Philippine rebel ambush leaves five dead

Updated 04 August 2015
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Philippine rebel ambush leaves five dead

MANILA: One Philippine soldier and four Maoist guerillas were killed during a brief firefight near one of the rebel group’s last strongholds, the military said Tuesday.
New People’s Army rebels ambushed a two-truck military convoy at a remote village road on the island of Masbate on Monday, sparking a brief gun battle, army spokesman Major Angelo Guzman told AFP.
“Our troops fought back and reversed the tide, resulting in more casualties on the rebel side,” he added.
The surviving members of the rebel band fled, leaving behind the remains of four dead comrades, according to Guzman.
One soldier was killed and three others were wounded during the clash, he said.
The impoverished island of Masbate is one of the few remaining areas where NPA forces continue to attack government troops and fleece civilians.
The spokesman said the rebels had been more active in recent weeks as they attempted to project a strong image ahead of next year’s general elections.
During previous elections, local candidates were not allowed to campaign in rural areas near NPA strongholds unless they paid “revolutionary taxes” to the group.
The 4,000-strong NPA has waged a guerilla campaign for 46 years, which has claimed tens of thousands of lives, largely in rural areas mired in poverty.
Peace negotiations have stalled under President Benigno Aquino as the government has refused to grant the rebels’ demand to free a number of their captured leaders who are facing criminal charges.


Japan apologizes to those forcibly sterilized, vows redress

Updated 24 April 2019
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Japan apologizes to those forcibly sterilized, vows redress

  • An estimated 25,000 people were given unconsented sterilization while the 1948 Eugenics Protection Law was in place until 1996
  • The government had until recently maintained the sterilizations were legal at the time

TOKYO: Japan’s government apologized Wednesday to tens of thousands of victims forcibly sterilized under a now-defunct Eugenics Protection Law and promised to pay compensation.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he was offering “sincere remorse and heartfelt apology” to the victims.
His apology comes just after the parliament enactment earlier Wednesday of legislation to provide redress measures, including $28,600 (¥3.2 million) compensation for each victim.
An estimated 25,000 people were given unconsented sterilization while the 1948 Eugenics Protection Law was in place until 1996. The law was designed to “prevent the birth of poor-quality descendants” and allowed doctors to sterilize people with disabilities. It was quietly renamed as the Maternity Protection Law in 1996, when the discriminatory condition was removed.
The redress legislation acknowledges that many people were forced to have operations to remove their reproductive organs or radiation treatment to get sterilized, causing them tremendous pain mentally and physically.
The government had until recently maintained the sterilizations were legal at the time.
The apology and the redress law follow a series of lawsuits by victims who came forward recently after breaking decades of silence. That prompted lawmakers from both ruling and opposition parties to draft a compensation package to make amends for the victims.
The plaintiffs are seeking about ¥30 million each ($268,000) in growing legal actions that are spreading around the country, saying the government’s implementation of the law violated the victims’ right to self-determination, reproductive health and equality. They say the government redress measures are too small for their suffering.
In addition to the forced sterilizations, more than 8,000 others were sterilized with consent, though likely under pressure, while nearly 60,000 women had abortions because of hereditary illnesses, according to Japan Federation of Bar Associations.
Among them were about 10,000 leprosy patients who had been confined in isolated institutions until 1996, when the leprosy prevention law was also abolished. The government has already offered compensation and an apology to them for its forced isolation policy.