Philippines: Muslim rebels defy army ultimatum

Muslim guerrillas said they would defy a military ultimatum to surrender rebels who killed 14 Philippine marines, and braced Sunday for war, which both sides acknowledge would imperil already-shaky Malaysian-brokered peace talks. The military announced on Saturday that it had been authorized by the National Security Council to launch "punitive actions" against Moro Islamic Liberation Front insurgents who attacked a marine convoy searching for a kidnapped Italian priest on July 10 on southern Basilan island. Ten of the marines were found beheaded - an act condemned as barbaric by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the military.