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Philippines' Arroyo defiant over US criticism of troop pull-out

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo was defiant amid sharp US criticism over her decision to pull-out troops from Iraq to save the life of a Filipino hostage kidnapped by Islamic militants. Arroyo, in a policy speech at the foreign office, said the decision to bring home the 51-man contingent earlier this week was necessary to ease threats against the estimated 4,000 Filipino civilians working to help rebuild Iraq. Ex-hostage Angelo de la Cruz, 46, was freed on Tuesday by his captors after the last Filipino forces left Iraq. He flew home a media celebrity on Thursday and is to join Arroyo in a special thanksgiving mass late on Friday.Full Story

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