April 30, 2008 in Nation/World

World in brief: Federal troops protecting hospital

The Spokesman-Review

Soldiers held Tijuana’s main hospital in a virtual lockdown Tuesday as doctors treated eight drug traffickers wounded in running shootouts in this border city.

Even in Mexico’s most violent city, jaded residents feel caught in the crossfire between drug smugglers and federal troops sent in to stop them. Hospitals, schools and even taco-and-beer tourism are suddenly on the front lines of a raging turf war.

The latest bout of violence exploded on Saturday, with rival gang members killing each other all over Tijuana in simultaneous, pre-dawn attacks that left at least 13 dead.

Three days later, the Hospital General de Tijuana is surrounded by camouflaged federal troops with machine guns guarding locked gates. Outpatient services were halted, visits from family and friends were severely restricted, and anyone without an emergency was told to go elsewhere.

The soldiers guarding the hospital hope to prevent cartel gunmen from shooting their way in to rescue their colleagues – or finish them off.


Thirty sentenced after deadly rioting

Six Buddhist monks were among 30 people sentenced by a Chinese court Tuesday to jail terms ranging from three years to life for taking part in deadly riots in Tibet.

The punishments were the first to be meted out by a Chinese court against Tibetans accused of taking part in a frenzy of assaults, burning, looting and vandalism mainly targeting Han Chinese and their businesses in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa and nearby areas between March 14-16.

The sentences were announced during two sessions of a one-day trial at the Intermediate People’s Court of Lhasa, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Xinhua said three men received life sentences, including a Buddhist monk identified as Basang who allegedly led 10 people, including five other monks, to destroy local government offices, burn down shops and attack policemen.


Prince pilots plane to Afghanistan

Prince William flew into Afghanistan for a secret visit over the weekend to meet with British troops, a royal official said Tuesday.

William, 25, piloted a C-17 Globemaster transport plane on part of the flight to Kandahar in the country’s troubled south Sunday, according to a spokesman for Clarence House, the official residence of William’s father, Prince Charles.

“Obviously, one day he’s going to be head of the armed forces,” the spokesman said, speaking anonymously in line with royal policy. “It was going to be natural for him to see operations in the theater.”

William, second in line for the British throne after his father, spent three hours on the ground talking with troops. He then flew back by way of the Al-Udeid airfield in Qatar, returning to Britain on Monday afternoon.

The prince received his pilot’s wings from his father earlier this month.William received the badge after spending four months with Britain’s Royal Air Force learning to pilot helicopters and planes. The training was designed to make him a competent, but not operational, flier.

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