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  • Philippines' oldest artworks in danger of disappearing
    Philippines' oldest artworks in danger of disappearing

    The 127 engravings of people, animals and geometric shapes are the Southeast Asian nation's oldest known artworks, but encroaching urbanisation, vandals and the ravages of nature are growing threats. The artworks have been declared a national treasure, regarded as the best proof that relatively sophisticated societies existed in the Philippines in the Stone Age. "They show that in ancient times, the Philippines did have a complex culture. Museum scientists believe the carvings date back to …

  • Hong Kong, Philippines end emotional hostage row
    Hong Kong, Philippines end emotional hostage row

    Hong Kong and the Philippines announced Wednesday they had resolved an enduring and deeply emotional row over a deadly hostage crisis, allowing soured diplomatic relations to return to normal. The breakthrough came after a deal was struck on the most sensitive issues of compensation to the victims of the tragedy, which saw eight tourists from Hong Kong killed following a bus hijacking in Manila in 2010, as well as an apology. "The resolution of the incident enables the normalisation of the …

  • Philippines arrests extremist in Malaysia resort kidnapping
    Philippines arrests extremist in Malaysia resort kidnapping

    Philippine forces on Wednesday arrested a Muslim extremist believed to have taken part in the kidnapping of 21 people from a Malaysian resort in 2000, a senior commander said. Such cross-border kidnappings have become more common recently with militants from the lawless southern Philippines travelling to nearby Malaysia, where there are many dive resorts popular with foreign tourists. Nabil Talahi Idjiran, a member of the Abu Sayyaf group who took part in one such raid on Malaysia's Sipadan …

  • Trade and travel ties grow for Cubans, Cuban Americans
    Trade and travel ties grow for Cubans, Cuban Americans

    A rise in trade and travel is helping bridge a gulf that has divided Cubans from expats in Florida for more than half a century, experts said. Some experts say relations are better than at any time since the rupture in diplomatic ties between Havana and Washington in the early 1960's, in the aftermath of the Cuban Revolution -- in part because of looser travel restrictions on both sides. The ties "have never been so diverse or so rich" between the 11 million inhabitants on the communist-run …

  • Chinese clampdown on extravagant feasts hits Pernod Ricard sales
    Chinese clampdown on extravagant feasts hits Pernod Ricard sales

    Pernod Ricard, the world's second-biggest wine and spirits producer, said on Thursday that sales dipped 7.0 percent in the third quarter, hit by China's clampdown on extravagant feasts at official events. Revenues for the three months ending March reached 1.6 billion euros, according to a statement from the company, which owns brands including Absolut vodka, Ballantine's whisky and Ricard pastis. "Sales were impacted primarily by China where the decline was exacerbated by destocking in the …

  • Armenia accuses Turkey of 'utter denial' on genocide
    Armenia accuses Turkey of 'utter denial' on genocide

    Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian on Thursday accused Turkey of an "utter denial" in failing to recognise World War I mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide, apparently brushing off Ankara's first ever offer of condolences for the tragedy. In an unprecedented move described by the United States as a historic gesture, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday offered condolences over the massacres, calling them "our shared pain." But in a statement marking …

  • Bitcoin exchange MtGox to start liquidation process
    Bitcoin exchange MtGox to start liquidation process

    Failed Bitcoin exchange MtGox, whose spectacular collapse hammered the digital currency's reputation, is to be liquidated after a Japanese court on Thursday ordered the start of bankruptcy proceedings, said a lawyer appointed to carry out the process. The global virtual currency community was shaken by the shuttering of MtGox, which froze withdrawals in early February because of what the firm said was a bug in the software underpinning Bitcoin that allowed hackers to pilfer them. The ruling …

  • Sun and terror suspects: welcome to Guantanamo Bay
    Sun and terror suspects: welcome to Guantanamo Bay

    This is Guantanamo Bay, Cuba -- where the US government is detaining some of the world's top terror suspects on a century-old naval base. The US base, in operation in this southeastern corner of Cuba since 1903, has yellow barracks stretching into the distance and several old hangars encircled with barbed wire and marked with "No Photography" signs. A statue of Our Lady of Charity of Cobre, the patron saint of Cuba, overlooks the bay. "Guantanamo Bay is almost like stepping back 20 years in …

  • Obama urges Japan to take 'bold steps' in huge trade deal
    Obama urges Japan to take 'bold steps' in huge trade deal

    US President Barack Obama urged Japan Thursday to take "bold steps" to seal a Pacific-wide trade deal after Washington failed to wrest key concessions from Tokyo. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a vast agreement that would cover about 40 percent of the global economy, is a key plank in Obama's bid for a renewed focus on Asia. It is also seen as crucial for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's pledge to shake up his country's long-lumbering economy. But the ambitious 12-nation deal has …

  • Classes resume at South Korean school scarred by ferry disaster
    Classes resume at South Korean school scarred by ferry disaster

    Senior classes resumed Thursday at the South Korean high school devastated by the loss of around 250 students in a ferry disaster that has made the school a focus of profound national grief. The final-year students from Danwon High School in Ansan city just south of Seoul returned to their classrooms which have remained empty since the ferry carrying 325 students on a school trip to the southern resort island of Jeju capsized and sank on April 16. …