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Colombian rebels: Peace talks to start Oct. 15

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Talks between Colombia’s government and the leftist FARC rebels — aimed at ending one of Latin America’s oldest conflicts — are set to begin on October 15, the group said.

The statement sent to reporters in Havana, Cuba, where the parties met to negotiate the terms of the peace talks also said “the national government and the FARC … will make a public announcement on October 17 in the city of Oslo, Norway.”

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An earlier announcement from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia had said the negotiations were to begin in Oslo on October 8, before continuing in Havana.

The emailed statement was accompanied by an open letter from the FARC to one of its commanders, Simon Trinidad, serving a 60-year sentence in the US for kidnapping three Americans, whom the FARC listed as one of the negotiators for the Oslo talks.

The letter said they included Trinidad as a FARC team member for the dialogue as a point of “pride of the fighters for people’s rights.”

“The forms of realizing your contribution to this project will be discussed during talks,” the letter noted, adding that achieving peace would require “resolving the causes of the war.”

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The letter, signed Monday by the Central Staff of FARC in the mountains of Colombia, alleged that Trinidad was unfairly imprisoned for his FARC activities, which they characterized as “defending the rights of the dispossessed.”

This month’s peace talks are the first attempt in a decade to achieve a negotiated to end the conflict that began when the guerrilla group was founded in 1964. Three earlier attempts failed.

The last round of peace talks, held in 2002, collapsed when the Colombian government concluded that the guerrillas were regrouping in a Switzerland-sized demilitarized zone it created to help reach a peace deal.

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[Image via Agence France-Presse]

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump aides desperately try to downplay ‘order’ to US companies to leave China

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Donald Trump's top aides on Sunday downplayed the idea of US companies being forced to abandon China any time soon, as an edict from the president ordering businesses to start looking for alternatives has been met with skepticism.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House economics advisor Larry Kudlow took to the airwaves from France, where Trump is participating in the G7 summit, to smooth out tensions in the business community prompted by Trump's Friday tweet.

Trump said he has "no plan now" to bring US companies in line, and his aides quickly reinforced the message.

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Trump sparks confusion at G7 before doubling down on China tariffs

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President Donald Trump doubled down Sunday on his hard line against China after sowing confusion with statements that he might be willing to soften a trade war G7 partners fear threatens the world economy.

At the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, Trump announced a major trade deal with Japan and promised more of the same with Britain, once Brexit is done.

But the positives were overshadowed by a mix-up over his apparent expression of regret for the latest escalation in the US-China dispute.

"I have second thoughts about everything," he conceded to reporters when asked if he regretted his decision on Friday to ramp up tariffs on all Chinese imports, worth some $550 billion, in retaliation for Beijing's earlier hike of levies on US goods.

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G7 wrestles with Iran, Amazon fires and trade, but own unity shaky

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G7 leaders close their summit Monday with discussion of world problems including the fires ravaging the Amazon rainforest, but overshadowed by President Donald Trump's trade wars and questions over the group's unity.

The summit in Biarritz, a high-end surfers' paradise in southwestern France, saw a dramatic shift of focus Saturday when Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif flew in to discuss the diplomatic deadlock on Tehran's disputed nuclear programme.

Zarif's presence had not been expected and it represented a gamble by French host Emmanuel Macron who is seeking to soothe spiralling tensions between Iran and the United States.

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