Sunday 19 January 2020

World news in brief: Suspected al-Qaeda militants kill 11 people in southern Philippines village

SUSPECTED al-Qaeda-linked militants raided a village in the southern Philippines early yesterday, killing 11 people in the country's worst militant attack on civilians in nine years.

Gunmen from the extremist Abu Sayyaf group backed by renegade Muslim separatist rebels fired grenade launchers and automatic rifles on houses while residents were asleep, killing one government-armed militiaman and 10 civilians in the village of Tubigan on Basilan Island, said deputy regional police commander Sonny David.

"The villagers were sleeping when the Abu Sayyaf came with their guns blazing. They spared no one, not even the children," Mr David said.

The attack came in the wake of the recent killing of an Abu Sayyaf commander and the arrest of two key members. Government forces had been told to be on alert for reprisals.

Four children were among those killed, said armed forces spokesman Romeo Brawner. He corrected an earlier report that the target of the attack was the village's militia detachment. "They really attacked the villagers," he said.

One of the villagers, who are mostly citrus farmers, told police he was awakened by the sound of gunfire and saw blood oozing from his body, Mr David said.

The gunmen strafed and torched at least 10 houses before escaping, Mr David said. A 32-year-old woman and her one-year-old daughter burned to death in their house, he added.

Judges: Berlusconi trial to continue

JUDGES say Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's trial on corruption charges will continue, despite a ruling by Italy's highest appellate court that overturned the conviction of the British lawyer the Italian leader allegedly bribed.

Three judges yesterday rebuffed a bid by Mr Berlusconi's defence lawyers to suspend his trial until the high court makes public its reasons in concluding the statute of limitations had run out in the case of David Mills.

Mr Mills, estranged husband of British Olympics minister Tessa Jowell, had been found guilty by an Italian court of accepting a £400,000 (€448,000) bribe to lie in court to protect Mr Berlusconi's business interests and sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison.

Mr Berlusconi's trial in the same case restarted in December after being frozen by a now-defunct immunity law. The prime minister denies wrongdoing.

Terry can't Bridge gap with ex-friend

FOOTBALLER Wayne Bridge refused to shake hands with John Terry yesterday when he came face to face with him for the first time since it emerged his former teammate had an affair with his ex-girlfriend.

There was huge interest in how the pair would behave towards one another ahead of the game between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge in the wake of allegations about Terry and lingerie model Vanessa Perroncel, the mother of Bridge's three-year-old son. City won the tie 4-2.

See Page 21 and Sport

Karzai calls Indian leader over deaths

AFGHAN president Hamid Karzai called India's prime minister yesterday to express regret over the deaths of at least six Indians in a Taliban suicide attack in Kabul, as New Delhi sent an air force jet to repatriate the bodies.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh conveyed his country's "outrage" over Friday's assault that killed at least 16 people in all, and requested Mr Karzai "ensure full security for Indian nationals in Afghanistan", a statement from Mr Singh's office said.

It said Mr Karzai had promised a full investigation into the attack, which targeted an area of residential hotels in the Afghan capital rented by Indian embassy workers and other foreigners. An Italian diplomat and a French filmmaker also died.

RFK's grandson considers House run

A top Massachusetts Democrat says one of Robert F Kennedy's grandsons is considering running for the US House of Representatives. Joseph P Kennedy III is one of the twin sons of former Rep Joseph P Kennedy II.

The Democrat, who demanded anonymity to speak about private conversations with the father and son, says the younger Kennedy is considering running if the current office holder decides against seeking re-election.

The 29-year-old Joseph Kennedy III works as a state prosecutor and is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School.

Woods loses another top sponsor

ADD Gatorade to the list of endorsement deals that Tiger Woods has lost. A representative for the drink, sold by PepsiCo Inc, confirmed over the weekend that it had ended its relationship with the golfer, who recently made a lengthy public apology for his infidelities.

"We no longer see a role for Tiger in our marketing efforts and have ended our relationship," a Gatorade spokeswoman said. "We wish him all the best."

Obama makes last push on healthcare

US PRESIDENT Barack Obama yesterday sought to spark momentum for a final push to revive his stalled healthcare overhaul, insisting that Americans "cannot wait another generation for us to act".

Two days after a healthcare summit that produced no Republican converts, Mr Obama used his weekly radio address to try to rally public support for a Democratic bid to press ahead with reform legislation, with or without bipartisan agreement. The White House said he would announce a decision next week on "the way forward".

Gay Mardi Gras attracts thousands

THOUSANDS of people in lavish costumes and various states of undress danced and partied their way through Sydney's streets yesterday, in Australia's annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade.

The parade -- one of the world's largest and most flamboyant gay pride events -- had 9,400 participants and 135 floats and featured the theme, "History of the World" -- a look at gay history.

Thousands of spectators watched the procession, led this year by famed transsexual model Amanda Lepore.

One entrant dressed as Osama bin Laden led a group of dancing "Binlettes", who sported pink sequins and improvised "mini-burkas," which only covered the head.

Sunday Independent

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