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Colombian guerrillas to embrace Gandhism, ready for peace talks with Cuba

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Havana: Colombian guerrillas are now holding peace talks with their government here in Cuba have agreed to embrace Gandhism, the Art of Living said on Monday.

The guerrillas made the commitment to Art of Living’s spiritual leader Ravi Shankar when he met them during a three-day visit to Cuba, an Art of Living statement said.

The statement quoted Ivan Marquez, a commander of FARC, as saying: “We will work for peace and justice for all the people of Colombia.”

Marquez, Pablo Catatumbo, and his group thanked Ravi Shankar for his “patience, understanding and wisdom”, the statement said.

After a lot of discussions, the FARC finally agreed to embrace the Gandhian principle of non-violence. Marquez announced this at a press conference.

“We will work for peace and justice for all the people of Colombia,” he was quoted as saying.

One of the members, Commander Pastor Alope, remarked that spiritual wisdom had been missing and was very much needed.

The Art of Living Foundation said there had been “a historic change of heart and strategy” by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC.

The FARC, a leftist group, and has been waging  bloody guerrilla wars in Colombia since 1964. Varying reports put its current military strength at around 10,000 fighters.

The statement said FARC requested Ravi Shankar to actively participate in the peace process which is currently on in Havana.

“In this conflict, everyone should be considered victims. And inside every culprit there is a victim crying for help,” Ravi Shankar said.

The FARC has agreed to speed up the process and give a surprise breakthrough for peace building in the coming days.

On June 24, Ravi Shankar had an hour-long meeting with Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos in Bogota.

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Mysterious Health Incidents Affect 1 More American in Cuba

In all, 25 Americans have been affected by the mystery ailment in Cuba

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A view of the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba on Sept.18, 2017.
A view of the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba on Sept.18, 2017. VOA

One more U.S. Embassy employee in Havana, Cuba, has been affected by mysterious health incidents, the State Department said.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said one of two Americans recently evacuated from Cuba was “medically confirmed” to have been affected, while the other was “still being evaluated” by doctors.

25 Americans affected

In all, 25 Americans have been affected by the mystery ailment in Cuba.

“We still don’t know, to this day, what is causing it and who is responsible,” Nauert said, noting that investigations were underway in Havana as well as Guangzhou, China, where one employee experienced similar symptoms recently.

The United States has said that the Cuba incidents started in late 2016. The State Department calls them “specific attacks” but has not said what caused them or who was behind them. Cuba has adamantly denied involvement or knowledge.

Initial speculation centered on some type of sonic attack owing to strange sounds heard by those affected, but an interim FBI report in January found no evidence that sound waves could have caused the damage, The Associated Press has reported.

Secretary Kerry Touts Virtues of 10-Year U.S.-China Business and Tourism Visas Before Presenting First Documents in Beijing
Secretary Kerry Touts Virtues of 10-Year U.S.-China Business and Tourism Visas Before Presenting First Documents in Beijing, flickr

Warning issued in China

The State Department issued a health warning after the employee in China reported experiencing “subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure” and was diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described it as a “serious medical incident.”

Also read: Cuba Invites United Nations human rights Investigator for first time in decade regarding Human Trafficking

The new confirmation came less than a week after the U.S. renewed demands on Cuba to determine the source of the “attacks” on U.S. diplomats. Cuba responded by again denying any involvement in or knowledge of any such attacks. (VOA)