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Philippine Marines Kill 3 Abu Sayyaf Militants in New Clash

Philippine troops killed three Abu Sayyaf gunmen in a clash with the al-Qaida-linked militants blamed for killing seven marines and wounding 26 others in a recent gunbattle, officials said Monday.

Army chief Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz said a soldier was wounded in Sunday's brief but fierce clash with about 30 Abu Sayyaf gunmen in Patikul town in the mountains of southern Sulu province. Troops have been scouring the jungle area in search of the militants who killed seven marines in a July 28 clash, including two who were beheaded.

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'Blasphemous' Philippine Art Riles Catholics

An art exhibit featuring a Jesus Christ poster with a wooden penis glued to His face has sparked protests in the mainly Catholic Philippines.

Bishops and lay groups have demanded the state-run Cultural Center of the Philippines close the exhibit on grounds it is blasphemous, immoral, illegal and offends the country's Catholic majority.

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Five Wounded in Philippines Blast

A suspected motorcycle bomb wounded five people at a drugstore in the southern Philippines on Tuesday, police said.

One of the five casualties, a seven-year-old boy, is in critical condition from the early afternoon blast, said Superintendent Roberto Badian, the police chief of the southern city of Cotabato.

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Philippine Rebels Demand Stop to Oil, Gas Projects

The Philippines' largest Muslim guerrilla group has demanded the government halt any planned oil and gas explorations by foreign companies in vast southern areas they claim, warning Sunday that energy projects would complicate peace talks.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front refused to say what they would do if the government ignores their request.

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7 Filipino Troops Killed in Clash with Abu Sayyaf Militants

Dozens of Abu Sayyaf militants killed seven marines and wounded 21 others in one of the fiercest clashes this year that erupted in stormy weather Thursday as the marine platoon was about to attack a terrorist jungle camp, the military said.

About 30 marines maneuvered close to the encampment of more than 50 al-Qaida-linked militants in mountainous Patikul township in southern Sulu province, setting off the pre-dawn gunbattle, regional military spokesman Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang said.

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25 Killed in Philippines Tropical Storm

At least 25 people were killed and nine others went missing as a slow-moving tropical storm dumped enormous amounts of rain across the Philippines' main island, authorities said Wednesday.

Nock-ten, named after a Laotian bird, was expected to cause more damage in the mountainous northern areas of Luzon island on Wednesday night, while also bringing heavy rain to Manila, the state weather service said.

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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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