Boat feared sinking: official
Navy vessels were scrambling yesterday to locate an asylum seeker boat feared sinking off the Indian Ocean territory of Christmas Island, an official said. “Border Protection Command assets are currently conducting a search approximately 65 nautical miles northwest of Christmas Island for a possible foundered vessel,” a spokesman for Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said. Vessels carrying asylum-seekers are regularly overcrowded with scores of people. The country is facing a steady influx of asylum-seekers arriving by boat, many paying people-smugglers for passage on leaky wooden vessels after fleeing their home countries. Hundreds have died making the treacherous journey over the past few years.
Five gang suspects killed
Five men believed to be members of a crime gang were killed yesterday, and two of them beheaded in a suspected revenge attack, police said. Hooded gunmen broke into the shack where the gang was staying in the northern town of Bugallon and shot two of the men in the hands and feet, Senior Inspector Ryan Manongdo said. The gunmen then beheaded the two wounded men before shooting dead the three others, Manongdo added. A 14-year-old boy who was related to all five men witnessed the grisly attack, but was unharmed, police said. “The victims were allegedly engaged in illegal activities,” the police spokesman said. Manongdo said police were looking into the possibility that the killings were carried out by a family previously targeted by the gang.
Hero dog returns from US
The dog that lost half her face saving the lives of two girls has returned home after treatment in the US. Filipino veterinarian Anton Lim who accompanied the dog — named Kabang — yesterday said the mixed-breed whose snout and upper jaw had been sheared off was treated at the University of California, Davis, veterinary hospital for seven months with US$27,000 in donations. Kabang suffered the massive injuries in December 2011 when she jumped into the path of a motorcycle, stopping it from running over her owner’s daughter and niece. Kabang won widespread sympathy because of her injuries from what has been described as a heroic act.
Drone strike kills 7: officials
A suspected US drone strike killed seven militants near the Afghan border on Friday, intelligence officials said. The missiles struck a compound in Mangrothi village in the Shawal area, along the border dividing the North and South Waziristan tribal regions, the two officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information. Many Pakistanis oppose US drone strikes because they say the strikes kill large numbers of innocent civilians — something the US denies — and end up breeding more extremism by those seeking retribution. The country’s new prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, who was sworn in on Wednesday, has lashed out against the US drone program. During his campaign, he sometimes criticized the US and its policy of using drones to kill militants in the country’s tribal areas. Speaking to parliament earlier this week, he once again called for an end to the drone policy. “This daily routine of drone attacks, this chapter shall now be closed,” Sharif said to widespread applause. “We do respect others’ sovereignty. It is mandatory on others that they respect our sovereignty.”