Resorts World Manila: At least 36 bodies found at casino complex


Most of the dead suffocated in thick toxic smoke after the man set fire to casino tables, officials told the BBC.

The gunman, whose nationality is not yet known, began shooting in the casino in Resorts World Manila in the early hours of Friday morning.

Police said he later killed himself by setting himself on fire.

Authorities initially said there were no casualties, but appear to have only found the bodies while sweeping the complex after the gunman’s body was recovered.

Marawi: Foreign fighters ‘among militants in Philippine city’



Six jihadists, including Indonesian and Malaysian citizens, were killed as the army continued its operation to drive the rebels out of the city of Marawi.

Attack helicopters and special forces have been deployed in the offensive.

It is a rare admission by the authorities that local jihadists are working with international groups.

Marawi is a mainly Muslim city in Lanao del Sur province on the southern island of Mindanao. The province is a stronghold for the Maute group, which has pledged allegiance to so-called Islamic State (IS).





Now, researchers believe the ritualised killing of individuals to placate a god played a role in building and sustaining stable communities with social hierarchies.

In particular, a study of 93 cultures across Asia, Oceana and Africa, has found the practices helped establish authority and set up class-based systems.

Human sacrifice was once widespread throughout these Austronesian cultures, which used it as the ultimate punishment, for funerals and to consecrate new boats.


China bans depictions of gay people on TV in crackdown on ‘vulgar, immoral and unhealthy content’


The Chinese government has banned depictions of gay people on television, as part of a national clampdown on “vulgar, immoral and unhealthy content”.

Censors said that television shows should not show story lines that “exaggerate the dark side of society,” including gay relationships, adultery and the supernatural.

The report was posted on the website of the China Television Drama Production Industry Association on 31 December but was widely circulated in Chinese state media this week according to Hong Kong Free Press.

5 U.S. Navy Vessels Sail for Asia to Confront China


The U.S. Navy deployed five vessels to the South China Sea, following China’s show of military might in the area. Leading the American armada is the carrier John C. Stennis which left Washington state on Jan. 15.

The Navy Times reported that cruisers Mobile Bay and Antietam, and destroyers Stockdale and Chung-Goon left for the disputed waters recently. It would be joined by Blue Ridge, the command vessel that serves as the floating headquarters of the 7th Fleet based in Japan, which is already in the region on its way to make a visit to the Philippines.

Taliban conflict: Militants refuse fresh Afghan peace talks


Direct talks were expected to begin in Pakistan next week between the Taliban and Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the US.

The Taliban have been waging an insurgency against the Afghan government since being ousted in 2001.

Talks between the two have been on hold since last year.

The Quadrilateral Coordination Group, made up of representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the US, had insisted in February that talks would take place in early March.

But in a statement released on Saturday, the group rejected those reports.

“We reject all such rumours and unequivocally state that the leader of Islamic Emirate has not authorised anyone to participate in this meeting,” the group said in a statement.

“(Islamic Emirate) once again reiterates that unless the occupation of Afghanistan is ended, black lists eliminated and innocent prisoners freed, such futile misleading negotiations will not bear any result”, the statement added.

N. Korea talks of formidable anti-tank weapon


North Korea yesterday boasted of a new anti-tank weapon said to be so powerful, it could turn the most heavily armoured enemy tank into “boiled pumpkin”.

Pyongyang’s state media said leader Kim Jong Un had watched tests of the portable, laser-guided rocket and declared it had the “longest firing range in the world”, and was “as accurate as a sniper’s rifle”.

“He noted with great satisfaction that even the special armoured tanks and cars of the enemies which boast their high manoeuvrability and striking power are no more than a boiled pumpkin before the anti-tank guided weapon,” the KCNA news agency reported.