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700,000 Flee as Powerful Typhoon Slams Philippines

More than 700,000 people in the central Philippines fled to safer areas for fear of giant waves, floods or landslides as Typhoon Melor slammed into the archipelago nation Monday, officials said.

Melor brushed the northern tip of Samar, a farming island of 1.5 million people, early Monday with winds gusting up to 185 kilometers (115 miles) per hour, the state weather bureau said. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

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Strong Tropical Storm Threatens Philippines

A strong tropical storm barreled toward the Philippines Sunday, threatening the disaster-prone nation's east coast with giant waves, flooding and landslides, civil defense officials warned.

Forecasters said Tropical Storm Melor could strengthen into a full-fledged typhoon by Monday afternoon when it is expected to strike the central island of Samar.

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Manila Slum Inferno Kills Nine

An inferno in one of Manila's huge shanty towns has killed nine people, authorities said Friday, the third blaze to have struck the city's slums in as many weeks.

Residents grabbed clothes, furniture and appliances as they fled the burning Damayang Lagi shanty town shortly after midnight, survivor Arman Altoveros told AFP.

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EU Boosts Aid to Philippines to Stimulate Muslim Peace Process

The European Union announced on Wednesday that it was sharply boosting aid to the Philippines, largely to help sustain a peace process with Muslim rebels in the south.

EU ambassador Franz Jessen said the bloc was providing 5.5 million euros ($6 million) to five projects for the Muslim-dominated areas covered by the peace process even as the grouping more than doubled aid in general to the Philippines.

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Six Dead as Muslim Rebels Clash with Christians in Philippines

At least six people were killed when suspected Muslim guerrillas clashed with armed Christian settlers in the southern Philippines on Tuesday in a feud over land, police said.

At least 30 armed men, suspected to be from a Muslim rebel group, descended on the southern town of Tulunan on Mindanao island and began harassing Christian farmers at noon, said Senior Inspector Ronnie Dillera, the town police chief.

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Philippine Leader Cites Terror Threat for Muslim Self-Rule Law

Philippine President Benigno Aquino urged legislators Tuesday to pass a draft law aimed at ending a decades-long Muslim revolt, citing the growing threat of global terrorism as one reason to do so.

Aquino, who has been struggling to get the law passed before his term ends next year, told lawmakers it would break "the cycle of violence and poverty that has stalled peace and progress" in the southern island of Mindanao, said his spokesman Herminio Coloma.

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Obama Offers SE Asian Allies Military Aid as China Tensions Rise

U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday offered the Philippines a warship as part of a $250-million aid package to Southeast Asian allies worried about Chinese efforts to control the South China Sea.

Obama made the pledges aboard the Philippine Navy's flagship, shortly after arriving in Manila for a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders to also be attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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Obama Heads to Asia with 'Pivot' again Stymied

U.S. President Barack Obama arrives in the Philippines Tuesday with his much-vaunted "pivot to Asia" again overshadowed by events in Europe, the Middle East and politics at home.

Obama will touch down in Manila with the world's focus on the murderous attacks in Paris claimed by the Islamic State group and soul searching about how to counter it in Syria and Iraq.

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Philippines Vows 'Higher' APEC Summit Security after Paris Attacks

The Philippines put its police on full alert Saturday and vowed "higher security" for world leaders at an economic summit in Manila next week after gunmen killed more than 120 people in Paris.

U.S. President Barack Obama is set to join the leaders of China, Japan, Australia, Canada and 15 others at an annual Asia-Pacific Economic Conference summit in Manila on November 18-19.

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Philippines Pledges Warm Welcome for China's Xi despite Sea Row

The Philippines pledged a warm welcome for China's leader Xi Jinping at an economic summit in Manila next week, officials said Tuesday, despite a bitter row over disputed islands.

President Benigno Aquino and Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario made the pledge in rare talks with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is in Manila on a working visit ahead of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

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