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Philippines profile
More than 7,000 islands make up the Philippines, but the bulk of its fast-growing population lives on just 11 of them.Much of the country is mountainous and prone to earthquakes and eruptions from around 20 active volcanoes. It is often buffeted by typhoons and other storms.Two presidents of the Philippines were forced from office by "people power" in the space of 15 years.The Philippines - a Spanish colony for more than three centuries and named after a 16th century Spanish king - was taken over by the US in the early 20th century after a protracted rebellion against rule from Madrid. Spanish and US influences remain strong, especially in terms of language, religion and government.Self-rule in 1935 was followed by full independence in 1946 under a US-style constitution. President Ferdinand Marcos, a close ally of the US, imposed martial law in the early 1970s but was forced to step down in 1986 after mass demonstrations cost him the support of the armed forces.Although the country has remained a democracy it has enjoyed little stability. The radical Islamist Abu Sayyaf group on the island of Jolo, which is reputedly linked to Al-Qaeda, has a history of violence towards hostages, and the government has declared all-out war on it. Since 1969, the government has also faced a protracted guerrilla campaign across much of the country by the communist New People's Army (NPA). A serious effort at talks in February 2011 resulted in an agreement with the NPA to work towards a peace deal by 2012, although mutual distrust remains a problem.

Philippines profile
More than 7,000 islands make up the Philippines, but the bulk of its fast-growing population lives on just 11 of them.Much of the country is mountainous and prone to earthquakes and eruptions from around 20 active volcanoes. It is often buffeted by typhoons and other storms.Two presidents of the Philippines were forced from office by "people power" in the space of 15 years.The Philippines - a...

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