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PHILIPPINES: 25 dead, dozens buried in landslide

A landslide in the southern Mindanao region has killed at least 25 people and more than 100 others remain buried in the rubble, officials said. Compostela Valley provincial Gov. Arturo Uy said the landslide hit a small-scale mining area in Pantukan township before dawn Thursday. The disaster occurred in a region where devastating flash floods triggered by a tropical storm killed more than 1,250 people last month. Army Lt. Col. Camilo Ligayo said about 120 soldiers were heading to the area to help dig for survivors and bodies. Uy said miners and their families had been warned of the high risks. Some residents in the area were forced to evacuate after a landslide killed about 20 people last April near the site of the slide.


BRITAIN: Two get life in racial slaying

Two white men were given life sentences Wednesday for the racially motivated murder of a black teenager nearly 19 years ago in a case that led to a major shakeup in Scotland Yard. The men are expected to serve far less time in prison, however, for the killing of Stephen Lawrence, 18, who was stabbed to death while waiting for a bus in South London in April 1993. Lawrence was the victim of an unprovoked attack by thugs who shouted racial epithets as they punched and knifed him. A botched police investigation followed, undermined by what an official inquiry said was pervasive racism within the police force itself. The case eventually sparked significant changes in police practices and Scotland Yard's relationship with minority communities, proving as pivotal for London authorities as the Rodney G. King beating and its aftermath were for policing in Los Angeles. But justice came much later for Lawrence's parents, who waged a tireless campaign to bring the killers to trial. It took new DNA evidence unearthed a few years ago to secure murder convictions Tuesday against Gary Dobson and David Norris, members of a racist gang who were identified from the beginning as suspects in the killing. At London's Old Bailey courthouse, Justice Colman Treacy sentenced the two, now in their 30s, for committing a "terrible and evil crime . . . for no other reason than racial hatred."


SYRIA: Regime accused of betrayal

Opposition activists say authorities are breaking their promises to withdraw troops from the streets of strife-torn towns, contradicting statements by Arab League peace monitors that government forces have pulled back. An Arab League mission arrived last week to verify whether the government was implementing a peace plan under which it agreed to scale back its military presence and free thousands of prisoners detained since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began last March. "We are not seeing the release of detainees or the true removal of a military presence from the streets," said Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. "Army tanks have been replaced with police armored personnel carriers that still have the capability to shoot heavy weaponry."

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