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In brief: Muslim kidnap suspect arrested

Fri., Feb. 19, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine troops arrested a suspected Muslim militant accused in the high-profile kidnappings of three Americans and dozens of Filipinos nine years ago, the military reported Friday.

It said Jumadali Arad was captured at Manila harbor Thursday as he was about to board a ship bound for the southern Philippines, where the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf group has planted bombs and carried out kidnappings despite U.S.-backed military offensives against the militants.

Arad had been in hiding since 2001, when Abu Sayyaf abducted three American and 17 Filipino tourists from the Dos Palmas resort in southwestern Palawan province at the start of a yearlong kidnapping spree, said marine commandant Maj. Gen. Juancho Sabban.

American missionary Gracia Burnham survived the jungle captivity, but her husband, Martin, was killed in the military rescue in 2002. The third American, Guillermo Sobero, was beheaded by the militants on Basilan Island.

Japan told to halt whaling this year

SYDNEY, Australia – Australia’s prime minister on Friday set a November deadline for Japan to stop its research whaling program that kills hundreds of whales a year in Antarctic waters, or else face legal action.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Australia would prefer to use diplomatic means to persuade Japan to end its hunt.

“If that fails, then we will initiate court action before the commencement of the whaling season in November 2010,” he told the Seven Network. “That’s the bottom line and we’re very clear to the Japanese, that’s what we intend to do.”

Japan hunts hundreds of mostly minke whales – which are not an endangered species – in Antarctic waters each year under its whaling research program, an allowed exception to the International Whaling Commission’s 1986 ban on commercial whaling. Whale meat not used for study is sold for consumption in Japan, which critics say is the real reason for the hunts.


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