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Philippine rebels suspend 'beheading'

MANILA -- The separatist Abu Sayyaf rebels delayed a deadline Thursday for beheading U.S. hostage Jeffrey Schilling after an appeal by his mother.

The Muslim rebel group had threatened to behead Schilling as a gift to President Macapagal-Arroyo on her 54th birthday.

Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abu Sabaya issued a statement over Radyo Agong radio station a few minutes after the deadline declaring that the execution had been called off.

"The execution is suspended to give Mrs. Schilling a chance to appeal to President to settle this problem," Sabaya said.

Sabaya asked Carol Schilling, who arrived in Manila Monday, to make a direct appeal to Macapagal.

Thousands of government soldiers have been combing Basilan and nearby islands in the southern Philippines after orders by the President to "annihilate" the rebels.

The conflict between the government and the rebels intensified sharply after former President Estrada ordered 'all-out war' in response to a spate of kidnappings for ransom by Abu Sayyaf members.


Earlier stories

Six freed hostages from Philippines welcomed by Ghadafi in Tripoli, Libya
Abu Sayyaf Muslim rebels ready to release six hostages

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Central Asia

IMF under fire
in Kyrgyzstan
(Times of Central Asia)

Water games in
Central Asia
(Times of Central Asia)

East Asia

Presidential hopefuls jockey
for positions in
ruling party
(Korea Herald)

Ancient wall painting
stirs excitement

Pacific Islands

Yapese celebrate culture
with food, friends
(Pacific Daily News)

Speight and other
jailed rebels eye

South Asia

Lashkar strikes again
(Indian Express)

30 die in stampede outside shrine in Pakistan
(Times of India)

Southeast Asia

Malaysia's high-tech zone
misses expectations: PM

Asian central banks
tighten efforts to
protect currency
(Strait Times)

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