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By John R. Bolton
The president fiddles at his domestic altar while the world burns
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Jejomar C. Binay
Muslim rebels holding more than 100 people hostage in the southern Philippines exchanged gunfire with government troops Saturday despite efforts by the country's vice president to arrange a cease-fire and end the six-day standoff.
China warned travelers over travel to the Philippines and demanded answers Tuesday over how eight Hong Kong tourists were killed in a hostage stand-off in Manila following a day of botched negotiations.
Benigno Aquino III was sworn in Wednesday as the Philippines' 15th president, leading a Southeast Asian nation his late parents helped liberate from dictatorship and which he promises to deliver from poverty and pervasive corruption.
Vice President Jejomar Binay said rebel leader Nur Misuari agreed to a truce late Friday by telephone, and he relayed the news to Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, who has been helping deal with the crisis in Zamboanga city, a major port.
Binay said he planned to fly to Zamboanga Saturday to help the negotiations.