Governor says N.C. dodges bullet from Arthur as it skirts along U.S. Eastern Seaboard
KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. (AP) -- Proving far less damaging than feared, Hurricane Arthur left tens of thousands of people without power Friday in a swipe at North Carolina’s dangerously exposed Outer Banks, then brought lousy Fourth of July beach weather to the Northeast as it veered out to sea.
The weather along the narrow barrier islands -- whose beaches draw hundreds of thousands of tourists every summer -- had already cleared by Friday afternoon as Arthur scooted north and its outer bands scraped the Delaware and New Jersey shores. Forecasters predicted the storm would weaken before its center moves over western Nova Scotia in Canada early Saturday.
While state and local officials worked to restore access to Hatteras Island and help those who had suffered storm and flooding damage, the effects of the hurricane were mostly confined to that part of the state. Farther south, the beaches were once again packed with people soaking up the sun.
"The North Carolina beaches are open for business and they’re open for tourists," Gov. Pat McCrory said. "The umbrellas are going up as we speak right now."
Arthur struck North Carolina as a Category 2 storm with winds of 100 mph late Thursday, taking about five hours to move across the far eastern part of the state.
French police say mother stabs teacher to death in front of kindergarten class
PARIS (AP) -- The mother of a pupil at a French pre-school stabbed a teacher to death in front of her class Friday, the last day of the school year, authorities said.
The education minister said the mother apparently had "serious psychiatric problems," and pledged support for teachers in the face of angry or violent parents. Police said the mother was taken into custody.
Deadly attacks in a school are extremely rare in France, and the stabbing in front of a class of 5- and 6-year-olds raised concern at the highest levels. French President Francois Hollande expressed outrage at the attack at the Edouard Herriot school in Albi in southern France.
Education Minister Benoit Hamon traveled immediately to the school, and told reporters that the mother of a pupil "committed this abominable act in a class against a remarkable teacher." A police official said the mother stabbed the teacher with a knife soon after school started Friday morning.
Hamon said the attacker’s child had been in the school only for a month and a half, and the mother had had very little contact with the school staff until Friday. It was unclear whether her 5-year-old daughter was in class at the time of the attack.
Iraq’s al-Maliki says he will fight until militants defeated; political impasse drags on
BAGHDAD (AP) -- Despite mounting pressure to step aside, Iraq’s Nouri al-Maliki vowed Friday not to abandon his bid for another term as prime minister and pledged to stay on until the Sunni militants who have overrun much of the country are defeated.
The sharp words are certain to prolong the political impasse gripping Iraq, which is facing urgent demands for a new government that can hold the nation together in the face of an onslaught that threatens to cleave it in three along ethnic and sectarian lines.
The offensive by militants who have swept across much of northern and western Iraq since last month has been fueled in part by grievances among the country’s Sunni Muslim minority with al-Maliki and his Shiite-led government.
Al-Maliki, a Shiite who has been prime minister since 2006, has been accused by former allies and others of monopolizing power and contributing to the crisis by failing to promote reconciliation with Sunnis.
The U.S. has urged the formation of a more inclusive government but has not explicitly called for al-Maliki to bow out.
Amid declines in private sector union membership, unions for gov’t workers gaining
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Unions representing government workers are expanding while organized labor has been shedding private sector members over the past half-century.
A majority of union members today now have ties to a government entity, at the federal, state or local levels.
Roughly 1-in-3 public sector workers is a union member, compared with about 1-in-15 for the private sector workforce last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, 11.3 percent of wage and salary workers in the United States are unionized, down from a peak of 35 percent during the mid-1950s in the strong post-World War II recovery.
The typical union worker now is more likely to be an educator, office worker or food or service industry employee rather than a construction worker, autoworker, electrician or mechanic. Far more women than men are among the union-label ranks.
In a blow to public sector unions, the Supreme Court ruled this week that thousands of health care workers in Illinois who are paid by the state cannot be required to pay fees that help cover a union’s cost of collective bargaining.
Germany summons U.S. envoy over arrest of man reported to have spied for U.S.
BERLIN (AP) -- Germany summoned the U.S. ambassador in Berlin on Friday following the arrest of a man reported to have spied for the United States, heightening friction between the two countries over alleged U.S. eavesdropping in Germany.
U.S. Ambassador John B. Emerson was called in "in connection with an investigation by the federal prosecutor," the German Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The U.S. envoy "was asked to help in the swift clarification" of the case, it added.
Federal prosecutors say a 31-year-old German man was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of spying for foreign intelligence services. They did not identify the suspect or the intelligence services.
German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters that Chancellor Angela Merkel been personally informed of the arrest.
He declined to comment on reports by Der Spiegel magazine and the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung that the man worked for Germany’s foreign intelligence service, known by its German acronym BND.
Clashes erupt in Jerusalem as Arab teen killed in alleged revenge attack buried
JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israeli police clashed with rock-throwing Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem on Friday as thousands mourned at the funeral for an Arab teen who Palestinians say was killed by Israeli extremists in a revenge attack.
Palestinian militants, meanwhile, fired rockets and mortars from the Gaza Strip into Israel, and the Jewish state later carried out several airstrikes on what it described as "Hamas terror targets" in Gaza. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
Also, the Israeli military said its troops opened fire after spotting two Palestinians planting explosives near the Gaza border fence.
An ambulance carried the body of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, wrapped in a Palestinian flag and traditional headscarf, to a mosque in the east Jerusalem neighborhood where he lived. Then mourners carried the open casket through the crowd to a cemetery.
During the procession, scores of masked Palestinians threw rocks at Israeli police on duty nearby, and they responded with stun grenades, spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. He said more than 2,000 people attended the funeral.
Italy fails to fingerprint thousands of migrants, despite EU law
MILAN (AP) -- Every day, boatloads of refugees arrive on Italian shores. European Union law requires Italy to fingerprint them, so that if they apply for asylum in another country they can be sent back to their port of entry. Instead, Italy is letting thousands of migrants slip quietly into northern Europe, with no record of their time in Italy.
An Associated Press analysis of EU and Italian data suggests that as many as a quarter of the migrants who should have been fingerprinted in the first half of the year were not. While EU law required Italy to share fingerprints for about 56,700 of the migrants, only 43,382 sets were sent.
Even accounting for possible delays in sending fingerprints to Brussels, it’s clear that thousands of refugees are slipping through the cracks.
"It’s a very serious problem," European Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem told the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter this week. After complaints from member states, the European Commission is studying whether Italy is living up to its EU obligations. The Italian government didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment.
EU countries are angry that they can’t send migrants back to their first port of entry when there is no record of where that was. Human rights officials also worry that the refugees can’t benefit from U.N. protections for refugees if they don’t officially exist.
Brazil holds off Colombia to reach World Cup semifinals for 1st time since 2002
FORTALEZA, Brazil (AP) -- Brazil made its way into the World Cup semifinals for the first time in 12 years by beating Colombia 2-1 Friday, with the goals coming from defenders Thiago Silva and David Luiz.
Brazil, which had been eliminated in the quarterfinals at the last two World Cups, will next play Germany on Tuesday.
Silva gave Brazil the lead in the seventh minute, scoring with his left knee after a corner from Neymar. Luiz added the second from a free kick in the 69th, sending a swerving long-range shot into the top of the net.
Colombia got one back in the 80th when striker James Rodriguez scored his tournament-leading sixth goal from the penalty spot.