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Colombia and FARC rebels reach definitive ceasefire deal

BOGOTA/HAVANA (Reuters) - Colombia's government and leftist FARC rebels said on Wednesday they had agreed to end hostilities with a definitive ceasefire that leaves the two sides just a step away from resolving the longest-running conflict in the Western Hemisphere.

U.S. envoy talks with Venezuela's president Maduro amid crisis

CARACAS (Reuters) - Veteran U.S. diplomat Tom Shannon met with Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday to re-start talks between the ideologically-opposed governments amid a punishing economic crisis in the South American OPEC nation.

Falluja gains boost Iraqi PM ahead of Mosul, but for how long?

FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - The rapid entry of Iraqi forces into central Falluja last week surprised many who expected a drawn-out battle with Islamic State for the bastion of Iraq's Sunni insurgency, where some of the toughest fighting of the U.S. occupation took place.

Venezuela indicts opposition activists amid recall effort

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan prosecutors said on Wednesday they have indicted two opposition activists on money laundering charges, a move slammed by government adversaries who say the two are being targeted for seeking a recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro.

Niger Delta Avengers may agree ceasefire says community leader

ONITSHA, Nigeria (Reuters) - A Nigerian militant group known as the Niger Delta Avengers which has been attacking oil facilities might agree to a ceasefire on Thursday to allow the government time to meet its demands, a community leader involved in peace efforts said.

Bahrain gambles with security by launching crackdown on Shi'ites

DUBAI (Reuters) - Bahrain aims to end years of instability with a crackdown on Shi'ite political parties, but it could be a gamble that risks further destabilising the Western-allied kingdom and the wider Middle East.

Gains against Islamic State not yet enough, could backfire - U.S. officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama and some administration officials have hailed recent military gains against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, but other U.S. officials and outside experts warn that the U.S.-backed air and ground campaign is far from eradicating the radical Islamic group, and could even backfire.While Islamic State’s defeats in Iraq and Syria have erased its image of invincibility, they threaten to give it greater legitimacy in the eyes of disaffected Sunni Muslims because Shi'ite and Kurdish fighters are a major part of the campaign, some U.S. intelligence officials argue.

U.N. reaction to Malakal violence in South Sudan marred by confusion

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Confusion over command and control and rules of engagement marred a response by United Nations peacekeepers to deadly violence in a U.N. compound in South Sudan sheltering nearly 50,000 civilians, the world body said on Tuesday.

Veteran U.S. diplomat to meet with Venezuela officials amid crisis

CARACAS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government sent veteran diplomat Tom Shannon to Venezuela on Tuesday to meet senior opposition and government figures amid a brutal economic crisis and political impasse in the South American OPEC nation.

U.S. says Venezuela guilty of oil sector 'malpractice'

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Venezuela has badly mismanaged its vast oil resources, a senior U.S. diplomat told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday in which he said a change in government could quickly turn the OPEC member's fortunes around.