Communist rebels abduct soldier in southern Philippines, army says

PhilippinesManila - Communist rebels abducted a Philippine army soldier who visited a clinic for a medical check-up in a southern province, an army spokesman said Wednesday. Troops have been dispatched to rescue Private Ronnie Trinidad from the guerrillas in Compostela Valley province, 930 kilometres south of Manila, Lieutenant Franco Ver Lopez said.

Trinidad went to a clinic in New Bataan town Tuesday after experiencing stomachaches and was accompanied by another soldier, who bought supplies for their battalion, Lopez said.

Asia-Pacific ministers concerned over swine flu impact on travel

Asia-Pacific ministers concerned over swine flu impact on travel Manila- Asia-Pacific transport ministers on Tuesday expressed concern over the possible impact of a deadly swine flu outbreak on global travel and agreed to undertake "urgent steps" to prevent the spread of the disease. Philippine Transportation Undersecretary Elena Bautista said officials and representatives of the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) economies called for greater cooperation to ensure public safety.

Three communist rebels killed in clash in Philippines

Bomb explosion kills one in southern Philippine resort Manila - Three communist rebels were killed Tuesday in a clash with government troops in an eastern Philippine province, an army spokesman said. Major Armand Rico said soldiers were dispatched to a remote village in Palapag town in Northern Samar province, 465 kilometres south-east of Manila, to check on reports of rebel extortion.

The firefight erupted when the soldiers caught up with at least 40 rebels, Rico said.

Philippine forces lose track of ailing Red Cross hostage

Philippines closely monitors kidnapped Filipino seamen in Somalia Manila- Philippine security forces have lost track of an ailing Italian Red Cross worker held by Muslim militants on a southern island for over 100 days, a Marine spokesman acknowledged Monday. Lieutenant Colonel Edgard Arevalo appealed for public "patience and understanding" as security forces tried to determine the exact location of Eugenio Vagni, a staffer of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Philippines steps up airport screening against swine flu

Philippines Manila - The Philippines has stepped up screening of travellers from Mexico and other countries affected by an outbreak of a deadly swine flu virus, health authorities said Monday. Health Secretary Francisco Duque stressed that there was still no case of swine flu among humans in the Philippines.

"There is no report of swine flu among humans in the Philippines," he told a press conference.

But Duque urged the public to practice good hygiene to avoid getting sick amid growing concern over the outbreak of the swine flu virus in Mexico, the United States and Canada.

Bomb explosion kills one in southern Philippine resort

Bomb explosion kills one in southern Philippine resort Cotabato City, Philippines  - One man was killed while three were wounded when a homemade bomb exploded in a beach resort in the southern Philippines, a regional military spokesman said Monday.

Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Ponce said the explosion occurred late Sunday in the Besana Beach Resort in Lebak town in Sultan Kudarat province, 930 kilometres south of Manila.

Ponce said the bomb, made from a 60-millemetre mortar, exploded in an empty cottage adjacent to the cottage occupied by the victims.