PHILIPPINES-VIOLENCE: Philippine officials say Islamic militants have killed 14 marines, beheading 10 of them, during the heaviest fighting in recent months in the country's restive south. A Marine spokesman (Lieutenant Colonel Ariel Caculitan) said today (Wednesday) that about 50 marines searching for a kidnapped Italian priest were attacked by about 300 insurgents, mainly from the Abu Sayyaf rebel group. Nine marines were wounded in the fighting in Tipo Tipo, on the southern island of Basilan.
CHINA FLOODS: Chinese state media say floods and landslides caused by torrential rainfall have killed at least 360 people across China this summer. The official Xinhua news agency says most of the deaths have occurred in southwestern Sichuan province. It says the floods have affected 40 counties in the province, submerging four downtown areas and bursting two dams. Xinhua says that nationwide, the floods have destroyed more than 200-thousand houses and affected more than four million hectares of grain crops. Authorities put the direct economic losses at more than three-billion dollars.
NOKOR-MEDICINE: A South Korean pharmaceutical group says it has sent about three million dollars worth of medicines to North Korea. The Korea Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association says it sent the medicines in May, at the request of the North Korean Red Cross. It says the North's Red Cross had sent a letter in February requesting drugs to treat tuberculosis, pneumonia and other diseases -- even if they were outdated. The pharmaceutical group says it declined the request for drugs past their expiration date because of safety concerns.
THAILAND-POL: The general who led Thailand's military coup last year says he has not decided whether to run for a parliamentary seat in a general election promised for later this year. General Sonthi Boonyaratglin denied a a "Bangkok Post" newspaper article today (Wednesday) that says two political parties now being organized are interested in fielding him as a parliamentary candidate. The general says he has not thought about his future after he faces mandatory retirement from the army in September.
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