PHILIPPINES

Hostages reach safety

The Philippine defense chief says a deadly three-week standoff between government troops and Muslim rebels who held 195 people hostage has ended with all of the captives safe. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said early today that only a handful of Moro National Liberation Front rebels remained hiding and were being hunted by troops in the coastal outskirts of Zamboanga city in the south of the country. Authorities were trying to determine if rebel commander Habier Malik, who led the Sept. 9 siege, was among those killed. The military said more than 200 people were killed in the clashes, including 166 rebels.

SERBIA

Gay pride march banned

Serbian authorities banned a gay pride march in Belgrade for a third consecutive year because of threats made by right-wing groups, officials said Friday. Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said top security and state officials decided to ban today’s event because they feared a repeat of violence in 2010, when extremists attacked a gay pride march in the capital. Serbia, which is seeking European Union membership, has pledged to respect human rights, and whether or not they allowed the march this year was regarded as a test of that vow.

MEXICO

Cholera outbreak widens

Authorities said cholera has killed one person and sickened at least another nine in central Mexico. Two cases were detected in Mexico City and the rest in the nearby state of Hidalgo, where one person died. Authorities said it’s the same cholera strain that is sickening hundreds of people in Caribbean countries, including Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

More human heads found

Police have found three human heads in the same small town in western Mexico where another three heads were found a day earlier. Michoacan state prosecutors’ spokesman Alejandro Arellano said the heads found Friday were left at a monument in Los Reyes, a town where “self-defense” vigilantes have clashed with drug traffickers in recent months.

Compiled from wire reports.