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WORLD
September 16, 2013 | By Pablo Jaramillo Viteri and Chris Kraul
QUITO, Ecuador - Colombia has agreed to pay $15 million to settle a lawsuit filed by Ecuador for human and economic damage caused by spraying an anti-coca herbicide that blew across the countries' common border. The settlement of the 2008 lawsuit brought by Ecuador before the International Court of Justice at The Hague was announced by both governments Friday. In a statement, Colombia's Foreign Ministry said the “friendly agreement” included money to encourage economic development in Ecuador's border zone.
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WORLD
September 6, 2013 | By Chris Kraul
BOGOTA, Colombia --  With Starbucks preparing to enter the Colombian market and compete against entrenched retailers, including the country's signature Juan Valdez chain, some growers here can be excused for wondering, “What if?”   In the early 1970s, when Starbucks was launched in Seattle, company executives offered the Colombian Federation of Coffee Growers a minority ownership stake in exchange for a steady supply of the country's high quality, smooth-tasting arabica beans, among the most coveted in the world.
WORLD
August 12, 2013 | By Chris Kraul
FLORENCIA, Colombia - The expansion of China's middle class isn't some abstract notion in this sweltering corner of Colombia's Amazon River basin. It's driving a private-public partnership trying to steer the local economy away from illegal coca farming and toward filling Asia's growing demand for expensive ornamental fish. Fish farming around Florencia, a city of 165,000 people, is focused on the silver arowana, a highly coveted species called dragonfish in China. Each silver arowana costs pennies to raise but sells at retail for up to $40 in Hong Kong, where collectors view an aquarium filled with nine arowanas as a sign of good luck.
WORLD
August 9, 2013 | By Chris Kraul
BOGOTA, Colombia - With the public's patience wearing thin, pressure is mounting on the Colombian government and the FARC rebel group to make substantive progress in peace talks that have bogged down over how to fashion a political role for the insurgents. On Saturday, the two sides will complete their 12th bargaining session in Havana since the negotiations began in October. Only the first of six bargaining issues on the agenda - an agrarian reform initiative - has been settled, and observers see little chance of a breakthrough on the second: the mechanics of the rebels making the transition from warfare to post-conflict democracy.
WORLD
August 6, 2013 | By Chris Kraul
BOGOTA -- Colombia's foreign ministry on Tuesday said it had received no response from Nicaragua to its protest last week Nicaragua of the Central American country's plan to auction off dozens of offshore oil exploration blocks in disputed Caribbean waters. Last Wednesday, Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin wrote to Nicaragua that Colombia would “not accept nor permit” oil exploration in the disputed parts of a 7,000-square-mile area in the southwestern Caribbean. The update came after Colombian President Jose Manuel Santos on Monday told a Bogota radio station that his government would soon disclose its strategy to maintain control of Caribbean marine territory that the International Court of Justice last year ruled belonged to Nicaragua.
WORLD
August 5, 2013 | By Chris Kraul
BOGOTA, Colombia -- In a radio interview Monday, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos backed away from a self-imposed deadline of November for completing a peace accord that is being negotiated in Havana with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. Negotiators, who are now attending their 12th session, which ends Saturday, have reached agreement on just one of six major points -- the section on agrarian reform -- that will make up a final deal. It took the better part of seven months to hammer that out. “If in November we haven't finished entirely, we'll see where we are, and if we have to prolong the talks a couple of months, we'll extend them," Santos told Caracol Radio in Bogota.
SPORTS
August 2, 2013 | By Eric Sondheimer
 A year ago, when he was an incoming freshman at San Juan Capistrano JSerra, Chase Strumpf was cut from the USA national youth team that he was trying to make. That might be the final time in his life that someone dares to cut Strumpf. On Friday, he hit his fifth home run in six games of the COPABE Pan American Games in Colombia, helping the USA 15U national team improve to 6-0 with a 9-0 win over Brazil. Strumpf became the starting shortstop as a freshman at JSerra this past season.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 26, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
Long before Mexico descended into its "drug war," the phrase itself was invented in another country. In the 1980s the underground industry that processed coca into cocaine and shipped it northward to U.S. consumers transformed Colombian society. It created powerful drug barons who became public villains and icons, and it saw a country and its public institutions nearly consumed by a culture of violence. Juan Gabriel Vásquez's deeply affecting and closely observed new novel takes up the psychic aftermath of that era, as residents of Colombia's capital, Bogota, struggle to make sense of the disorder and dysfunction that's enveloped their daily lives.
WORLD
July 25, 2013 | By Chris Kraul
BOGOTA, Colombia -- Work on Colombia's biggest-ever construction project, a $6.47-billion refinery called Reficar going up near the coastal city of Cartagena, has ground to a halt amid ongoing labor strife, the latest in a series of setbacks that has contributed to delays and billions in cost overruns on the megaproject.   The strike is only the latest in Colombia's fast-growing energy and mining sectors.  The most notable impacts have been a slowdown this year in the country's oil boom and a possible decline in coal exports for the first time in a decade, both partly the result of labor strikes.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 14, 2013 | By Catherine Saillant
Los Angeles police Sunday were looking for the driver of a gray Dodge Challenger who allegedly shot and killed a motorist in the northeast San Fernando Valley during a road-rage confrontation Saturday. The victim, who was driving a red Kia Rio, was wounded near the mouth and was taken to two hospitals before being pronounced dead, said Lt. Kamran Khan of the LAPD's Mission Division. Police identified the victim only as 22-year-old male Latino. Authorities have ruled out any gang-related motive and say the confrontation appears to be a case of road rage.
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