearly with the FIFA World Cup kicking off this evening, there are a lot of eyes on Auckland," Hipkins said. "The government has spoken to FIFA organisers this morning and the tournament will proceed as planned."

An American soldier who had served nearly two months in a South Korean prison, fled across the heavily armed border into North Korea, U.S. officials said, becoming the first American detained in the North in nearly five years. Private 2nd Class Travis King had been held on assault charges and was released on July 10 after serving his time. He was being sent home to Fort Bliss, Texas, on Monday, where he could have faced additional military disciplinary actions and discharge from the service.

According to officials, King, 23, was taken to the airport and escorted as far as customs. But instead of getting on the plane, he left the airport and later joined a tour of the Korean border village of Panmunjom. He bolted across the border, which is lined with guards and often crowded with tourists, on Tuesday afternoon local time in Korea.

Wheat prices rose sharply on global markets after Russia said it would treat ships heading for Ukrainian ports as potential military targets. Moscow pulled out of a deal this week that had guaranteed safe passage for grain shipments through the Black Sea. A White House spokesperson accused Russia of planning to blame Ukraine for attacks on civilian ships. Russia's President Vladimir Putin said he would return to the grain agreement immediately if his demands were met. They include reconnecting Russia's agricultural bank to a global payment system.

A Russian air strike on the Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv wounded 18 people on Wednesday night, according to a local official. The region's governor Vitaliy Kim said nine of the injured, including five children, were taken to hospital for treatment. Other air strikes were reported on the port of Odessa.

A video showing two women being paraded naked by a mob in the violence-hit northeastern state of Manipur has sparked outrage in India. The police say they have opened a case of gang rape and arrested a man, adding that others will be held soon. On Thursday, the monsoon session of parliament was disrupted as lawmakers demanded a discussion on the issue. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also said the incident had "shamed India" and that "no guilty will be spared".

Police said the assault on the women took place on 4 May but it made national headlines on Thursday after the video started going viral on social media. The federal government has asked all social media companies to delete the video from their platforms. At least 130 have died and 60,000 have been displaced since ethnic clashes started between the Meitei and Kuki communities in May in Manipur.

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