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Las Vegas police arrest 2 in April killing of security guard

LAS VEGAS (AP) – Las Vegas police have announced the arrests of two people in the April 27 killing of a security guard at an apartment building construction site.

Police identify those arrested in the killing of 48-year-old Mark Steven Santee as Deandre Daniels and Julian Warren. They re jailed in Clark County Detention Center.

Police have said they believed Santee was shot after confronting one or more people looting items from the site off the 215 Beltway near Russell Road.

Philippine forces hit militants; civilians wave white flags

Philippine military jets fired rockets at militant positions Saturday as soldiers fought to wrest control of a southern city from gunmen linked to the Islamic State group, witnesses said. Civilians waved flags from their windows to show they are not combatants. The city of Marawi, home to some 200,000 people, has been under siege by IS-linked militants since a failed raid Tuesday night on a suspected hideout of Isnilon Hapilon, who is on Washington’s list of most-wanted terrorists. Hapilon got away and fighters loyal to him took over parts of the city, burning buildings and seizing about a dozen hostages, including a priest. Their condition was not known. At least 44 people have died in the fighting, including 31 militants and 11 soldiers, officials say. It was not clear whether civilians were among the dead.

The violence prompted President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday to declare 60 days of martial law in the southern Philippines, where a Muslim rebellion has raged for decades. But the recent violence has raised fears that extremism could be growing as smaller militant groups unify and align themselves with the ideology of the Islamic State group. Although Hapilon and other groups in the southern Philippines have pledged allegiance to the IS, there is no clear sign of significant, material ties. Thousands of civilians have been fleeing.

“I saw two jets swoop down and fire at rebel positions repeatedly,” Alexander Mangundatu, a security guard, told The Associated Press in Marawi as a plume of black smoke billowed in the distance. “I pity the civilians and the women who were near the targeted area. They’re getting caught in the conflict and I hope this ends soon.”

Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said government forces are working to “clear the city of all remnants of this group.”

He said some civilians refused to evacuate because they want to guard their homes, slowing down the government operations.

“But that’s fine as long as civilians are not hurt,” Padilla said. On Friday, Duterte ordered his troops to crush the militants, warning that the country is at a grave risk of “contamination” by the Islamic State group. Duterte told soldiers in Iligan, a city near Marawi, that he had long feared that “contamination by ISIS” loomed in the country’s future, using the acronym for the Islamic State group.

“You can say that ISIS is here already,” he said.

Lt. Gen. Carlito G. Galvez Jr., a military commander, said civilians are enduring “extreme deprivation” because government services are unavailable and shops are closed.

“These terrorist atrocities continue to sow terror and confusion even to noncombatant Muslims and Christians,” he said in a statement. Hapilon is still hiding out in the city under the protection of gunmen who are desperately trying to find a way to extricate him, said the Philippines’ military chief, Gen. Eduardo Ano. He said Hapilon suffered a stroke after a government airstrike wounded him in January. Ano predicted that the military operation will take about a week as soldiers go house to house to clear the city of militants.

In a sign that the long-standing problem of militancy in the south could be expanding, Solicitor General Jose Calida said foreigners were fighting alongside the gunmen in Marawi, including Indonesians and Malaysians. Ano also said foreign fighters were believed to be inside, but he was more cautious. “We suspect that, but we’re still validating,” he said. Hapilon, an Islamic preacher, is a commander of the Abu Sayyaf militant group who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in 2014. He also heads an alliance of at least 10 smaller militant groups, including the Maute, which have a heavy presence in Marawi and were instrumental in fighting off government forces in this week’s battles.

Washington has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to Hapilon’s capture.

Critic warns loss of Coast Guard dive-rescue team in Richmond could cost lives

Critic Warns Loss Of Coast Guard Dive-rescue Team In Richmond Could Cost Lives

The Coast Guard dive-rescue team in action on the overturned hull of the fishing vessel Cap Rouge II. The capsizing of the vessel off Steveston in 2002 killed five people. Corey Melchior / PROVINCE

The Canadian Coast Guard plans to deep-six the dedicated team of divers stationed at its Sea Island Base in Richmond. The team of search and rescue divers had been charged with responding to emergencies in the waters off the Lower Mainland. They re trained to enter wrecked or sunken ships, vehicles and planes to rescue survivors or recover bodies. But now the Coast Guard has told those professional divers they will need to stop going underwater and take on different Coast Guard jobs, at Sea Island or elsewhere.

Those hovercraft still need to run, rescue specialists still have to be there, suggested Roger Girouard, the assistant commissioner for the Coast Guard s western region.

Critic Warns Loss Of Coast Guard Dive-rescue Team In Richmond Could Cost Lives

Roger Girouard, assistant commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard s western region, says budget increases by the Trudeau government will, overall, increase mariner safety in B.C. Matt Robinson / PNG

The 26-member Sea Island dive team is the only one of its kind across the country, and it was decided the program was not part of the Coast Guard s core mandate, according to a statement from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The cut will save the Coast Guard about $500,000 a year, but it will leave the region less prepared to respond to emergencies where dives are required. Girouard said members of his staff are talking to the RCMP, Emergency Management B.C., the Vancouver Police Department and Vancouver Fire and Rescue about the change, and the Coast Guard will wait to make sure that 911 knows who to call before it cuts the team.

After that point, if there is an emergency, Coast Guard will respond and lean on the local agencies, Girouard said.

Understand that search and rescue is always a shared responsibility, he said. The VPD has a marine unit that maintains security and safety on the water and responds to distress calls, said Staff Sgt. Randy Fincham, a spokesman for the department. But the department does not have a dive team, nor are we currently looking at deploying one. The RCMP does have divers, but they belong to an underwater recovery team that is responsible for the recovery of human remains and evidence related to criminal investigation, said Sgt. Annie Linteau, an RCMP spokeswoman.

Fin Donnelly, the federal NDP s Fisheries and Oceans critic, said the decision would, unfortunately, put lives at risk.

It s not what we want, especially going into a very busy boating season, he said in an interview. The dive team has been cut once before by a federal Liberal government, Donnelly noted in a news release. That cut happened in 2001, just a few days before a man crashed his car into the Fraser River and died.

You had Coast Guard officials on site, at the location, but of course they didn t have the equipment to go in and enter the vehicle and remove the occupant, Donnelly recalled. They had to wait until the RCMP dive team was able to get on site and at that point it became a recovery.

In a case where there s emergency response, seconds and minutes matter.

Donnelly questioned why it made sense to cut a dive team that was already established, and said he was not aware of any other public service that did what the Coast Guard s divers do. He likened the cut to the 2013 closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station by the federal Conservative government. But Girouard said the cut comes in the midst of investment in the Canadian Coast Guard of a massive, unprecedented scale not seen in well over a generation.

He referred to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau s recent financial commitment of $1.5 billion over five years for a national Oceans Protection Plan. He said the Coast Guard will get 200 more staff in B.C. alone, and the province will get four new lifeboats and new radar and radio capabilities.

Mariners across the province would be better protected overall as a result of the investments and changes, he said.

I want to acknowledge my dive team. They are professionals. They are some of the best people I have in my organization and I applaud their passion, their professionalism, their devotion to safety and what they ve contributed to this neighbourhood for a generation, Girouard said.

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