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Ecuador: UK and Sweden must allow Assange to go free

The Ecuadorian government has demanded WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange be allowed to go free from its London embassy after a UN panel ruled in his favour.

Foreign minister Ricardo Patino said the ruling, which stated Mr Assange has been arbitrarily detained by the UK and Sweden, left both countries with no option but to accept the panel's report, which is not legally binding.

Ecuador's foreign minister Ricardo Patino, seen with Julian Assange after the Australian first entered the Ecuadorian embassy in June 2012. Credit: Reuters

"What more do they want to be accused of before they start to rectify their error?" he told South American broadcaster Telesur.

Mr Patino said Ecuador was analysing its next steps over Mr Assange, who has hailed the ruling as a "significant victory".

Both the UK and Sweden deny Mr Assange has been deprived of his freedom while Swedish prosecutors said the UN panel's decision had no formal impact on its rape investigation against the Australian whistleblower under Swedish law.


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.

UK firm denies bugging Ecuador Embassy in London

British security firm Surveillance Group Ltd has denied bugging the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

We have this morning heard an accusation the source of which is apparently Ricardo Patino, the Ecuadorian Foreign Minister suggesting that we have bugged the Ecuadorian Embassy.

This is completely untrue. The Surveillance Group do not and have never been engaged in any activities of this nature.

We have not been contacted by any member of the Ecuadorian Government and our first notification about this incident was via the press this morning.

This is a wholly untrue assertion.

– Timothy Young, CEO, Surveillance Group Ltd

Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patino had earlier said he had "reason to believe that the bugging was being carried out by the company, the Surveillance Group Limited... one of the biggest private investigation and undercover surveillance companies in the United Kingdom."

Ecuador implicates British surveillance firm in 'bugging'

Ecuador's foreign minister Ricardo Patino has said he believes a British surveillance firm was involved in allegedly planting a secret listening device at the nation's embassy in London.

He told a news conference in Quito that he will request the "collaboration of the British government" on the issue:

After this discovery, the government of Ecuador will request the collaboration of the British government in investigating this issue to discover who is implicated in this espionage operation.

[We] have reason to believe that the bugging was being carried out of the biggest private investigation and undercover surveillance companies in the United Kingdom.

– Ricardo Patino, foreign minister for ecuador
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