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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.”

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.”

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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.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

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GOP senator flops hard when CNN’s Tapper asks him to name one case where Trump cared about foreign corruption

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Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) on Friday furiously tried to deflect when CNN's Jake Tapper asked him to name one instance other than Ukraine where President Donald Trump held up foreign aid to a country because he was concerned it was not fighting corruption.

During an interview, Tapper asked Lankford if he agreed that Trump's primary concern in holding up military assistance to Ukraine was because he sincerely wanted to root out corruption in the country rather than urge it to investigate his political opponents.

"Yes, I do actually think he's concerned about corruption and the people of Ukraine," the senator replied.

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Fox & Friends audience revolts after Geraldo Rivera hammers ‘diminished’ Rudy Giuliani

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"Fox & Friends" hosts were shocked by Geraldo Rivera's blunt assessment of Rudy Giuliani -- who had appeared on the show a short time earlier.

President Donald Trump's attorney spun wild claims about Joe Biden's dealings in Ukraine, as the Senate considers impeachment charges involving Giuliani's own actions there and the president's pressure scheme against its government, and Rivera expressed shock and alarm.

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New report blows the lid off a shadowy Christian nationalist group’s effort to re-write the law

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Bills that that are popping up in Tennessee and other states which seek to discriminate against LGBTQ people and bring religion into the public sphere are no coincidence; they're the result of a coordinate effort by Project Blitz -- a consortium of three Christian nationalist groups: the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, the National Legal Foundation, and the Wallbuilders.

Washington Monthly spoke to Fred Clarkson, who's been studying the Christian right for decades, and he says that these bills "reflect the theocratic vision that’s animated a meaningful portion of the Christian Right for some time." According to Clarkson, Project Blitz's strategy is to divide their "model legislation" into three categories, depending on how much opposition each bill is expected to receive:

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