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Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

After hostage beheading, is Philippines facing IS threat?

Months before Abu Sayyaf militants beheaded retired Canadian mining executive John Ridsdel in the tropical jungles of the southern Philippines, they showed him pleading for life in a video with three other hostages that demanded a record-high ransom.

The scene was all too familiar in a Southeast Asian nation that has struggled with ransom kidnappings by the Islamic militants for years, except for two things.

In the video that appeared in November, two black flags with Islamic State group symbols were displayed by the heavily armed Abu Sayyaf fighters in the backdrop of lush foliage. Then after a deadline for ransom lapsed on Monday, they killed the 68-year-old Ridsdel...