By Amanda Becker WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An Illinois healthcare worker's legal challenge of mandatory union dues from public employees reaches a climax on Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court is due to rule in the case at the final session of its nine-month term. If the justices agree with the sweeping argument made by home healthcare worker Pamela Harris that compulsory union dues are forced association and speech prohibited by the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment, it would essentially establish a national right-to-work law and deliver a blow to public employee unions. Such provisions require public-sector employees to pay the portion of union dues covering non-political activities such as contract negotiations. Union-represented public employees can already opt out of paying dues that finance political activities.
The deaths of 30 boat migrants sparked anger and frustration in Italy on Monday, as critics accused the government of failing to deal with an immigration crisis which has seen over 5,000 people rescued in the last 24 hours. Rescuers had found the bodies stuffed into the hold of a fishing boat from north Africa when they boarded the vessel to help the most vulnerable of almost 600 migrants in the vessel. A navy doctor said the migrants had "likely suffocated" in the tiny space, and "advised against removing the bodies" as it was not yet clear whether there were poisonous gases in the hold which might affect others. The League has warned Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's government that plucking asylum seekers and immigrants to safety from their rickety boats only encourages more people to set out across the Mediterranean for Europe.
At least two people were killed when a bomb exploded on Monday in a busy market in Somalia's capital Mogadishu at the start of Islam's holy month of Ramadan, police said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Somalia's Al-Qaeda linked Shebab have carried out a string of similar bombings, and have vowed to increase attacks during the fasting month of Ramadan. The roadside bomb ripped through Mogadishu's Karan market, in the north of the capital, where people were busy buying food to celebrate the breaking of the fast with their families at sunset. "The market was very busy when a heavy explosion rocked the area where fruits and vegetables are sold, I saw several injured people, it was a large blast," said Ali Mohamed, a witness.
Inflation across the 18-nation eurozone was steady in June at 0.5 percent, but remained far below target against a background of concern about deflation, official data showed on Monday. Deflation is such a threat that the European Central Bank has moved into negative interest rates to get cash flowing, and authorities are closely watching inflation rates in the hope that it will edge up towards the bank's target of nearly 2.0 percent. This means that inflation is at the lowest level since the financial crisis of 2008-2009 nearly froze the market on which banks lend to each other and caused recession in several advanced economies. Inflation has been far below the ECB's target of just under 2.0 percent, threatening its statutory obligation to ensure price stability.
Pakistan's military launched a ground assault in the North Waziristan tribal area on Monday, beginning a new phase in its offensive against Taliban militants, officials said. Troops moved on Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, around 9:30 am (0430 GMT), officials said, after two weeks of air strikes and artillery bombardment of insurgent targets. Washington has long urged Islamabad to tackle militant sanctuaries in North Waziristan, a haven for Pakistani Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents.