Asia Briefs: Fire forces hundreds to flee Mount Apo

Fire forces hundreds to flee Mount Apo

MANILA • A raging fire on the Philippines' highest mountain forced hundreds of people to flee from the peak on foot, officials said yesterday.

Firefighters dug ditches that were 2m deep in their battle to contain the blaze - which started last Saturday afternoon and was ongoing 24 hours later - to stop it from spreading on the tourist hot spot of Mount Apo.

There were no reported injuries and nearly all of the 1,000 tourists who were on the mountain were evacuated by noon yesterday, provincial disaster official Harry Camoro said.

Mount Apo towers over the main southern island of Mindanao, at 3,142m above sea level, and is home to forest reserves and the breeding ground for the Philippines' national bird, the endangered monkey-eating eagle.


Mob assaults ex-pop star over blasphemy

ISLAMABAD • A video showing a group of angry men at a Pakistani airport assaulting a former pop star accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad's wife has gone viral, in the latest case of vigilante violence linked to blasphemy.

Mr Junaid Jamshed, one of the pioneers of Pakistani pop in the 1980s, was leaving Islamabad airport last Saturday night, when he was set upon by a group of around six men who were waiting to attack him at the exit.

The men, some wearing Western clothes while others are dressed in traditional shalwar kameez, are seen throwing punches at the 51-year-old, now a high-profile Muslim evangelist who runs a chain of clothing boutiques.

"You have committed blasphemy. Hit him, hit him," shouts one of the men in the footage.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2016, with the headline 'Asia Briefs: Fire forces hundreds to flee Mount Apo'. Print Edition | Subscribe