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U.S. Hits Alleged Lebanese Drugs Network Figures with Sanctions

The United States on Wednesday named five Colombia and Venezuela-based men as key players in a sprawling trafficking and money laundering network of alleged Hizbullah-linked Lebanese drug lord Ayman Joumaa.

The U.S. Treasury set sanctions on two Lebanese-born men, Abbas Hussein Harb and Ibrahim Chibli, for helping Joumaa launder what it said were millions of dollars of narcotics-related proceeds.

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French Journalist Released by Leftist Rebels in Colombia

Colombian rebels on Wednesday freed a French journalist kidnapped 33 days ago, releasing him in a remote jungle village in a move the French president hailed as a "happy end."

"Apart from the fact that I was held for a month, everything went very well. I cannot complain," France 24 correspondent Romeo Langlois told reporters after arriving in the hamlet of San Isidro with a group of rebels.

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Deadly Bomb Blast Targets Colombian Ex-Minister

At least two people were killed and 39 wounded in Colombia's capital Tuesday when a bomb exploded in what President Juan Manuel Santos said was an assassination attempt against a former interior minister.

"I've just learned that an attempt was made on the life of Mr. Fernando Londono. He was in his armored car," said Santos, who canceled a planned trip to Cartagena and summoned a meeting of the National Security Council.

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French Journalist Missing, 4 Killed in Rebel Attack on Colombia Army

A French television journalist went missing in Colombia on Saturday following a leftist rebel attack on an army column that claimed four lives in the country's south, military officials said.

The reporter, identified as Romeo Langlois who works for France 24, was accompanying a military and police patrol in Caqueta province, where the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are active, the officials said.

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Panetta: U.S. Marines Punished over Brazil Prostitute

Three U.S. Marines and a State Department employee were punished over their involvement with a Brazilian prostitute in December, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday.

The admission came as officials were still reeling from the fallout of a prostitution scandal implicating Secret Service agents and military personnel working on a visit to Colombia by President Barack Obama.

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Angelina Jolie Visits Refugees in Ecuador

Hollywood star Angelina Jolie visited with displaced Colombians forced to seek refuge across the border in Ecuador, as a special envoy of High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, the UNHCR announced Sunday.

It was the first such working visit for the screen star since Guterres named her to the post this month. She has however been a U.N. goodwill ambassador since 2001, and as such made 40 visits around the world in the past decade.

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Official: More Military Suspects in Secret Service Scandal

At least 10 American troops could be implicated in a widening sex scandal involving a U.S. Secret Service team preparing for a presidential visit to Colombia, officials said Tuesday.

Government investigators are probing embarrassing allegations that Secret Service agents and U.S. military service members sent to the Caribbean resort of Cartagena ahead of President Barack Obama's weekend visit consorted with prostitutes.

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‘Angry’ Obama Wants 'Rigorous' Secret Service Probe

U.S. President Barack Obama said Sunday he expected a "rigorous" probe into a sex scandal involving Secret Service agents, warning he would be "angry" if the claims were proven true.

The incident, which saw 11 Secret Service and five military personnel pulled from their security duties in Colombia at the Summit of the Americas, overshadowed the talks attended by Obama and other regional leaders.

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Americas Leaders Wrap Up Summit, U.S. Isolated on Cuba

Leaders from across the Americas were wrapping a two-day gathering in Colombia Sunday with U.S. President Barack Obama under intense Latin American pressure to let Cuba attend future hemispheric summits.

They met in plenary session to decide whether this would be the last hemispheric summit since several Latin American leaders made it abundantly clear they would not attend in the future if Cuba was kept out.

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For Obama Abroad, Side Issues Tend to Befall him

President Barack Obama might be noticing a familiar pattern. Whether it's allegations of Secret Service personnel consorting with prostitutes, candid moments caught live on microphones or launching bombs over Libya, his foreign trips seem to get overshadowed by distractions.

That's been the case on the coast of Colombia, where Obama will wrap up a weekend summit with a news conference that may well force him to confront the latest troubles — misconduct claims against Secret Service and military personnel assigned to make Cartagena secure for his visit.

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