Xinhua Asia-Pacific news summary at 1000 GMT, Dec. 31

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MANILA -- At least two people were killed and 21 others wounded, including a four-year-old girl, when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded on Monday afternoon near the entrance of a mall in Cotabato City in the southern Philippines.

Philippine military and police authorities said the explosion happened around 1:59 p.m. local time in front of a major mall, as hundreds of people were shopping for the New Year's Eve revelry. (Philippines-Blast)

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KABUL -- At least 25 Taliban militants were killed after the Afghan Air Force launched airstrikes in eastern Wardak province, 35 km west of Kabul, the country's Ministry of Defense said Monday.

"A total of 25 Taliban militants were killed as a result of air strikes that conducted based on a confirmed tip-off in Sayyed Abad district, Wardak province, on Sunday," the ministry said in a statement. (Afghanistan-Militants)

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MANILA -- The death toll of landslides and flood triggered by heavy rains in the Philippines has risen to 68, the government agency said on Monday.

The deaths were mostly due to landslides and drowning in the Bicol region and Eastern Visayas in central Philippines, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) in its latest report. (Philippines-Flood-Toll)

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SINGAPORE -- Singapore's Ministry of Health has issued a reminder saying that the minimum legal age for the purchase, use, possession, sale and supply of tobacco products will be raised from 18 to 19 years old on Jan. 1, 2019, the Straits Times reported on Monday.

The move is a part of Singaporean government's plan to progressively raise the minimum legal age for smoking, which will go up to 20 years old on Jan. 1, 2020, and to 21 years old on Jan. 1, 2021. (Singapore-Tobacco-Age limit) Enditem

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