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Protest death toll rises to eight

Posted by Rattana_S On December - 29 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Eight people have been killed and more than 300 injured over the past two months due to the overheating political tension that led to clashes with police on Thursday and a drive-by shooting early yesterday.

An anti-government protester was shot dead and three others seriously injured by unknown gunmen at a demonstration site near Government House early yesterday morning, emergency medical staff said.

The four men were shot just after 3am on Saturday near gate number 4 at Government House, according to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s Erawan Emergency Medical Services Centre.

A man was also shot while driving near Government House about an hour later (4am), police said.

Yottana Aongart from Chumphon was shot in the torso. The bullet pierced from the right to the left side of his body. He was admitted at Klang Hospital but died shortly after.

Yottana, 26, was the eighth death in the anti-government protest. Five of these died at Ramkhamhaeng University at the start of the month, while two were killed in a clash between police and protesters at the Thai-Japanese Stadium in Din Daeng on Thursday. More than 300 others have also been injured, some seriously.

In the situation early yesterday, Saneh Lohasart was shot in the left ankle and sent to Rajavithi Hospital, while Surapong Somklaew, 19, was shot twice in the body and Pravit Thongprang, 25, shot above a knee. The latter two were sent to Ramathibodi Hospital.

Police Captain Surapol Jaihao of Nang Lerng police station said police found four bullets of unidentified sizes, plus bullet holes in an electricity generator and a concrete barrier nearby. Investigators would check close-circuit video from Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and nearby schools.

Surapol said a pickup truck “led” a car to the scene before unknown gunmen in the backseat of the car lowered the window to shoot the four men.

Forensic police went to the scene yesterday to collect evidence but said it would take time before results of the close-circuit camera investigation would emerge.

Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) spokesman Pol Major Gen Piya Uthayo said in a press conference at 1.30pm yesterday that a group of men in a gold-bronze Toyota with unidentified licence plate drove from Phitsanulok Road through Nang Lerng intersection straight to Chamai Maruchet bridge. They stopped the car and sprayed shots into barriers near the Students and People’s Network for Thailand’s Reform (STR) protest site, before fleeing toward Rama V Road.

Moreover, Sombat Nakpetch, 48, was shot in the leg while driving past Oratai Bridge near Government House as he and his wife were delivering food to police officers in Government House, Piya said.

He said the gunshots were fired from within 200 metres.

When Sombat tried to drive to a hospital, his pick-up crashed into a police booth on Rama VI Road, Piya said. Sombat was treated at Kasemrad Hospital, in Prachacheun.

Piya said police would discuss with STR on strengthening the security in the area.

People’s Democratic Reform Committee spokesman Akanat Promphan called for police to take responsibility, saying it was their duty to ensure the safety of protesters.

Deputy Metropolitan Police commissioner Maj-General Thitiraj Nonghanpitak said police would investigate thoroughly and make the case clear to prevent further conflict. He asked people not to presume who the wrongdoers are.

(Reuters) – At least 22 people were killed when a speeding commuter bus crashed off an elevated motorway onto a delivery van in the Philippine capital, Manila, early on Monday, emergency authorities said.

At least a dozen bodies had been pulled from the twisted debris of the overturned bus, police spokeswoman Elizabeth Velasquez told reporters.

“It was not clear how this accident happened,” she said.

One witness reported seeing the bus speeding in poor weather.

Rescue workers were still pulling bodies from the wreckage in a Manila suburb and at least 20 injured people had been rushed to hospital, Velasquez said.

The Philippines is notorious for its poor traffic safety record, as well as for its snarling lines of traffic in major cities.

In 2011, the Asian Development Bank said nearly 1,900 people had been killed in more than 85,000 road accidents in the Philippines.

Monday’s crash caused traffic chaos in the sprawling city of 11.5 million people.

While police said they were investigating the cause of the crash, one witness told Philippine radio she saw the bus speeding past moments before the crash.

