Wednesday 18 October 2017

Muslim separatists launch series of bomb attacks in troubled Thailand

A protester poses for a photo next to signs left at the fence, by those protesting against military rule, around the Victory Monument in Bangkok. Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was in a
A protester poses for a photo next to signs left at the fence, by those protesting against military rule, around the Victory Monument in Bangkok. Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was in a "safe place" on Saturday, an aide said, after being held by the army following a coup, as opposition to the takeover grew among her supporters and pro-democracy activists.

Suspected Muslim separatists in southern Thailand launched a string of gun and bomb attacks yesterday, killing three people and wounding more than 50, government officials said.

The three southernmost provinces of predominantly Buddhist Thailand are majority Muslim and have been plagued by resistance to central government rule for decades.

The bombs exploded outside five convenience stores, two petrol stations and a hotel, officials in the region said. A bomb went off at an electricity station, cutting power in one district for up to 40 minutes, they said. Gunmen also opened fire on a navy ship a short distance offshore, the officials said.

The attacks came two days after the Thai army overthrew the central government in a coup but the Muslim separatists' campaign is not directly linked to a power struggle in Bangkok that precipitated the coup.

TURKISH DRAMA SCOOPS PALME D'OR

Turkish drama Winter Sleep has won the Palme d'Or, the top honour of the Cannes Film Festival.

Director Nuri Bilge Ceylan dedicated the award to "the young people in Turkey and those who lost their lives in the last year". A coalmine fire in Turkey recently killed 301 workers.

Running more than three hours, Winter Sleep is about a family running a hotel in the snowy Turkish hills and their strained relationship with their village tenants.

Bennett Miller won the award for best director. His wrestling drama Foxcatcher stars Channing Tatum and Steve Carell.

Best actor went to Timothy Spall, who stars as British painter JMW Turner in Mr Turner. Julianne Moore won best actress for her performance in the Hollywood satire Maps to the Stars.

ARMED CLASHES AS UKRAINE VOTES

ARMED pro-Russian separatists and a Ukrainian militia group clashed in the east of Ukraine on Friday, leaving at least two dead and heightening tension before a presidential election called to draw a line under six months of bloody upheaval.

Kiev's pro-Western leaders hope today's poll will stabilise the former Soviet republic after street protests toppled Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovich and pro-Russian separatists responded by seizing Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine.

FOUR KILLED IN ATTACK ON PARLIAMENT

TERROR group al Shabaab stormed Somalia's parliament in Mogadishu yesterday, killing at least ten in a bomb and gun assault the US called "a heinous act of terrorism".

The attack started with a car bomb at a gate to the heavily fortified parliament compound, followed by a suicide bombing andthen a gun battle that continued for hours.

A police officer confirmed four of his colleagues were killed and local media said the total death toll might number dozens.

Al Shabaab is an alQaeda-linked group that killed 67 people at a Kenyan shopping mall last year..

STOP SYRIAN CIVIL WAR, PLEADS POPE

POPE Francis called yesterday for an "urgent" end to the Syrian civil war and the refugee crisis it has spawned as he began a three-day trip to the Middle East.

During his first stop in Jordan, Francis also urged greater Christian-Muslim coexistence across the region, thanking King Abdullah II for encouraging a "climate of serene coexistence" among people of different faiths.

SUICIDE BOMB HITS HEART OF ISLAMABAD

A BOMB explosion hit the heart of the Pakistani capital Islamabad yesterday morning and police said it was caused by a suspected suicide bomber whose vest may have detonated prematurely.

The suspected bomber was in critical condition after the blast at a popular complex of shops in Islamabad but no one else was wounded, a senior policeman at the scene told Reuters.

UK TO GET TOUGH WITH EU, CLAIMS UKIP

BRITISH Prime Minister David Cameron will be forced to step up his drive to claw back powers from the European Union to head off a challenge to his leadership after losing votes to the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP), its leader Nigel Farage said. Mr Cameron has promised to give Britons a vote on EU membership by the end of 2017 if re-elected in a general election next year, in part because of UKIP's growth.

DOZENS HURT FOLLOWING EARTHQUAKE

AN EARTHQUAKE beneath the sea shook northern Greece and western Turkey yesterday, with more than 100 people reportedly injured in Turkey. The quake struck at 12.25pm local time south-west of the Greek island of Samothraki, 296km north-east of the capital Athens. It was also close to the Turkish island of Gokceada and the Greek island of Lemnos.

The quake caused 266 injuries in Turkey, including one person who was in serious condition, according to the government's emergency and disaster management agency. The injuries were mostly the result of panic, caused as people tried to rush out of buildings.

LOST YACHT SPOTTED WITH NO SIGN OF LIFE

AN AMERICAN navy helicopter crew has spotted a British yacht that went missing a week ago but found no signs of its four crew members, leaving a midnight deadline for suspending searches for the men unchanged, officials said.

The missing men, all experienced sailors, ran into trouble while returning to Britain from a sailing event in Antigua in the Caribbean. They had reported that their vessel, the Cheeki Rafiki, was taking on water.

MERKEL WON'T CHICKEN OUT OVER DEAL

GERMANY'S Angela Merkel yesterday stressed the importance of Europe striking a free trade deal with America, but added she would not allow the import of chlorine-washed chicken – a sticking point in negotiations.

SEPARATISTS ACCEPT CEASEFIRE DEAL

SEPARATIST groups in Mali on Friday accepted a ceasefire agreement with the government following clashes last week that threatened to plunged the country back into war.

The agreement was reached following a meeting between the chairman of the African Union and separatist groups in northern Mali to discuss a permanent truce and the resumption of talks between the rebels and the government in Bamako.

BRAZIL WILL STICK BOOT INTO PROTESTERS

BRAZIL has stocked up on riot gear and is ready to deploy police and military to contain anti-government protests expected during next month's World Cup, authorities said on Friday. Brazilian officials believe protests will be smaller than the massive demonstrations that unexpectedly erupted in June of last year during a warm-up event.

COMIC STAGES HUGE PRE-EU VOTE RALLY

COMIC Beppe Grillo drew tens of thousands to a Rome rally on Friday, showing the potential of his anti-establishment 5-Star Movement to surprise in yesterday's European vote as it did in the national election last year.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has a lot riding on the European Parliament vote, the first nationwide election he has faced since taking power in a party coup in February.

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