At least nine killed in explosion amid protest in Colombia

Indigenous people set up a barricade blocking the Pan-American highway during a protest to demand the fulfillment of several agreements on territory, democracy, justice, security and peace, in Mondomo, Cauca department, Colombia on March 14, 2019. (AFP / Luis Robayo)
Updated 22 March 2019

At least nine killed in explosion amid protest in Colombia

  • Hundreds of members of indigenous groups have halted traffic on major highway, demanding land titles and funding for social programs
  • About a million Colombians are members of indigenous groups

BOGOTA, Colombia: At least nine people were killed and four injured in an unexplained explosion on Thursday in an indigenous area in Colombia’s mountainous southwest, local authorities said.
The incident came on the 10th day of a blockade of the area’s major highway. Hundreds of members of indigenous groups have halted traffic on the roadway, demanding land titles and funding for social programs.
One policeman has been killed during the protest, which has caused shortages of gasoline and foodstuffs in some cities. Several vehicles have also been burned.
The explosion on Thursday took place in a house in Dagua municipality, an area largely inhabited by indigenous groups, the provincial government and disaster agency of Valle del Cauca province said.
Colombia, which has more than 45 million inhabitants, has more than 85 ethnic groups. About a million Colombians are members of indigenous groups.


EU warns of ‘challenging’ timeframe for UK trade deal

Updated 13 December 2019

EU warns of ‘challenging’ timeframe for UK trade deal

  • EU is concerned about the rapid speed with which Johnson would like to strike a trade deal with Europe
  • Johnson has until July 1 to request for a trade talks extension

BRUSSELS: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Friday warned of the tight timing for securing a trade deal with Britain, hours after Boris Johnson’s Conservatives won a crushing election victory.
“The time frame ahead of us is very challenging,” von der Leyen said, following a discussion by EU leaders on the way forward after Brexit, now expected on January 31.
On the “first of February, we go to work,” she said.
EU Council President Charles Michel warned that the 27 member states would not accept a deal blindly, stressing that the bloc would insist that Britain respect European norms to win the deal.
“There is no question of concluding a deal at any price, said Michel, who coordinates EU summits, after the talks.
“Negotiations are over when the results are balanced and guarantee respect for the different concerns,” the former Belgian premier said.
“We have a way of doing things based on experience, transparency and maintaining unity” in the EU, he added.
EU is worried about the breakneck speed with which Johnson would like to strike a trade deal with Europe and any British effort to undermine the unity among the remaining 27 members.
In a text released after the talks, the 27 EU leaders called for “as close as possible a future relationship with the UK” while warning that it “will have to be based on a balance of rights and obligations and ensure a level playing field.”
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier will direct trade negotiations, which the leaders will follow closely “and provide further guidance as necessary, fully consistent with the EU’s best interest,” conclusions added.
Johnson has until July 1 to ask for a trade talks extension.
If he refuses to extend the negotiation period, a no-deal Brexit will loom at the end of 2020, with Britain in danger of an abrupt cut in trade ties with Europe, endangering its economy.