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Saturday, July 05, 2014 - Updated: 4:08 AM

Clashes erupt in Jerusalem

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.

Obama pushes for immigration overhaul

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Celebrating the ethnic diversity of America, President Barack Obama said more than two dozen foreign-born service members who became U.S. citizens at the White House on the Fourth of July are vivid reminders that welcoming immigrants "is central to our way of life."

He pleaded anew for new immigration policies, saying the vast range of backgrounds and experiences that has made America a melting pot for more than 200 years also makes the country stronger. He argued that the system must be retooled for the U.S. to remain the greatest nation on earth.

"The basic idea of welcoming immigrants to our shores is central to our way of life, it is in our DNA," Obama said after the 25 service members representing 15 countries raised their right hands and pledged allegiance to the United States.

"From all these different strands, we make something new here in America. And that's why, if we want to keep attracting the best and brightest from beyond our borders, we're going to have to fix our immigration system, which is broken," he said. "Pass common-sense immigration reform.

The immigration issue is earning renewed attention because of the influx to the U.S. of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America. Under U.S. law, they must be returned to their home countries, angering immigration advocates who already take issue with Obama's enforcement of deportations. They want Obama to allow the children to stay.

Al-Maliki will fight militants

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.

Italy fails to fingerprint migrants

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.

Germany summons US envoy

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.

     

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