Duterte bodyguards wounded in Philippine ambush: army

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte holds a .45-caliber pistol while Gen. Eduardo Ano, chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, looks on during a turnover ceremony for procured firearms for the military at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila on Tuesday. (Reuters)
Updated 19 July 2017
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Duterte bodyguards wounded in Philippine ambush: army

MANILA: Four of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s bodyguards were shot and wounded on Wednesday by suspected communist rebels a day after the insurgents warned of attacks, authorities said.
Duterte was not in the convoy when gunmen opened fire on two Presidential Security Group vehicles along a highway on the main southern island of Mindanao, they added.
A military official blamed the New People’s Army — the 4,000-member armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines — for the ambush.
“This is part of their nationwide call for armed groups to oppose martial law by launching intensified offensives against government forces,” Brig. Gen. Gilberto Gapay, a senior Mindanao military official, told radio station DZBB in Manila.
The ambush came a day after Duterte asked Congress for authorization to place Mindanao under martial law until December to defeat Daesh group-styled militants fighting security forces in the city of Marawi.
A 60-day martial rule is already in place over the island after the militants attacked Marawi on May 23, but Duterte conceded Tuesday he needed more time to defeat the Daesh-styled gunmen.
The communist party, which has been waging Asia’s longest insurgency, called on its armed wing on Tuesday to launch offensives in response to Duterte’s extended martial law plan.
The wounded soldiers were on their way to another Mindanao city when they ran into a checkpoint manned by guerrillas, their commander Louie Dagoy told reporters.
“Our troops were able to fire back and they called for help from a nearby militia base,” a regional military spokesman, Major Ezra Balagtey, told AFP.
The communist insurgency that began in 1968 has claimed an estimated 30,000 lives, according to the military.
The rebels have been in on-and-off peace talks with the government since Duterte, a self-described socialist, was elected last year.
They were set to resume formal negotiations next month.
On Tuesday Duterte denounced the rebels for their alleged treachery in killing soldiers.
Saying the rebels were targeting soldiers who are not allowed to carry their assault rifles when they went off-duty, Duterte announced he was providing all of them with pistols for self-defense.
“The majority of the people have repudiated communism with all its brutality, and (they have) nothing really to offer to the country. It’s almost bankrupt,” Duterte added.


Eiffel Tower evacuated after climber spotted on monument

Updated 26 min 52 sec ago
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Eiffel Tower evacuated after climber spotted on monument

PARIS: The Eiffel Tower was evacuated on Monday afternoon after a man was spotted climbing up the Paris landmark, the company that operates the structure said.
"A climber has been spotted. It's the standard procedure. We have to stop the person, and in that case we evacuate the tower," an official with the SETE operator told AFP, adding that police were on the scene.
The esplanade underneath the monument was also evacuated.
"We kindly advise our visitors to postpone their visit," the SETE added on Twitter.
Police have made contact with the climber but do not yet know why he began his ascent via the iron beams, a police source told AFP.
The tower is regularly the target of rogue freeclimbers hoping to scale one of the world's most famous structures, often for bragging rights.

An unidentified man (L) climbs the Eiffel Tower, which had to be evacuated, in Paris, France, May 20, 2019. (Reuters)

But police have also been called in several times in recent years to try to thwart suicide attempts.
In October 2017, a young man ventured out on one of the beams and threatened to jump before police were able to convince him to come back.
In 2012, a British man managed to climb to the very top of the 324-metre-high tower before plunging to his death.
Nearly seven million people a year visit the 324-metre-high structure, which last week celebrated its 130th anniversary.


The first two floors can be reached by either elevator or stairs, but only elevators whisk people to the top observation deck.
That didn't stop the French urban freeclimber Alain Robert from making it one of his first targets in his campaign to scale the world's biggest buildings with no technical climbing gear.
He got to the top -- not including the antenna-- in the mid 1990s.