By: Nathaniel Tok, Peak Associate


Filipino soldiers battle with Islamic State supporters for control of town

Mechanized units of the Philippines Army drove pro-Islamic State Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) supporters out of the southern Philippines town of Maguindanao into the countryside. The militant group had held the town for 12 hours.

     Four members of the militant group were reported to have been killed, with two others injured. Two Filipino security force members were also injured.

     The Filipino military has been conducting operations to prevent urban attacks by militants over the last four months, resulting in over 40 BIFF members being killed. The Filipino president had warned that pro-Islamic State groups were trying to create their own state.

With files from Reuters.


Rising death toll from Quebec heat wave

A blast of hot temperatures in Quebec has helped caused around 54 deaths, with many of the victims being around the ages of 50–85.

     Temperatures reached 35 C, together with high humidity levels and a smog warning. People were encouraged by officials to increase their fluid intake, limit exercise, and find air conditioning or shade. People were also advised to check on the elderly, the sick, and other vulnerable demographics.

     Officials say this is one of the worst heat waves Quebec has seen. Ontario also recently issued its own hot weather warnings.

With files from BBC News.


Thai cave rescue completed

The 12 boys trapped in a Thailand cave have been rescued.

     Divers from the Thai military and the international community gave the boys diving lessons and heavily sedated them before guiding them out over a three-day operation. The boys were then transported to the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital for medical examinations.

     Thai Navy SEAL Saman Gunan, a member of the dive team helping to rescue the boys, died on the mission when he ran out of oxygen.

     The boys, aged 11 to 16, were in the cave for 17 days alongside their 25-year-old soccer coach, and they each lost around 4.5 pounds on average.

    The boys, who play together in a soccer team, are believed to have journeyed into the cave to commemorate one of the their birthdays.

With files from The Straits Times,  BBC News, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Guardian.


Germany’s ruling parties reach deal on how to handle refugees

The governing parties in Germany reached a deal on how to handle refugees already in the EU. The leader of the Bavarian Christian Social Union had initially wanted to block entry of refugees at the German border.

     The deal will see migrants sent back to the EU countries where they had first sought asylum. This agreement also helped to maintain German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s fragile coalition government, which was in danger of breaking over the migrant dispute.

    15,414 individuals had applied for asylum in Germany last year, though the number of migrant arrivals appears to be falling.

With files from Reuters.