Philippine communists call off truce

Updated 02 January 2013
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Philippine communists call off truce

MANILA: Communist insurgents in the Philippines called off a truce with the government yesterday, almost two weeks ahead of schedule, raising concerns about the future of peace talks.
The Communist Party of the Philippines blamed the government for their action but a spokesman for President Benigno Aquino said the CPP just wanted an excuse to cut the cease-fire short.
A CPP statement said the truce, originally scheduled to run from Dec. 20 to Jan. 15, had ended at noon yesterday because it believed the government only wanted a truce to remain in place until then.
“The (communist New People’s Army) and the people’s militias should immediately assume an offensive posture and confront and frustrate the enemy campaigns of suppression,” the statement said.
However Aquino’s spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the government would observe the cease-fire until Jan. 15.
He said the rebels had found an extended cease-fire to be “detrimental” to them so they chose to cut it short and blame the government.
“The CPP-NPA has always been making excuses... and now they’re coming up with other stumbling blocks to peace,” Lacierda told reporters.
The government and the CPP agreed to the cease-fire in mid-December when they held their first high-level peace talks for 13 months.
Southern Philippine military spokesman Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza said Wednesday the CPP had already violated the cease-fire.
He said communist gunmen descended on the outskirts of the southern city of Davao on Monday and Tuesday, briefly holding two government militiamen and three civilians to intimidate them.
The CPP pulled out of peace talks in November 2011 after the government rejected rebel demands to free jailed comrades whom they claimed were consultants to the negotiations.
The Maoist rebels have been waging an armed rebellion to seize power since 1969 and more than 30,000 people have died in the conflict, according to the government.
The military estimates the current NPA strength at about 4,000 fighters, significantly down from more than 26,000 at its peak in the late 1980s.


Man rams vehicle into restaurant in eastern US, kills 2; injuries

(Shutterstock image)
Updated 18 min 35 sec ago
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Man rams vehicle into restaurant in eastern US, kills 2; injuries

BESSEMER CITY, US: A man intentionally rammed a vehicle into a North Carolina restaurant busy with a lunchtime crowd Sunday, killing his daughter and another person and injuring several others, authorities said Sunday.
Bessemer City Police said in a statement that preliminary evidence indicates the man purposely drove into the Surf and Turf Lodge about noon Sunday. Footage from the scene showed emergency crews treating people on the ground outside the restaurant as shocked patrons milled about afterward. Killed was 26-year-old Katelyn Tyler Self, the daughter of the driver and a Gaston County Sheriff’s Office deputy. Authorities haven’t released the name of the second person who died.
Police said the driver, Roger Self, was arrested after the car had smashed its way fully inside into the restaurant in Bessemer City, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Charlotte. Authorities did not immediately make clear what charges Self faces though authorities said they were opening a homicide investigation.
The Gaston Gazette identified Roger Self as a businessman from Dallas, North Carolina.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police spokesman Rob Tufano called the crash a “mass casualty” incident, and reports said some of the victims were flown by helicopter to Carolinas Medical Center. There was no immediate report on the number of injured people or the severity of their injuries.
“He drove his car into the building, killing people, so that’s why we took him into custody immediately,” Bessemer City Police Chief Thomas Ellis Jr. said.
Photographs taken at the scene showed a shattered opening in a restaurant wall, where the car had smashed inside the building.
The Gaston Gazette reported that wait staff said Self had initially taken his family into the restaurant and had them seated. He then went back out to his vehicle and drove at a high rate of speed into the area where they were sitting, they said. The newspaper identified the vehicle as a sports utility vehicle.
Katelyn Self was a four-year veteran of the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Alan Cloninger told The Charlotte Observer. She worked as a corporal in the jail and was off duty when she was killed.
Cloninger choked up as he spoke about the crash.
“We’re suffering a little bit right now,” he said.
A 2017 profile in the Gazette said Roger Self ran a private investigations business called Southeastern Loss Management. It said the business opened in 1989 and mostly helped companies investigate employees’ wrongdoing.