Philippines’ Arroyo in intensive care

Updated 13 October 2012
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Philippines’ Arroyo in intensive care

MANILA: Former Philippine leader Gloria Arroyo was moved to intensive care yesterday to stop her suffering a possible heart attack, a week after being arrested in hospital on graft charges, authorities said.
The 65-year-old suffered chest pains on Thursday and tests showed her heart was not receiving enough blood due to blocked arteries, said Nona Legaspi, director of the Manila military hospital where Arroyo is being detained.
Legaspi said Arroyo was suffering from ischemia — a restriction in blood supply to the heart — which can lead to a cardiac arrest if not treated properly.
“Every condition of the heart should be treated with urgency,” Legaspi told reporters, adding that given Arroyo’s condition she should not leave hospital for a scheduled court appearance on Monday.
Legaspi said Arroyo could not be detained elsewhere, as government prosecutors want, until doctors ruled she was fit to leave the hospital. “The patient is not dischargeable at this time,” she said.
Arroyo was due for an initial court appearance next week on the charge that while in power she plundered about $8.8 million in state lottery funds to finance her election campaigns. She could face life in jail if found guilty.
Arroyo was arrested on Oct. 4 at the military hospital, where she was being treated for a long-term spinal illness, and has been under police detention there since.
Arroyo ended her near-decade in power in 2010 as one of the country’s most unpopular presidents, amid allegations she had cheated to win elections, embraced feared warlords as allies and was involved in widespread corruption.
Rival Benigno Aquino won a landslide election victory in 2010, largely on a vow to fight corruption and prosecute Arroyo.
Arroyo was also charged in another court in November last year with vote fraud for allegedly conspiring to rig the 2007 senatorial elections, and spent most of the following eight months at the same military hospital.


Nine Iranians detained for alleged drug smuggling in Sri Lanka

Updated 4 min 38 sec ago
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Nine Iranians detained for alleged drug smuggling in Sri Lanka

  • Nine Iranians were caught with 107.22 kg of heroin onboard a trawler bound for the country on Monday

COLOMBO: A Sri Lankan court remanded nine Iranians in custody after they were caught with 107.22 kg of heroin onboard a trawler bound for the country on Monday.

Colombo Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne permitted the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) to detain and interrogate the suspects, and ordered it to submit a report to the court on the progress of the investigation.

The vessel was tracked on Sunday morning by a joint operations team comprised of PNB agents, a police special task force and the Sri Lankan navy ship Suranimala off the southern coast of Galle.

Security forces seized the vessel and arrested the nine Iranians, after which the suspects and boat were transferred to PNB custody in the capital.

At a press briefing on Sunday night, Police Superintendent Ruwan Gunasekara said that 99 packets of heroin had been found hidden in four fertilizer bags onboard the boat, and that the suspects had posed as fishermen.

He added that the trawler had been at sea around 14 days, and that on seeing the approaching Suranimala, the crew had dumped an estimated 500 kg of heroin into the water. Mobile and satellite phones had also been found and confiscated.

“It was a joint operation and a great victory in combating the drugs menace,” Lt. Cmdr. Isuru Sooriyabandara said.

As the suspects were unable to communicate in English, the PNB said it would seek assistance from the Iranian Embassy in Colombo to help with translation. Embassy sources, meanwhile, claimed that the nationalities of the nine detainees had not been confirmed.

Early this year, a 24-year-old Iranian woman was arrested by the PNB at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo for smuggling cannabis.