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Philippine Government, Rebels Hold Talks in Malaysia

Philippine officials and Muslim rebels resumed negotiations on Tuesday in the Malaysian capital in a bid to end a decades-old insurgency, amid hopes a roadmap for peace could be inked soon.

The four-day talks to halt the rebellion in the Philippines' troubled south, which has left more than 150,000 people dead since the 1970s, will discuss an accord outlining steps to finalize a peace pact, officials said.

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Strong Quakes Strike Off Northern Japan

A strong 6.2-magnitude quake struck off northern Japan on Tuesday, U.S. seismologists said, but there were no immediate reports of damage and no tsunami alert was issued.

It hit at 7:21 am (2221 GMT Monday) in waters 96 kilometers (60 miles) east of Miyako on the main island of Honshu at a depth of just 9.7 kilometers, according to the US Geological Survey.

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FARC: Colombia Peace Talks to Start October 15

Talks between Colombia's government and the leftist FARC rebels -- aimed at ending one of Latin America's oldest conflicts -- are set to begin on October 15, the group said Monday.

The statement sent to reporters in Havana, Cuba, where the parties met to negotiate the terms of the peace talks also said "the national government and the FARC ... will make a public announcement on October 17 in the city of Oslo, Norway."

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Maldivian Ruling Party MP Assassinated in Capital

An unidentified attacker stabbed and killed a Maldivian ruling party legislator Tuesday in the first assassination of a lawmaker in the Indian Ocean archipelago, police said.

Afrasheem Ali, 46, a lawmaker from the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), was attacked on the steps of his apartment in the capital island Male early Tuesday, police spokesman Hassan Haneef told AFP.

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N. Korea Drops Propaganda Leaflets over Border

North Korea has dropped thousands of propaganda leaflets attacking South Korea across their heavily militarized border for the second time this year, the South's defense ministry said Tuesday.

South Korean soldiers have collected about 17,000 leaflets, which were floated by balloon over the frontier on Saturday, a ministry spokesman said.

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Crew Held after 37 Die in Hong Kong Ferry Disaster

Six crew members were arrested Tuesday over a collision between a ferry and a pleasure boat in Hong Kong that killed 37 people in the city's worst maritime disaster in decades, officials said.

More than 120 passengers and crew were on the Hong Kong Electric company's vessel to watch a huge National Day fireworks display in Victoria Harbor Monday evening when the collision occurred near Lamma island.

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Georgia Opposition Chief Declares Victory in Parliamentary Polls

Georgia's billionaire-led coalition was leading President Mikheil Saakashvili's ruling party in parliamentary elections Monday according to exit polls, but it was unclear which will win the final majority.

Two separate exit polls for Georgian television gave preliminary figures putting tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition ahead in the proportional-vote section of the contest by five or 10 percent.

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Cambodia Jails Political Activist for 20 Years

A prominent critic of Cambodia's government was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Monday for an alleged secessionist plot, dismaying rights campaigners who decried the verdict as politically motivated.

Radio station owner Mam Sonando, who has dual Cambodian-French citizenship, was also fined 10 million riel ($2,500) by a Phnom Penh court which convicted him on charges including insurrection and inciting people to take up arms against the state.

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Japan Resumes Reactor Work Suspended since Fukushima Disaster

A Japanese power firm on Monday resumed construction of an atomic reactor stalled since the disaster at Fukushima, despite government plans to phase out nuclear power.

Electric Power Development, known as J-Power, said it had gone back to work on the plant in the country's north after getting the green light when the government announced its new energy policy aims last month.

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Turkish Parliament Opens as Clashes with Kurdish Rebels Flare

The Turkish parliament began a new legislative session Monday in a climate dominated by tough discussions on a new and more democratic constitution and renewed clashes between Kurdish rebels and security forces.

During his traditional speech opening the national assembly's session President Abdullah Gul called on members of the parliament not to "fall into the trap of terrorism", arising from the recent spike in attacks by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the southeast of the country, and abandon democratic progress in Turkey.

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