Asia Briefs: Nine killed in Philippine militant attack: Police

Nine killed in Philippine militant attack: Police

MANILA • Islamist gunmen killed nine people and injured 10 as they attacked a town in the Philippines at dawn yesterday, burning houses in which women and children were sleeping, police said.

About 60 members of the Abu Sayyaf kidnap-for-ransom group entered a town in their stronghold on Basilan island in the southern Mindanao region and began shooting, said local police chief John Cundo.

"This is an act of terrorism and cowardice," he said, adding that the militants fled after a 45-minute firefight.


Verdict on Yingluck: 4,000 cops to guard court

BANGKOK • More than 4,000 police officers will guard Thailand's Supreme Court on Friday when judges announce a verdict in the case of ousted prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, accused of negligence over a costly rice subsidy policy.

Thousands of supporters are expected to turn up outside the court in northern Bangkok.

Thailand's first female prime minister, toppled by a military coup in 2014, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted and a life ban from politics under the new military-drafted constitution.



HK leader defends jailing of activists

HONG KONG • Hong Kong's leader yesterday defended a court's decision to jail three leading democracy activists, including Joshua Wong, after the move triggered international criticism and a major protest march.

Their imprisonment has been slammed by international rights groups and politicians, and prompted accusations that the independence of Hong Kong's courts has been compromised under pressure from Beijing.

The three were originally given non-custodial sentences for their role in the initial protest that sparked the Umbrella Movement - months-long demonstrations and street blockades calling for democratic reforms. But the Beijing-backed Hong Kong government appealed on the grounds that the penalties were not severe enough.


3 babies die as 'drunk' employee cuts off oxygen

NEW DELHI • Three infants died in a government-run hospital in India's central state Chattisgarh after a hospital employee, who was allegedly drunk, accidentally switched off the oxygen supply, officials said yesterday.

The deaths were reported at Bhimrao Ambedkar hospital in Raipur, the capital of Chattisgarh.

Chattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh has ordered an investigation and the employee has been arrested.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2017, with the headline 'Asia Briefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe