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October 2, 2010
For many years now, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia ? guerrillas who have waged civil war against the government since the 1960s ? have been falling behind the times. Living as they do in Colombia's vast forests, the FARC troops, made up mostly of poor peasants who are given guns, a bit of food and a smattering of pseudo-communist ideology, are often the last to get important updates about world events. For example, several American military contractors who were held hostage by the FARC until their rescue in 2008 recounted their futile efforts to convince their captors that the Panama Canal was no longer in the possession of the United States, or that the real reason for the U.S. embargo of Cuba was not to keep Americans from fleeing there.
September 24, 2010 | By Chris Kraul, Los Angeles Times
The Colombian armed forces delivered a major blow to the nation's largest insurgent group, killing a key rebel leader at his base camp in a remote area of southeastern Meta state. President Juan Manuel Santos, in New York to attend a session of the United Nations, confirmed Thursday that longtime rebel leader Victor Julio Suarez Rojas, 57, had been killed in an operation carried out Wednesday and early Thursday by 600 troops, led by special forces and supported by 27 helicopters and 30 other aircraft.
September 3, 2010 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
"Soul Kitchen" is a lively, easygoing farce filled with high-energy music and amusing complications. It sounds like the least likely film to be written and directed by Fatih Akin. Or does it? Akin, born in Germany of Turkish parents, is best known for way-serious films such as the devastating "Head-On" and the somber " The Edge of Heaven. " Though he'd written this film before those two, he admits in a director's statement that after their success, "I didn't find 'Soul Kitchen' important enough.
July 25, 2010 | By Chris Kraul, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Tensions are bubbling once more along the rugged 1,200-mile border between Venezuela and Colombia. Using videos and photos, Colombian diplomats accused Venezuela of tolerating the presence of 1,500 leftist rebel fighters and several top leaders in its territory. They made the charges in a presentation Thursday before the Organization of American States. They requested an international body to monitor the border and verify the presence of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia , or FARC.
June 13, 2010 | By Chris Kraul, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Colombian soldiers have freed three members of the nation's security forces from rebel captivity, President Alvaro Uribe announced Sunday. Police Brig. Gen. Luis Herlindo Mendieta, the highest-ranking officer held by rebels, and Col. Enrique Murillo were freed in a military operation in Guaviare state, in the country's southeast, Uribe said at a community meeting in Choco state in the northwest. Details of the operation were not immediately available. Later Sunday, the Defense Ministry said a third hostage, army Sgt. Arbey Delgado, had also been rescued and that troops were hoping to rescue a fourth hostage, army Col. William Donato, who was thought to be in the area.
June 8, 2010 | MARK HEISLER
A funny thing — tweet! — happened — tweet! — on the way — tweet! — to the NBA title. Not that "funny" is the word Ray Allen would have chosen after fouling out of Game 1 in 27 minutes on some ticky-tack fouls he hadn't seen since UConn. Nor was Kobe Bryant any happier after having to leave at a key moment of Game 2, after a ticky-tack call he might not have gotten at Lower Merion. Welcome to the Matchup Everyone Wanted to See, two games of shooting 134 free throws and getting each other in foul trouble?
March 31, 2010 | By Chris Kraul
Leftist rebels on Tuesday freed one of Colombia's longest-held hostages, an army corporal seized by insurgents when they overran his base in December 1997. The release of Pablo Emilio Moncayo, 31, came two days after rebels freed Pvt. Josue Daniel Calvo in Meta state. Calvo, who had been held for 11 months, is being treated in a Bogota military hospital for leg wounds he suffered in a battle at the time of his capture. The liberation of the pair has raised hope for a comprehensive hostage-prisoner swap between the leftists and the government of President Alvaro Uribe, who is to leave office in August.
March 29, 2010 | By Chris Kraul
Leftist Colombian rebels Sunday released the first of two military hostages they have promised to free, with the liberation of the other -- one of this nation's longest-held hostages -- expected Tuesday. Members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, released Josue Daniel Calvo, 23, to a team that included representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, a Brazilian helicopter crew and leftist Sen. Piedad Cordoba, a key intermediary in other FARC hostage releases over the last two years.
December 23, 2009 | By Chris Kraul
Caqueta state Gov. Luis Francisco Cuellar was found dead Tuesday, Colombian authorities said, less than a day after he was abducted from his home by suspected leftist guerrillas. Cuellar's body was found near Florencia, the state capital where he lived, authorities said. President Alvaro Uribe later said on national television that Cuellar's throat had been cut as the assailants fled from security forces. His body was found by a rural road, said Uribe, who promised to press the fight against rebel violence.
November 26, 2009 | By Susan King
It's a jolly holiday with Hulot. Beginning Friday, the Nuart Theatre is hosting a one-week engagement of a new 35-millimeter restoration of Jacques Tati's beloved 1953 French comedy "M. Hulot's Holiday." The farce marked Tati's introduction of his reel-life alter ego, Monsieur Hulot -- a rain-coated, hat-wearing pipe-smoker who seems to cause comedic mischief wherever he goes. In this outing, he heads to the beach, but his dream vacation turns out to be a nightmare for the resort town.
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