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The Journal Gazette

Friday, June 29, 2018 1:00 am


EU going ahead with plan to screen African migrants

Associated Press

BRUSSELS – European Union leaders vowed Thursday to move forward with plans to screen migrants in North Africa for asylum eligibility to try to stem the flow of those making the perilous journey to the continent by sea, part of a desperate attempt to shore up EU unity on an issue that has helped fuel a political crisis.

No North African countries have agreed so far to sign on to the plan being presented at a two-day EU summit, though possible EU funding that could bring billions in aid may prove persuasive. Italy also held up any interim agreements at the summit unless it received concrete commitments the country would get help managing the waves of newcomers that arrive from across the Mediterranean Sea.

Based on the success of an EU-Turkey deal that outsourced responsibility for stopping migrants entering Europe to the Turkish government in exchange for refugee aid, EU leaders want to expand the idea to Africa.

Thai rescuers continue search for soccer team

Rescuers in northern Thailand were scouring a mountainside Thursday in search of alternative entrances to a flooded cave where 12 boys and their soccer coach have been missing for five days.

Near-constant rain has stalled search efforts inside the cave by raising water levels and forcing elite navy SEAL divers slowly making their way through the sprawling complex to pause. Authorities have also had to switch off power to water pumps due to electrical hazards as teams work to raise power cables above the floodwaters. 

Thai rescuers have been joined by a U.S. military team and British cave experts.

The missing boys and coach entered the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai province Saturday afternoon. Authorities have expressed hope there are dry places on higher ground within the cave where the group may be able to wait.

Israeli man convicted in US bomb threats

An Israeli court on Thursday convicted a Jewish Israeli man on charges including extortion for making a string of bomb threats targeting U.S. Jewish community centers, airlines and shopping malls – capping a case that had raised fears of a wave of anti-Semitism in the United States.

Michael Ron David Kadar, 19, a dual American-Israeli citizen, was arrested in March 2017 after a trans-Atlantic investigation with the FBI and other international law enforcement agencies. Police said he used advanced technologies to mask the origin of his communications. In all, Kadar was accused of making over 2,000 threats.

According to court documents, the defense claimed the suspect was mentally ill and acted out of boredom. But the court said he had gone to great lengths to cover up his acts, proving he understood right from wrong. The judge wrote that investigators had determined the young man enjoyed making people panic and putting them in fear and stress.

Leaders from Ethiopia, Eritrea to meet 'soon'

The leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea will meet “soon” amid a surprising diplomatic thaw between the rival nations, Ethiopia's top diplomat said Thursday, as an end to one of Africa's longest-running conflicts appeared to move closer.

The meeting will “create a fertile ground to restore peace,” Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu told The Associated Press.

The minister spoke as an Eritrean delegation led by Foreign Minister Osman Saleh concluded a historic three-day visit to Ethiopia, the first in two decades. The countries broke off relations when a border war began in 1998, five years after Eritrea won independence from Ethiopia, and their leaders haven't met since signing a 2000 peace deal in Algeria. Ethiopia had refused to accept the deal's handing of key locations to Eritrea, and the countries have skirmished over the years.