Bacterial disease kills five babies, sickens 41 others

Authorities in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas say a bacterial disease has killed five babies and sickened 41 others in a remote indigenous community that is experiencing a wave of intense cold and rains.

Chiapas’ health department said Sunday in a statement that residents of Emiliano Zapata in the municipality of Yajalon have been urged to stay in their homes and avoid contact with others to prevent the spread of the bacteria that is causing the infection, which is characterized by coughing and fever. Authorities are looking into whether it is whooping cough.

Local officials said residents lack access to health care because of the remoteness and marginalization of their mountain community, and poor weather conditions have facilitated the spread of the disease.

The statement said health officials have confirmed the death of five babies and the sickening of 41 infants under 1 year old.  Three medical teams have been sent to the village.

ATIMONAN, Philippines

Police among 13 suspects killed by security forces

At least three police personnel were among 13 suspected members of a gun-for-hire group who were gunned down in a shootout with Philippine security forces at a highway checkpoint, officials said Monday.

Gunmen riding in three SUVs opened fire on more than 50 army and police troopers who flagged down the vehicles late Sunday in the coastal town of Atimonan in Quezon province, about 90 miles southeast of Manila.

Eleven suspects died on the spot, including a police colonel who was a regional commander and two other officers, said police spokesman Erwin Obal. Authorities were checking the identities of two other victims on suspicion they were either former or current members of the intelligence service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Obal said.

Authorities didn’t say how many suspects were believed to have escaped.


Drone strikes kill nine members of Taliban in border region

Suspected American drones fired several missiles into three militant hideouts near the Afghan border Sunday, killing nine Pakistani Taliban fighters, intelligence officials said.

The strikes targeted the group’s hideouts in the South Waziristan tribal region, the three officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

The identity of the killed militants was not immediately known, they said, but two important commanders of the Pakistani Taliban — including the head of a training unit for suicide bombers — may be among them.

Sunday’s drone attack was the third suspected U.S. drone strike in five days.

Islamabad opposes the use of U.S. drones on its territory, but is believed to have tacitly approved some strikes in past. The drone campaign also infuriates many Pakistanis, who see them as a violation of their country’s sovereignty and complain that innocent civilians have also been killed, something the U.S. rejects.

But an attack like Sunday’s may be less likely to anger the Pakistani military and public because it targeted militants believed to have been going after targets in Pakistan and not in neighboring Afghanistan. 

— From news service reports