Trip wire injures troops
The military said troops on a jungle patrol hit a trip wire planted by Muslim militants. It wounded 22 soldiers, five of them critically. The bomb exploded on southern Basilan Island yesterday near a camp of Abu Sayyaf rebels that troops captured during fighting last month. Military commander Colonel Ricardo Visaya said the soldiers were clearing the camp of leftover explosives when they walked into the trip wire hidden in thick vegetation.
Urban forest gets reprieve
A court has halted extension work on a mall amid a public outcry over plans to cut down almost 200 trees in a popular urban forest. The court in northern Baguio yesterday issued a temporary environmental protection order stopping SM malls, one of the country’s biggest chains, from uprooting the trees in downtown Baguio, known as the city of pines and the country’s summer capital. SM Prime Holdings had previously secured permission to expand the existing mall and promised to replant the towering Alnus trees in another location to make room for a new multilevel development. Environmentalists objected and took to the site at midnight when workers began clearing the land.
Gang leader gets 28 years
A motorcycle gang leader has been sentenced to 28 years in prison for murdering a brother of a rival gang member during a brawl at Sydney Airport. Comanchero national president Mahmoud “Mick” Hawi was found guilty by a New South Wales state Supreme Court jury in November last year of the March 2009 murder of Anthony Zervas, the brother of Hells Angels member Peter Zervas. Justice Robert Allan Hulme yesterday set a non-parole period of 21 years for the 31-year-old and a maximum of 28 years for the murder. A rolling brawl between rival gangs erupted in the country’s busiest airport after a chance encounter between Hawi and Hells Angels boss Derek Wainohu on a flight from Melbourne.
Sectarian attack kills six
Gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on Shiite Muslims in the country’s southwest on Monday, killing six in an apparent sectarian attack, police said. Three other Shiites were wounded in the attack on a shoe store in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan Province, police officer Hamid Shakil said. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Sunni militants with ideological and operational links to al-Qaeda and the Taliban have carried out scores of bombings and shootings against minority Shiites in recent years.
Amitabh to have CT scan
The country’s favorite film star, Amitabh Bachchan, was preparing for a medical scan yesterday after suffering from “horrendous” pain less than two months after undergoing abdominal surgery. The 69-year-old Bollywood legend said on his blog that he had been struck down on Sunday night. “I rose from my desk to get to bed, but excruciating pain, stopped me in my tracks and I found it difficult to walk to stand to sit to lie down. Quite horrendous!” he wrote. “This was not there post operation even ... so what really is the reason for it two months down the line? I have no answer. But tomorrow [Tuesday] there should be one as I prepare for a CT Scan.” Bachchan, who still acts in several films every year, was discharged from a Mumbai hospital late in February after undergoing surgery twice for an abdominal problem.