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Marines die in al-Qa'ida clash

Philippine marines who were searching for long-held hostages battled al-Qa'ida-linked militants in a fierce clash that killed four marines and at least two insurgents in the country's south.

The fighting erupted in the mountainous hinterlands of Patikul town in Sulu province, where the Abu Sayyaf movement has survived in jungle encampments despite years of US-backed Philippine military offensives. Twenty-two marines were wounded in the daylong clash yesterday that involved up to 200 Abu Sayyaf fighters and their allies.

Dulux dog put on danger list

The old English sheepdog has been put on a watchlist of endangered dogs over fears it could face extinction.

The breed, used in advertisements for Dulux paint for more than 50 years, had just 316 of its puppies registered this year, the Kennel Club said.

The Pembroke Welsh corgi, the soft-coated wheaten terrier and the Welsh terrier are also on the 'at watch' list for breeds with only 301 and 450 puppies confirmed.

19pc on cruises 'cannot swim'

Nearly one in five cruise holiday customers cannot swim, a survey has revealed.

Most of the non-swimmers do not think being able to keep their heads above water is important, the poll by bonvoyage.co.uk found.

Of those attaching no importance to swimming ability, most were unconcerned as they knew lifejackets would be available, with 52pc of the non-swimmers saying they felt "completely safe" even when surrounded by water. A total of 1,562 tourists who had taken a cruise holiday were surveyed, with 19pc saying they could not swim.

Boy missing after storm

Fears are growing for the safety of a British schoolboy who disappeared on a holiday island in France during a severe storm.

The boy, believed to be Pierre Barnes (12), vanished yesterday after going for a bike ride on the island of Porquerolles, near Toulon, on the Mediterranean coast.

Rescuers found one of his shoes on a coastal path, alongside his bike with its chain off.