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Kidnappers Seek Ransom for 2 Americans, Filipino

The kidnappers of an American woman, her son and Filipino nephew in the southern Philippines have telephoned their family by phone demanding a ransom, officials said Sunday.

At least 14 gunmen seized Philippine-born U.S. citizen Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann, her 14-year-old son and 19-year-old nephew Tuesday from a relative's house they were visiting in a village near southern Zamboanga City. They were taken away at gunpoint on board a motor boat, officials said.

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Labor Minister: 140,000 Filipinos 'Could Lose Jobs in Saudi'

Up to 140,000 Philippine workers could lose their jobs in Saudi Arabia due to a domestic helper ban and a program to compel firms to employ more locals, the Filipino labor minister said Thursday.

Between 20,000-50,000 Filipino domestic workers in the kingdom could be hit by Saudi Arabia's decision announced last month to stop granting work permits to Philippine and Indonesian maids, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said.

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Philippines Sends Navy Ship to Disputed Waters

The Philippines said Friday it would send its ageing navy flagship into disputed South China Sea waters amid rising tensions with Beijing over their competing claims.

However defence department spokesman Eduardo Batac insisted the deployment was a routine assignment and had nothing to do with an announcement by China on Thursday that one of its maritime patrol vessels would pass through the area.

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World's Shortest Man

A Filipino blacksmith's son who stopped growing when he was a toddler was declared the world's shortest man Sunday as he celebrated his 18th birthday.

Measuring just 59.93 centimeters, or 23.5 inches, Junrey Balawing is the oldest of four siblings -- the rest all of normal stature -- born in the rural town of Sindangan on southern Mindanao island.

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Three Dead, Dozens Missing in Philippine Landslide

Three people were killed and dozens were missing after a night-time landslide ravaged a small gold mining town in a mountainous area of the Philippines on Friday, authorities said.

The landslide hit at about 3am, ripping through shanty homes while miners and their families were sleeping and destroying poorly constructed tunnels where the unregistered workers extract gold using hand tools, they said.

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Philippine School Creates Arts Ambassadors

Tucked in the mist-covered slopes of Mount Makiling, the Philippines' premier public school for the arts is busy molding the country's future cultural ambassadors.

The gifted scholars embark on a rigorous 12-hour daily routine of academic study, music, dance, theatre, visual arts and creative writing at the state-funded Philippine High School for the Arts.

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80 Filipinas Rescued from Traffickers who were Planning to Send Some to Lebanon

Philippine police have rescued 80 Filipino women from a suspected human trafficking syndicate that was planning to send them to be maids in Malaysia and the Middle East, including Lebanon.

Police Superintendent Celso Bael said they stopped the women, who pretended to be tourists, from boarding a chartered flight from the southern city of Zamboanga to Malaysia on Thursday.

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Bomb Blast on Bus Kills 4 in Philippine Capital

At least four people were killed and 15 injured when a bomb exploded on a crowded bus in the Philippine capital's financial district on Tuesday, authorities said.

The attack occurred two months after the United States and several other Western governments warned a terrorist attack in Manila was imminent, and followed a bus hijacking last year that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead.

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