MANILA, Philippines — Communist rebels ambushed a Philippine army platoon south of Manila on Saturday, killing at least 11 soldiers and wounding seven others in one of the military’s largest recent losses, an army spokesman said. About 60 New People’s Army guerrillas who ambushed the soldiers outside Mansalay township in Mindoro Oriental province also are thought to have suffered casualties, a spokesman for the army’s 2nd Infantry Division said. The three-hour battle ended when army reinforcements arrived and the guerrillas withdrew, he said.
Egypt: Mubarak recovering
President Hosni Mubarak underwent a successful operation in Germany on Saturday to remove his gall bladder after temporarily handing over power to the prime minister, the state-owned news agency reported. The 81-year-old leader, who has governed for nearly three decades, was diagnosed with “severe inflammation of his gall bladder” after tests at a hospital in Heidelberg, according to MENA. The head abdominal surgeon at the hospital said doctors successfully removed Mubarak’s gall bladder and a benign growth in the lining of his small intestine.
Vatican: Pope backs probe
The Vatican says it supports efforts in a German diocese to shed light on a sexual abuse scandal in a choir once led by Pope Benedict XVI’s brother. The Vatican said Saturday that the “main reason of the church’s clarification is to render justice to possible victims.” It said it was backing the Regensburg Diocese in its “willingness to analyze the painful question in a decisive and open way.” The Rev. Georg Ratzinger told German public radio he did not know of any abuse cases at the choir.
Norway: Tanker is hijacked
A chemical tanker with 21 crew members has been hijacked by Somali pirates near Madagascar, the Norwegian owner said Saturday. It was not clear whether anyone in the crew, all from Myanmar, had been injured in the attack early Friday or whether any ransom had been demanded. The CEO of Norway’s Th. Broevigtank Shipowners, said the UBT Ocean chemical tanker was on its way from the United Arab Emirates to Tanzania when it was hijacked about 300 miles from its destination. He said the 9,000-ton vessel was carrying fuel oil.
Germany: Robbers’ jackpot
A heavily armed group stormed a poker tournament in a luxury hotel Saturday afternoon and made off with a jackpot, a police spokesman said. Several participants at the tournament in Berlin’s Grand Hyatt hotel were injured when they panicked and fled following the daring afternoon heist, he said. He said four robbers in disguises forced employees to hand over money, and then managed to escape. He declined to give details, including how much money the men got away with. The jackpot for the tournament stood at $1.36 million, according to a European Poker Tour Web site.
S. Korea: Net-game addicts
A couple addicted to an Internet game about raising a virtual child were arrested for neglecting their real 3-month-old daughter and letting her starve to death, news reports said. The couple spent between four and six hours every day at Internet cafes in Suwon and bottle-fed their only baby only once a day, officials said. The couple found their baby dead on Sept. 24 when they returned home after playing online games at a nearby Internet cafe all night, Yonhap reported.
Puerto Rico: Smoke on flight
Officials said a JetBlue flight bound for Florida with 39 passengers on board was forced to return to San Juan after the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit. The Ports Authority director said Flight 1762 was en route to Fort Lauderdale when it returned to Puerto Rico’s international airport before 5 a.m. on Saturday. He said passengers evacuated the plane through emergency exits, but no one was injured.
Wisconsin: Bear gets fingers
Police said a bear bit off a woman’s fingers at a zoo after she ignored barriers and warning signs to try to feed the animal. The Lincoln Park Zoo in Manitowoc closed after the incident Friday. Police said the 47-year-old woman lost a thumb and a forefinger, and two other fingers were partially severed. The woman’s boyfriend was bitten as he tried to pry the bear’s mouth off her hand, but he didn’t lose any fingers. A mayor’s office statement said alcohol played a factor.
From Herald news services