Elephants slain in Cameroon

YAOUNDE, Cameroon - Despite armed guards, Cameroon's dwindling elephant population is being decimated by heavily armed gangs of international poachers, according to a top official of the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Tighter security has been mounted because intelligence shows that two gangs of poachers from Sudan are heading for the area, said WWF Cameroon conservation director Hanson Njiforti at a news conference Tuesday.

In the first quarter of this year, poachers traveled more than 620 miles on horseback from Sudan to reach northern Cameroon's Bouba Ndjida National Park, where they killed more than 300 elephants in two months. The killings wiped out about 80 percent of the park's elephant population.

The high demand for ivory in Asia threatens the remaining elephant population in Cameroon and the Central African subregion with possible extinction, said United States Ambassador to Cameroon Robert P. Jackson, who also spoke to journalists. Africa is home to roughly 600,000 elephants, just a third of the number recorded a decade ago, according to data released by the U.S. embassy.

- AP

French arrest 2 in terror probe

PARIS - Two arrests in southern France on Tuesday bolstered long-simmering suspicions that the country's worst terrorist killings in years involved multiple players and were not the work of a "lone-wolf" radical Islamist.

The attacks in March around the southern city of Toulouse left seven dead - including Jewish schoolchildren and French paratroopers - and terrified France. Lawyers for the victims' families hailed Tuesday's arrests as a sign of progress in the investigation, which has brought to light lapses by the country's security services.

A 38-year-old Muslim convert who used to live in the same housing project as the gunman and his family was arrested Tuesday, the Paris prosecutor's office said. The new suspect's former girlfriend, also 38, was arrested as well.

- AP

Storm kills 100 in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines - Torrential floods from a powerful typhoon engulfed emergency shelters and an army truck carrying soldiers and villagers who were fleeing their homes in the southern Philippines, raising the death toll from the storm to more than 100.

At least 43 of the victims drowned in one village. Rain accumulated atop a mountain and flooded down on Andap village in New Bataan town in hard-hit Compostela Valley province, Gov. Arturo Uy said.

"They thought that they were already secure in a safe area, but they didn't know the torrents of water would go their way," Uy told DZBB radio Tuesday.

- AP