Military bombs MILF areas
Military planes dropped bombs and fired rockets yesterday into areas where Muslim insurgents are believed to be holding out in Mindanao, officials said. “They were continuing to drop bombs in MILF [Moro Islamic Liberation Front] positions,” MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu said by phone. He said rebels destroyed a military armored personnel carrier early yesterday near the town of Guindulungan while troops retaliated by calling in OV-10 planes to drop bombs into the area. The military headquarters in Manila confirmed the air assaults.
Scientists clone buffalo
Scientists in Haryana state have cloned a buffalo using fetal tissue, a report said yesterday. The female calf, named Garima, weighed 43kg and was born at the National Dairy Research Institute in the city of Karnal, the Hindu newspaper said. “Garima is absolutely healthy and we are fully optimistic about her survival,” institute director A.K. Srivastava was quoted as saying. Scientists cloned the world’s first buffalo in February, but it died of pneumonia within a week. It was created from the ear tissue of a female buffalo.
Military deserters pardoned
The president yesterday marked a key Buddhist celebration by granting a pardon to 585 jailed military deserters, officials said. The pardon applied to deserters serving up to a year in jail after being convicted by a military court. The amnesty announcement coincided with Boson, the celebration of the arrival of Buddhism to the island more than 2,500 years ago. “They were released from the main prison in Colombo and several other jails across the country,” an official said. Most of the desertions took place several years ago, a military official said.
Hostage escapes captors
A hostage escaped from her al-Qaeda-linked captors as they tried to evade a marine offensive that killed three kidnappers, officials said yesterday. The woman had been abducted by Abu Sayyaf militants on Feb. 3 on Basilan Island. She fled from her captors’ jungle hideout late on Saturday and was found by villagers before dawn yesterday in Sumisip township. Lea Laping is the latest of several hostages to escape from the Abu Sayyaf, a group that is on a US list of terrorist organizations because of its al-Qaeda links and involvement in kidnappings, beheadings and bombings. The group has been weakened by years of US-backed offensives, but security officials worry that kidnappings for ransom could revive the group and have been cracking down.
Prisoners making explosives
Concerns were raised on Friday about security in British jails, even high-security ones, after it emerged that prisoners have been building scores of homemade explosive devices. Ministry of Justice statistics show there had been 334 recorded incidents since 1997 involving suspected explosive devices in England and Wales, of which 80 were found to be “viable.” Prison officers warned of a rise in the number of extremists in jail. “Over the past 10 to 15 years the length of prison sentences and the nature of people being sent to prison has changed dramatically,” said Glyn Travis, assistant general secretary of the Prison Officers’ Association. “As a result there are now an awful lot of people with time on their hands.”
PM readies policy address
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he’ll deliver a major policy address next week in the wake of repeated US calls for a freeze in West Bank settlement construction. Ahead of yesterday’s weekly Cabinet meeting, Cabinet Minister Yisrael Katz said Israel cannot end “normal life” in the settlements. He said he hopes the Americans will respect past, unofficial understandings to allow at least minimal construction to continue.
Fianna Fail suffers in polls
Prime Minister Brian Cowen’s party suffered a vote collapse in two parliamentary by-elections and faces heavy losses in local councils, exit polls and first results showed on Saturday. Cowen’s centrist Fianna Fail party had not been expected to win either of the by-elections in Dublin, but the scale of the drubbing was unexpected. Enda Kenny, leader of the main opposition Fine Gael party, said Cowen’s government was no longer credible and said he would table a motion of no-confidence in him in parliament this week. An exit poll for public broadcaster RTE and the Sunday Independent newspaper suggested that Fianna Fail was also set to suffer a backlash from angry voters in the battle for over 1,600 local council seats.
Chechen aide assassinated
An aide to the deputy prime minister of Chechnya has been shot dead in the latest murder of an official in the Caucasus region, Interfax and RIA-Novosti news agencies said yesterday. Musost Khutiyev was killed on Saturday with a pistol shot to the head in the town of Argun just outside the Chechen capital of Grozny. He had been working as an aide to the deputy prime minister in the local government.
World War I vet turns 113
One of the nation’s last surviving veterans of World War I has celebrated his 113th birthday. Henry Allingham, who is also Britain’s oldest man, marked the occasion on Saturday with a cake and a party with family and friends. His cake was delivered by the Royal Marines, and a Royal Navy helicopter flew overhead. Allingham joined the Royal Naval Air Service in 1915. Allingham and 110-year-old Harry Patch are the only two surviving World War I veterans in Britain.
Lost runners found
The Royal Air Force located four runners who went missing when severe weather hit a 35km race in the Snowdonia mountain range in Wales on Saturday in which 245 runners were taking part. Eight people, including a runner with hypothermia, were hospitalized. Helicopters airlifted at least 20 people to safety after treacherous winds and heavy rain swept in.
