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Manila Hostage Takers Free Children From Bus, Surrender to Police


PHILIPPINES HOSTAGES: The owner of a day-care center in the Philippine capital, Manila, who took a busload of his students and teachers hostage, has released them and surrendered. The man and an accomplice freed the 31 pre-schoolers and two teachers this (Wednesday) evening outside Manila's city hall, about 10 hours after the incident began. Both men were taken away by police. The hostage taker, named Jun Ducat, had demanded that authorities provide free education and housing for the 145 children who attend his facility in a poor Manila district.

THAILAND-MILITARY: Thailand's military leader is urging his government to declare emergency rule in Bangkok to stop opposition protests from gaining momentum. General Sonthi Boonyaratglin says he is concerned that current laws are not strong enough to prevent anti-government rallies from getting out of control. More than two-thousand people attended a rally last Friday outside Bangkok's Grand Palace to demand the military-installed government hold immediate general elections. The opposition rallies have grown bigger over the past month.

INDONESIA-BIRD FLU: Indonesian health officials say three people have died of bird flu, raising the country's death toll to 69. A Health Ministry official said a 39 year-old man died today (Wednesday) in Surabaya, the country's second largest city. A teenage boy and a 22-year-old woman died of the disease earlier this week. Bird flu has hit Indonesia harder than any other country. On Tuesday, Indonesia agreed to resume sharing its bird flu samples with the World Health Organization, ending a four-month dispute.

IRAQ: Iraqi security officials say gunmen have stormed a Sunni district in the northern town of Tal Afar, killing dozens of people in apparent reprisal for Tuesday's deadly truck bombings in a Shi'ite area. Hospital officials say they recieved at least 45 bodies. Earlier, at least 60 people died and more than 100 others were wounded in two truck bombings that occurred within minutes of each other in the town, near the Syrian border.

IRAN-BRITAIN: Britain's defense ministry says it has satellite imagery that proves British sailors seized by Iran were in Iraqi waters when they were captured. At a news conference in London today (Wednesday), Vice Admiral Charles Style presented maps and global positioning data that he said show the 15 British sailors were three-point-one kilometers within Iraqi waters when they were seized last Friday.

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