Mexican drug cartel at work
Anti-drug police said yesterday they had arrested three people connected to Mexico’s feared Sinoloa drug cartel while they were storing narcotics. The two Philippine citizens and one Filipino-Chinese were arrested in a raid on Wednesday in Lipa City, 75km south of Manila, after weeks of intelligence operations by local and US anti-narcotics personnel. Seized in the raid were 84kg of methamphetamine hydrochloride, popularly known as “ice” or “shabu,” as well as two firearms, police officials said. However the actual members of the Mexican cartel were not there during the raid, said Senior Superintendent Bartolome Tobias, head of a drugs task force. “We have previously had reports that the Mexicans are here and ... this is the first time we have confirmed that indeed, the Mexicans are already here,” he said. He said a Philippine-American named Gary Torres and two Mexicans known as “Jaime” and “Joey” were being sought in connection with the seized drugs.
Ex-CCP leader’s widow dies
The widow of a former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader ousted after the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests has died at age 95. Friends of Zhao Ziyang’s (趙紫陽) family said they were notified of the death of Liang Boqi (梁伯琪) at Beijing Hospital on Wednesday night. No cause of death was given. Zhao helped promote reforms that launched the country’s economic boom, but was purged after he called for compromise and expressed sympathy for some of the students’ demands during the protests. He was accused of splitting the CCP and placed under house arrest after the military crushed the protests. Zhao died in 2005 at age 85.
Bombings target Christians
Militants targeted Christians in three separate Christmas Day bombings in Baghdad, killing at least 37 people, officials said on Wednesday. In one attack, a car bomb went off near a church in the capital’s southern Dora neighborhood, killing at least 26 people and wounding 38, a police officer said. Earlier, two bombs ripped through a nearby outdoor market simultaneously in the Christian section of Athorien, killing 11 people and wounding 21, the officer said. The Iraq-based leader of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Louis Sako, said the parked car bomb exploded after Christmas Mass and that none of the worshipers were hurt. Sako said he did not believe the church was the target.
UN force attacks rebels
A special UN force in the east of the country used helicopters on Wednesday to fire on Ugandan rebels and help government troops retake the town of Kamango after an attack that killed civilians. “South African helicopters in the UN intervention force were asked by FARDC [the army] to give them support to recapture Kamango,” said a senior officer with the UN mission to the country who declined to be identified. The rebel attack took place before dawn, said Teddy Kataliko, head of the civil society in the Beni region where Kamango is located. “We have 10 people kidnapped, 11 civilians and five soldiers wounded, and several civilians killed, as well as homes burned, by the attackers,” Kataliko said, adding that the rebels were “now heading towards the town of Nobili,” on the Ugandan border, where more than 150,000 people have taken refuge from the fighting.
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