KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Malaysian security forces gunned down 31 Filipino intruders in Borneo on Thursday, the highest number of casualties in a single day since nearly 200 members of a Philippine Muslim clan took over an entire village last month, police said.
But representatives of the Filipino group denied their members had been killed.
The armed clansmen have wreaked political havoc for both Malaysia and the neighboring Philippines by trying to stake a long-dormant royal territorial claim to Malaysia’s sprawling, resource-rich state of Sabah in Borneo.
Most of the Filipinos had eluded capture in a coastal Sabah district filled with palm oil plantations and forested hills after Malaysian forces attacked them with airstrikes and mortar fire Tuesday.
Police and military forces tracking them waged a fierce gunbattle that ended in the deaths of 31 clansmen Thursday, national police chief Ismail Omar said, adding that no Malaysians were injured.
Suspect in deadly NY crash in custody
A man arrested in connection with a car crash that killed a rabbinical college student, his pregnant wife and their baby faced a charge of vehicular manslaughter Thursday, police said.
Julio Acevedo arrived in New York after agreeing to be returned from Pennsylvania, where he had surrendered to police in the parking lot of a Bethlehem convenience store a day earlier.
Acevedo was arrested on a charge of leaving the scene of an accident but was expected to face more serious charges.
Late-winter storm hits New England
A late-winter storm that buried parts of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic swept into New England on Thursday, bringing snow, rain, strong winds, big waves and fears of coastal flooding.
The region braced for the brunt of the storm overnight Thursday and into today. Powerful waves and high winds were expected to cause more trouble than snow from Rhode Island to Maine.
In the seacoast town of Scituate, Mass., about 30 miles south of Boston, about a dozen streets were closed after Thursday morning’s high tide sent 2 to 2 1/2 feet of water washing into some areas.
Michigan senator plans to retire
Democratic Sen. Carl Levin announced Thursday he will not seek re-election in 2014, saying he wants to serve as Senate Armed Services chairman and an advocate for his home state of Michigan without the distraction of campaigning for re-election.
First elected in 1978, Levin, 78, is the longest-serving senator in Michigan’s history. He is the sixth member of the Senate to announce his retirement, creating an open seat for Democrats in a state that has backed President Obama twice but where Republicans hold the governor’s office.
White House cancels tour; kids protest
The White House says it is going forward with plans for its 135-year tradition of the Easter egg roll, while dashing the hopes of some Iowa children who hoped to visit the president’s home.
Sixth-graders at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Waverly, Iowa, had their upcoming visit canceled as the White House suspended all tours under across-the-board government spending cuts in a partisan budget battle. The disappointed class put a video on Facebook asking for the tour to be reinstated.
The White House is our house, please let us visit, the children say in unison.
The tours have become a political flashpoint along with the rest of the budget battle, with Republicans arguing the suspension is a stunt and questioning how much it will really save.
Obama signs bill on domestic violence
President Obama signed expanded protections for domestic violence victims into law Thursday, renewing a measure credited with curbing attacks against women a year and a half after it lapsed amid partisan bickering.
The revitalized Violence Against Women Act also marked an important win for gay rights advocates and Native Americans, who will see new protections under the law, and for Obama, whose attempts to push for a renewal failed last year after they became entangled in gender politics and the presidential election.
Chavez’s body to be preserved, exhibited
Hugo Chavez’s body will be preserved and forever displayed inside a glass tomb at a military museum not far from the presidential palace from which he ruled for 14 years, his successor announced Thursday in a Caribbean version of the treatment given Communist revolutionary leaders such as Lenin, Mao and Ho Chi Minh.
Vice President Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s acting head of state, said Chavez would first lie in state for at least seven more days at the museum, which will eventually become his permanent home.
It was not clear when exactly he would be moved from the military academy where his body has been since Wednesday.
A state funeral will be held today attended by more than 30 heads of government.
Abductors loot Libyan TV station
Dozens of Libyan militiamen stormed the headquarters of a private TV network on Thursday in Tripoli, looting and smashing equipment before abducting staffers, the country’s official news agency and witnesses said.
The agency LANA said some staffers were released after the attack on Al-Assama TV network but that the militia was still holding the network’s top two managers.
It’s unclear what prompted the attack. The network is affiliated with Mahmoud Jibril, the country’s former war-time prime minister and Western-minded political figure leading the largest coalition in parliament.