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Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda called a ministerial meeting Thursday to discuss relief measures. Defense troops have been dispatched to worst-hit areas, including Aomori, where hundreds of people were evacuated.


Mon ethnic rebels agree on cease-fire

YANGON | A mediator said Myanmar’s government has reached a cease-fire agreement with another ethnic rebel group in its latest effort to ensure political stability.

Civilian mediator Hla Maung Shwe said Thursday the agreement was reached by authorities in Mon State and the rebel New Mon State Party. He said they agreed Wednesday to allow the rebel group to open a liaison office and travel freely without weapons.

The two sides are to meet again in the third week of February for a more extensive agreement.

He said similar agreements have been reached recently with other groups representing the Karen, Shan, Chin, Wa and Kokang minorities.

The new military-backed but elected government is seeking peace with minority groups that have been fighting for autonomy for decades.


Airstrike kills most-wanted terror leaders

MANILA | The Philippine military said it killed Southeast Asia’s most wanted terrorist and two other senior militants Thursday in a U.S.-backed airstrike, marking one of the region’s biggest anti-terrorism successes in recent years.

The dawn strike targeting a militant camp on a southern Philippine island killed Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan, a top leader of the regional, al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah terror network, said military spokesman Col. Marcelo Burgos.

The U.S. had offered a $5 million reward for the capture of Marwan, a U.S.-trained engineer accused of involvement in a number of deadly bombings in the Philippines and in training new militants.

Also killed were the leader of the Philippine-based Abu Sayyaf militants, Umbra Jumdail, and a Singaporean leader in Jemaah Islamiyah, Abdullah Ali, who used the guerrilla name Muawiyah, Col. Burgos said.


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