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In brief: Colombian leader rejects cease-fire

Fri., Sept. 7, 2012

Tolemaida, Colombia – President Juan Manuel Santos on Thursday night rejected a proposal by Colombia’s main leftist rebel movement to observe a cease-fire during peace talks that are to begin next month in Norway.

Leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, said hours earlier during a news conference in Cuba that their first item on the negotiations’ agenda would be to propose a truce in the half-century of fighting that has killed tens of thousands.

Santos said that would not happen. He said the Colombian military and police had been instructed to intensify offensive actions against the rebels.

“There’s not going to be any ceasefire. We will not give anything until we get the final agreement, and I want to make that very clear,” the president told reporters at a military base in central Colombia.

There was no immediate comment from FARC officials.

Shooting suspect appears in court

Montreal – The suspect in a deadly shooting at a rally following the election of Quebec’s new separatist premier was arraigned Thursday on 16 charges, including murder, attempted murder and possession of explosives.

Richard Henry Bain, 61, of La Conception, Quebec, made his first appearance in court behind protective glass after being accused of opening fire outside the midnight victory rally Tuesday for Pauline Marois of the Parti Quebecois.

The heavyset Bain, dressed in white, appeared calm and alert during his appearance in the highly secured courtroom. He spoke briefly with his court-appointed lawyer but did not address the court, and there was no plea. Bain is scheduled to return to court Oct. 11.

The shooting killed Denis Blanchette, 48, and wounded a 27-year-old just outside a Montreal theater. The suspect’s gun jammed after the initial shots were fired, a Quebec police official said Thursday, possibly saving lives.


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