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21 Killed in Philippines Abduction


PHILIPPINES KIDNAP: Military officials in the southern Philippines say 21 people have been found dead after about 100 gunmen, believed to be followers of a local politician, kidnapped at least 30 people to prevent a rival from filing a nomination for upcoming elections. Authorities said Monday that a woman planning to file her husband's nomination for provincial governor and several journalists and lawyers were among those taken in a mountainous area in Maguindanao province on the southern island of Mindanao. The military said troops sent to the area recovered the bodies of 21 people who were among those kidnapped. The vote is scheduled for May 21 of 2010. Elections in the Philippines are often marred by violence, especially in the south, where security forces are fighting communist rebels, Islamic radicals and fierce clan rivalries.

CAMBODIA-UN TRIAL: Closing arguments began Monday in the trial of former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kaing Guek Eav -- better known as Duch (pronounced DOIK) -- who is accused of overseeing the torture and execution of more than 15,000 men, women and children in Cambodia. The trial concludes Friday. Tribunal judges are expected to issue a ruling and sentence early next year. Duch faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Cambodia has no death penalty. Duch is the only accused Khmer Rouge leader to acknowledge responsibility for his actions as head of the S-21 prison in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. Prisoners were tortured there, then taken away to be killed. Duch, who has apologized repeatedly, is expected to issue another apology when he takes the stand later this week. He has pleaded no contest to the charges.

US-INDIA: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is in the United States for a four-day state visit aimed at addressing the situation in Afghanistan and nuclear energy cooperation. Mr. Singh arrived Sunday and will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday. The two are expected to discuss New Delhi's concern that the war in Afghanistan could further destabilize India's neighbor, Pakistan. Ahead of his arrival, Mr. Singh told CNN it is not clear if Pakistan's objectives in Afghanistan are those of the United States. He also expressed concern about Pakistan's nuclear arsenal falling into the wrong hands. The Indian prime minister also will meet with American business leaders and foreign policy scholars during his visit.

US-SPACE SHUTTLE: Two astronauts from the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis are preparing for their third and final spacewalk of their mission to the International Space Station. Astronauts Robert Satcher Jr. and Randy Bresnik spent the night in the airlock Sunday to lower the nitrogen in their bloodstream - a procedure that helps avoid decompression sickness when astronauts head out into the vacuum of space. The two are scheduled to step into outer space Monday (at 1218 UTC) to attach a new oxygen tank as well as other materials for use in science experiments. Bresnik and fellow shuttle Atlantis crew members will return to Earth Friday after completing their 11-day mission.

CHINA-MINE: Grieving families of victims of a deadly explosion in a northeast Chinese coal mine are demanding answers from the owners. The protesters at the gates of the state-run Xinxing coal mine in Hegang city complained Monday that nobody has told them anything, and that they can not reach local officials. Local authorities in Heilongjiang Province announced Monday morning that the death toll from Saturday's gas explosion has reached 104, with four workers still trapped in the mine.

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