“I was driving at 80 kph (50 mph) because it was still dark and raining when this bus overtook us,” the woman, who gave her name as Irene, told dzMM radio.

“It was probably running at more than 100 kph (60 mph). “Minutes later, I saw the bus fell off the highway. The railings on the highway were also gone.”

Transportation authorities immediately halted all other services run by bus Don Mariano Transport, saying it had figured in an unspecified number of road accidents since 2011.

(Reporting By Manuel Mogato; Editing by Paul Tait)

Suicide bomber attacks Yemen’s defense ministry: source

Posted by Rattana_S On December - 5 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

(Reuters) – At least 20 people were killed on Thursday in a car bomb and gun battle at the Yemeni defense ministry compound in the capital Sanaa, sources inside the complex said, in one of the most serious attacks in the past 18 months.

The defense ministry said the attack targeted the ministry’s hospital and most of the gunmen had been killed or wounded.

“The attackers have exploited some construction work there to carry out this criminal act … the situation is under control,” the ministry said in a statement on its website.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack. But the U.S.-allied country has been grappling with a security threat by al Qaeda-linked militants, who have repeatedly attacked government officials and installations over the past two years.

Witnesses said the explosion shook the compound in the old district of Sanaa, where the country’s central bank is also located.

“The attack took place shortly after working hours started at the ministry, when a suicide bomber drove a car into the gate,” the defense ministry source said.

“The explosion was very violent, the whole place shook because of it and plumes of smoke rose from the building,” an employee who works in a nearby building told Reuters.

Ambulance sirens and gunshots were heard after the blast as soldiers exchanged fire with the gunmen, said to have been disguised in Yemeni army uniforms, who had stormed the compound.

A military source said that at least 20 people, including militants, were killed in the attack and dozens were wounded. The Yemeni health ministry appealed to citizens to donate blood to help save the wounded.

At least two sources inside the defense ministry said the attackers came in two vehicles. One was driven by a suicide bomber who attacked the gate of the compound, while armed men entered the compound in the second, the sources said. The ministry statement made no reference to a suicide attacker.

Violence is common in Yemen, where an interim government is grappling with southern secessionists, al Qaeda-linked militants and northern Houthi rebels, as well as severe economic problems inherited from veteran President Ali Abdallah Saleh who was forced out of office in 2011.

The insurgents were emboldened by a decline in government control over the country during protests that eventually ousted Saleh. They seized several southern cities before being driven out in 2012.

Al Qaeda militants have killed hundreds of Yemeni soldiers and members of the security forces in a series of attacks since an offensive, which the United States has supported with intelligence and drones, drove them out of their strongholds.

In July last year, an al Qaeda suicide bomber wearing a Yemeni army uniform killed more than 90 people rehearsing for a military parade in Sanaa. Al Qaeda later claimed responsibility for the attack.

Yemen’s defense minister, Major General Muhammad Nasir Ahmad, escaped a car bomb on his motorcade in September 2012 that killed at least 12 other people.

(Reporting by Mohammad Ghobari; Writing by Maha El Dahan and Sami Aboudi; Editing by Rania El Gamal, Patrick Graham and Sonya Hepinstall)

More than 30 people have been found dead on a burned-out aircraft that crashed in Namibia

Police on Saturday found the burned wreckage of a Mozambican Airlines plane a day after it went missing in a remote area in northeastern Namibia, saying none of the 33 people aboard from several countries had survived.

It is one of the worst accidents on record in Mozambique’s civil aviation history.

“My team on the ground have found the wreckage. No survivors. The plane is totally burned,” Willie Bampton, a regional police coordinator in Namibia’s Kavango region, told AFP.

The aircraft, en route from Mozambique to Angola, went down in deserted, swampy terrain in the Bwabwata National Park, where Namibia turns into a narrow strip of land sandwiched between Botswana and Angola.

In Maputo, LAM, the acronym for Mozambican Airlines, had not yet officially confirmed the crash.