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ANKARA---Forty-nine Turks held hostage for months by Islamic State jihadists in northern Iraq were freed and returned to Turkey on Saturday, to emotional family reunions and a triumphant Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Turkish diplomats and their children were seized along with special forces officers in their country's consulate in the Iraqi city of Mosul on June 11 as IS militants overran whole swathes of northern Iraq. Davutoglu announced their liberation early Saturday and cut short a visit to Azerbaijan to greet the ex-hostages. He gave no details of the circumstances of their release, though other officials and media reports spoke of a "secret operatio...Keep on reading: 49 Turks kidnapped by IS militants freed
MANILA, Philippines--- Tropical storm "Mario" slowed down slightly while heading out the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Saturday afternoon, the state weather bureau said. In its 5 p.m bulletin, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said Mario was spotted at 203 kilometers north-northwest of Laoag City with maximum winds of 105kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 135 kph.It was forecast to move north-northeast at 17 kilometrs per hour and was expected to leave PAR by Sunday evening.The weather bureau raised public storm warning Signal No. 2 over Calayan and Babuyan Group ...Keep on reading: ‘Mario’ slows down as it heads out of PH
MANILA, Philippines---Typhoon Luis and Tropical Storm Mario have together exacted a toll on farms that totalled P1.14 billion as of noon Saturday, according to an initial assessment by the Department of Agriculture. According to the DA, rice farms suffered the worst, with some 53,800 tons or P934 million worth of paddy rice lost. However, of the 99,875 hectares of rice farms affected, 96,046 hectares show promise of recovery, the DA said. Also ravaged were corn crops, with losses valued at P150.6 million, equivalent to almost 11,566 tons of harvest. The DA said all but 13 hectares of the 21,321 hectares of affected corn fa...Keep on reading: Back to back storms cause P1.14 billion in agricultural losses
MANILA, Philippines---Vice President Jejomar Binay has every right to refuse the Senate's invitation for him to appear at the inquiry into the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building 2, a well-known election lawyer said Saturday. In a press statement, Romulo Macalintal said Binay "could not be forced" to testify before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, which has invited him to air his side on allegations that he earned kickbacks from the construction of the P2.28-billion building during his time as mayor of Makati City. Macalintal said the protection accorded a sitting president from Congress subpoeanas under the doctrine of separation of powers...Keep on reading: Binay has right not to appear at Senate hearing—Macalintal