Never too late for a diploma
A 90-year-old suburban Chicago woman who dropped out of school to help her family during the Great Depression now has her high school diploma. Eleanor Benz left Chicago Public Schools’ Lake View High in 1936 during her senior year to take a job. Over the following decades she moved to the suburb of Gurnee and had 15 children, 54 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren. Benz attended night school for typing and bookkeeping, but she recently told one of her daughters that never completing high school was one of her greatest disappointments. Her children contacted Lake View, and the school approved Benz’s diploma.
West needs ‘perestroika’
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev called yesterday for a perestroika, or top-to-bottom reform, in the West, arguing that its current economic model was “unsustainable” and needed replacement. Commenting on the current global economic crisis, the former Soviet president, who presided over the collapse of his country, said it was now clear to him “that the new Western model was an illusion that benefited chiefly the very rich. “The model that emerged during the final decades of the 20th century has turned out to be unsustainable,” he wrote in the Washington Post.
Obama speech SMS’d
More than 20,000 people outside the country received free text messages about President Barack Obama’s speech to Muslims in Cairo, Egypt. White House Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough said on Saturday that the State Department’s free message program helped spread Obama’s words of engagement to countries with predominantly Muslim populations. The messages were available in Arabic, Persian, Urdu and English. The text-messaging service was not available in the US. Law forbids taxpayer dollars to be used domestically for propaganda. The tech-savvy White House sought to reinforce Obama’s message in every way possible, including distributing a transcript in 13 other languages.
Plane avoids flying object
Investigators in Texas said a flying object that narrowly missed a Continental Express plane last month may have been a large model rocket. The jet’s pilot and co-pilot spotted the object and a long white vapor trail shortly after they took off from Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport on May 29. The plane was bound for Greenville, South Carolina. Pilots spotted the object at about 4,900m. It was about 2m long. Liberty County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Ken DeFoor told the Houston Chronicle that no model rocket clubs reported having launches that day and that a permit would be needed to launch a rocket that high.
Parents bury their children
The death toll from a fire at a daycare center in Hermosillo rose to 38 children with 23 more hospitalized, many with life-threatening burns, authorities said on Saturday. President Felipe Calderon ordered an investigation into Friday’s fire at the ABC daycare center in the northern city of Hermosillo to find who is to blame and later visited hospitals where survivors were being treated. Three additional children have died and more seriously burnt victims remained in the hospital, Health Minister Raymundo Lopez said on Saturday. Smoke inhalation killed many children before rescuers could reach them, with the victims ranging in age from a few months old to about three years old.
PASTA PUNCHLINE: Billy McLean’s spoof poking fun at misinformation on the coronavirus was meant for friends, but is being eaten up by frazzled Britons It started off as an ad-libbed joke for some friends in a soccer banter group and ended up being heard by vast numbers of Britons within hours. However, the man responsible for a joke WhatsApp audio clip that claimed the UK Ministry of Defence was about to requisition Wembley Stadium to cook the world’s biggest lasagna has said his viral success also shows the risks of believing everything that gets sent to you on the messaging service. Billy McLean, a 29-year-old Londoner who works in software sales, came forward to the Guardian to identify himself as the creator of the much-shared clip
‘AN HONORABLE TASK’: The brigade to Italy is the sixth contingent of doctors the nation has sent abroad to aid governments contending with the COVID-19 pandemic Cuba has dispatched doctors and nurses to Italy for the first time this weekend to help fight COVID-19 at the request of the worst-affected region Lombardy, it said. The Caribbean nation has sent its “armies of white robes” to disaster sites around the world largely in poor countries since its 1959 revolution, with doctors on the front lines in the fight against cholera in Haiti and against ebola in West Africa in the 2010s. Yet with the 52-strong brigade, this is the first time Cuba has sent an emergency contingent to Italy, one of the world’s richest countries, demonstrating the reach of
There are growing concerns for the health of Rokia Traore, a Malian singer who has been on hunger strike at the Fleury-Merogis Prison near Paris since she was arrested on March 10 on allegations of kidnapping her daughter in a child custody dispute. “I am very worried,” said Kenneth Feliho, her lawyer. “She is only drinking. She has not been eating for over a week and her immune system is weak.” Among those calling for the musician’ release are African stars including Salif Keita, Youssou N’Dour and Angelique Kidjo. Damon Albarn, who performed with her in the group Africa Express, wrote: “We demand,
FATAL IDEA: The nation’s drugs regulator is curbing use of hydroxychloroquine, which Donald Trump has promoted for its alleged potential to treat COVID-19 Australia’s drug regulator has been forced to restrict powers to prescribe a drug undergoing clinical trials to treat COVID-19, because doctors have been inappropriately prescribing it to themselves and their family members, despite potentially deadly side effects. The anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine and the similar compound chloroquine are currently used mostly for patients with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, but stocks in Australia have been diminished thanks to global publicity — including from US President Donald Trump — about the potential of the drug to treat COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have potentially severe and even deadly side effects if used inappropriately, including