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Colombia's FARC release kidnapped US backpacker

Colombia's FARC rebels have freed a former US marine who was kidnapped in June while he trekked through the jungle in a known guerrilla area, the Red Cross has said.

The FARC held Kevin Scott Sutay for four months Credit: REUTERS/Jaime Saldarriaga

Kevin Scott Sutay, an Afghanistan war veteran, had been backpacking through several Central and South American countries before he was captured.

He had been warned by police to abandon his plans to hike through what they called a "red zone" for rebel activity.


Olinguito: Facts about the world's newest species

The world's newest species, the olinguito, is the smallest member of the raccoon family and has thick, woolly fur, according to the Smithsonian Institute.

The olinguito lives in the cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador. Credit: I. Poglayen-Neuwall/Smithsonian Institute

Here are some more facts about the olinguito:

Diet: The animal mainly eats fruit, but may also eat some insects and nectar.

Behaviour: Olinguitos are solitary animals that live in trees and are mostly nocturnal. It is an adept jumper that can leap from tree to tree in the forest canopy. Mothers raise a single baby at a time.

Habitat: It is found only in cloud forests of the northern Andes Mountains.

Range: They live in Ecuador and Colombia around 5,000 to 9,000 feet above sea level.

Olinguito first New World carnivore identified in 35 years

The newly-named olinguito has become the first New World carnivore to be identified in 35 years.

For more than a century the olinguito, also known as Bassaricyon neblina, was mistaken for its larger close cousin the olingo.

The olinguito lives in the cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador. Credit: Mark Gurney/Smithsonion Institute/PA Wire

But following a 10 year research project examining the skull, teeth and skin of museum specimens and tracking the animals in the wild, scientists at the Smithsonian Institute confirmed it is a different species.

Woolly-furred olinguito named as new species

An animal that resembles "a cross between a house cat and a teddy bear" has been named as a new species after being wrongly identified for more than 100 years.

The Smithsonian Institute released this picture of the Olinguito. Credit: Mark Gurney/Smithsonion Institute/PA Wire

The woolly-furred olinguito, which weighs 2lb (0.9kg), is related to raccoons and coatis and lives in the cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador, the Smithsonian Institute announced today.

Colombians take part in annual tomato-throwing event

The annual Tomatina contest was held in Colombia yesterday.

Around 15 tonnes of surplus tomatoes are thrown by participants during the event, which started in 2004.

The food fight is part of a three-day tomato celebration which also includes an eating contest and a largest tomato competition.

The festival was inspired by the La Tomatina festival held annually in the town of Buñol near Valencia, Spain.

Around 15 tonnes of surplus tomatoes are thrown by, and at, participants during the event Credit: Reuters/John Vizcaino
Revellers play with tomato pulp during the annual "Tomatina" (tomato fight) in Sutamarchan province in Colombia Credit: Reuters/John Vizcaino
Children are also welcome to participate in the festival Credit: Reuters/John Vizcaino


Spanish police arrest woman with cocaine breast implants

The implants were found to carry 1.38 kg of cocaine. Credit: Reuters

Spanish police have arrested a Panamanian woman who landed in Barcelona from Colombia with cocaine stuffed inside her breast implants.

The woman was taken to the police at the airport after her vague answers to questions about the reasons for her trip from Bogota raised suspicion at the border control, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

When border police discovered fresh scars and blood-stained gauze on the woman's chest, she was taken to a nearby hospital to check her claim that she had recently undergone breast implant surgery.

The implants were found to carry 1.38 kg of cocaine.

Colombian president announces 'peace talks' with rebels

Colombia's president Juan Manuel Santos has opened "explanatory talks" with the country's main revel group to try to end a 50-year-old conflict.

Colombia's president Juan Manuel Santos announces 'peace talks' with rebels. Picture taken November 2011. Credit: Daniel Deme/PA Wire

Mr Santos announced that talks will be supposedly held in Cuba, between representatives of his government and the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The government was able to secure congressional enactment in June of a "peace framework" law that would provide amnesty to rebel leaders.

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