3 hurt after car deliberately rams people in southern France

Google map showing the general location of Toulouse, France.
Updated 10 November 2017
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3 hurt after car deliberately rams people in southern France

TOULOUSE, France: A man deliberately drove his car into a group of people outside a school near Toulouse in southern France on Friday, injuring three Chinese students, police sources said.
The driver of the vehicle, a 28-year-old man, was known to police for committing minor offenses but was not on a terrorism watchlist, the sources said. He was arrested at the scene.
One of the students, a young woman, was being treated for serious head injuries.
“For the moment, it is not being looked at as a terrorist incident although it is also not ruled out,” the Toulouse prosecutor said in a statement.
The driver has long suffered from psychological problems and was hospitalized until Dec. 2016, the prosecutor said.
More than 240 people have been killed in France since early 2015 in attacks by Islamist militants or assailants inspired by the Daesh group.
Monday will mark the second anniversary of attacks in Paris that killed more than 130 people.
Earlier this week, French police arrested nine people and another was arrested in Switzerland in coordinated counter-terrorism swoops.


Philippines verifying photos of China military aircraft on disputed reef

Updated 19 April 2018
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Philippines verifying photos of China military aircraft on disputed reef

  • China claims almost the entire South China Sea, host to islands claimed separately by Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam
  • China and Southeast Asian countries started negotiations in Vietnam last month on a code of conduct in the South China Sea

MANILA: The Philippines may lodge a protest with China against the reported presence of two military aircraft on a Chinese-built island in the South China Sea, the top Philippine diplomat said, amid concern that China is militarizing the waterway.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer published pictures on Wednesday that it said showed two military transport aircraft on the tarmac of Mischief Reef, which the Philippines claims.
The reef is the closest of the artificial islands that China has developed to the Philippines, and within its 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone.
The newspaper said the photos were taken in January this year. Reuters could not verify the authenticity or date of the pictures.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano told reporters the defense and military establishments had been asked to confirm the presence of the aircraft, after which the Philippines could ask China to explain it.
“Filing a protest is one of the diplomatic actions being considered, pending a confirmation from the defense department,” Cayetano said, adding the Philippines has proposed claimants reverse defense enhancements in the Spratly islands.
“Many claimants are putting embankments, radar, and other defensive mechanisms, the challenge now is how to stop it and roll it back,” he added.
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, a strategic waterway where about $3 trillion worth of sea-borne goods pass every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have conflicting claims in the sea.
The Inquirer showed what it said were surveillance photos obtained from an unnamed source, showing what appeared to be two Xian Y-7 transport planes.
The military declined to comment and China’s embassy in Manila did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
China’s Defense Ministry also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Cayetano said claimants were talking to each other as well as “non-regional players” to resolve disputes and avoid a regional arms race.
China and Southeast Asian countries started negotiations in Vietnam last month on a code of conduct in the South China Sea, starting with “less sensitive and less controversial” issues, he said.
Cayetano said they had identified common issues before discussing contentious provisions, such as whether the code would be legally binding and include sanctions against offenders.
He said there was no time frame for conclusion and adoption of the code.
The drafting of the code has been met with widespread skepticism, with some experts convinced China’s uncharacteristic support for it is aimed at placating Southeast Asian states while buying time to completes its military installations in the sea.