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Colombian Obama Fan Wants Him to Visit His ‘White House’

A diehard Colombian fan of Barack Obama has turned his home into his version of the White House and hopes to welcome the U.S. president with a gift when Obama attends a summit in nearby Cartagena this weekend.

Silvio Carrasquilla, an Afro-Colombian and a former mayor of the northern town of Turbaco, says he hopes to present the U.S. leader with a young donkey named "Demo." The donkey is the symbol of Obama's Democratic Party.

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Pop Star Shakira Visits Cartagena to Aid Colombian Children

Pop superstar Shakira helped launch a $36 million education project for Colombian children Thursday as part of a series of events linked to the weekend Summit of the Americas.

The Colombian singer, who is scheduled to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama, will also sing her country's national anthem at the opening ceremony for the gathering of 33 democratically elected leaders of the Western Hemisphere Saturday in Cartagena.

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Rebel Strike Kills 11 Colombian Troops

Marxist FARC rebels attacked a Colombian army unit Saturday and killed 11 soldiers, the army said.

The troops were hit by an "indiscriminate" strike by rebels with the 10th front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Arauca department, in the east of Colombia, the army said.

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In Historic Shift, FARC Vows to End Civilian Kidnappings

Colombia's FARC rebels pledged Sunday to end decades of kidnapping civilians, a historic shift for Latin America's longest-fighting leftist guerrillas, who also vowed to release remaining police and military hostages.

"We wish to announce that in addition to our already announced plans to free six prisoners of war, we will free the four others who remain under our power," the group said in a statement published on its website.

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New FARC Chief Says Willing to Negotiate with Colombia Leader

Colombia's Marxist FARC guerrillas said Monday they were willing to negotiate with President Juan Manuel Santos, in a statement signed by the group's new leader, named just two months ago.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia said there are "issues we are interested in dealing with at a hypothetical negotiating table," in a statement from FARC chief Timoleon 'Timochenko' Jimenez posted on a rebel website.

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Leaders at Americas Talks: World Economy Top Worry

Leaders from across Latin America and the Caribbean pledged to work together to fend off the effects of the world financial crisis and safeguard the region's growing economies.

Several presidents stressed at the start of a two-day summit Friday that they hope to ride out turbulent times by boosting their local industries and increasing trade within the region.

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Colombia's FARC Rebels Execute Four Hostages

Colombia's FARC rebels have executed four hostages, just days after installing a new leader at the helm of Latin America's longest-running insurgent group, the defense minister said Saturday.

"Four hostages, members of the security forces, have been killed," Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon told a press conference, adding that their bullet-ridden bodies had been found on Saturday morning in the Solano region.

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Ready or Not, Southeast Asian Games Poised to open

The Southeast Asian Games officially open on Friday in Indonesia, where beleaguered organizers have admitted to battling a slew of problems including corruption, unfinished venues and poor ticket sales.

Eleven nations will contest sports from athletics and swimming to sepak takraw -- a cross between football and volleyball -- in the biennial Games held in the Indonesian capital Jakarta and Palembang in South Sumatra.

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Colombian Officials Say Top FARC Leader Killed

The top leader of Colombia's main rebel group, the bookish ideologue Alfonso Cano, was killed Friday in a military raid in the country's southwest, authorities said.

The death was a major victory for President Juan Manuel Santos, coming just over a year after the military killed the rebels' field marshal. It was anything but a fatal blow, however, to the nearly half-century-old peasant-based insurgency.

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Colombia Police Raid 'Megalab', Seize Tons of Cocaine

Police have raided and destroyed a huge drug processing lab in eastern Colombia, seizing six tons of cocaine with a street value of $180 million, the force's chief narcotics officer said Friday.

"Police located and destroyed a cocaine production megalaboratory that belonged to the ERPAC drug gang," General Luis Alberto Perez said.

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