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Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippine mall

A band of robbers armed with guns and hammers shot it out with Philippine police inside one of the world's largest shopping malls Sunday, sending Manila shoppers scrambling for safety, police and witnesses said. Waves of police commandos in bullet-proof vests and helmets and armed with assault rifles stormed the SM Mall of Asia, an AFP photographer saw, after the gang entered a jeweller's shop inside.

Philippine vessel evades Chinese ships in disputed waters

A Philippine re-supply ship evaded a Chinese coastguard blockade in the South China Sea Saturday to reach Filipino soldiers based on a remote reef claimed by both countries, the military said. The dramatic, two-hour stand-off witnessed by AFP was the latest in a rapid-fire series of escalations in a dispute between the two countries over their competing claims to waters and islands close to Philippine landmass.

Philippine vessel evades Chinese ships in disputed waters

A Philippine re-supply ship evaded a Chinese coastguard blockade in the South China Sea Saturday to reach Filipino soldiers based on a remote reef claimed by both countries, the military said. The dramatic, two-hour stand-off witnessed by the AFP was the latest in a rapid-fire series of escalations in a dispute between the two countries over their competing claims to waters and islands close to Philippine landmass.

Philippine vessel evades China 'blockade' of disputed reef

Philippine soldiers aboard a fishing vessel engaged Saturday in a dramatic stand-off with Chinese coastguard ships near a remote South China Sea reef claimed by both countries, an AFP journalist witnessed. The Philippine ship finally slipped past the Chinese blockade to reach Second Thomas Shoal, where a handful of Filipino marines are stationed on a Navy vessel that has been grounded there since 1999 to assert their nation's sovereignty.

Philippines signs military aircraft contracts for $528mn

The Philippines on Friday signed agreements to buy $528 million worth of military aircraft from South Korea and Canada amid ongoing territorial disputes with China. "After more than four decades of stagnancy in its dream of improving its capability, our air force has found a promise of new life with the realisation of our (military) modernisation programme," Philippine Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said.

Muslim rebels joyous, but wary, at peace prospects

Joyous shouts of "Allahu akbar" echoed across the headquarters of the Philippines' biggest Muslim rebel group as a pact to end four decades of bloodshed was signed, but there were also fears war clouds had yet to pass. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) ended its rebellion on Thursday when its leaders signed a deal in Manila with the government that would create a new, autonomous Muslim homeland in the southern Philippines.

Philippines, Muslim rebels sign final peace deal to end conflict

MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines and its largest Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), on Thursday signed a final peace pact, ending about 45 years of conflict that has killed more than 120,000 people in the country's south. The fight against Muslim separatists and Maoist guerrillas for almost five decades has stunted growth in resource-rich rural areas, besides scaring off potential investment in mines, plantations, energy and infrastructure.

Aquino hails Japan's role in peace deal between gov't, Muslim rebels

Philippine President Benigno Aquino hailed Japan for its contribution to the peace process in the restive Muslim Mindanao region that culminated Thursday in the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement. "We reiterate our gratitude to Japan, whose graciousness proved crucial in winning a once-elusive trust between the Philippine government and the MILF," Aquino said.

Key points on Philippine Muslim peace pact, rebels

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front ended four decades of armed struggle in the Philippines on Thursday when it signed a peace pact with the government. Here are key facts on the MILF and the peace deal: MILF: The MILF has about 10,000 armed followers, according to the military, which makes it easily the biggest Muslim rebel group in the Philippines. It has long fought for an independent homeland for the nation's Muslim minority to be carved out of the southern Philippines.

Philippines, Muslim rebels seal historic peace deal

The biggest Muslim rebel group in the Philippines signed an historic pact Thursday to end one of Asia's longest and deadliest conflicts, promising to give up their arms for an autonomous homeland. Following four decades of fighting that has claimed tens of thousands of lives, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed the peace deal with President Benigno Aquino's government at a high-profile ceremony in Manila.
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