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Simultaneous unilateral ceasefires will help

Secretary Silvestre Bello III, chairman of the Philippine government’s negotiating panel in the peace talks with the National Democratic Front-Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (NDF-CPP-NPA) , said he had a dinner meeting with NDF chief negotiator Fred Agcaoili, at which he appealed that the other side “lessen the violence.”

Jose Maria Sison has admitted that, despite being the founding chairman of the 49-year-old Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), he does not exercise control over the Lefist group’s armed component, the New People’s Army (NPA), which has continued to engage government forces in armed conflict despite ongoing peace negotiations.

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An international tribunal will hand down a ruling in an increasingly bitter dispute over the South China Sea tomorrow, in a closely-watched case that risks ratcheting up tensions in Southeast Asia.

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