Colombia Seeks End to FARC Conflict

Members of Colombia's largest militant group, the FARC, have waged a deadly guerrilla war against government forces for decades.
But officials are hopeful they can end the conflict as President Juan Manuel Santos presses forward with plans to host peace talks with armed groups.
On Monday Santos said the government is learning from mistakes made during previous failed talks and that it was time to step up measures to ensure peace at all costs.
Santos hopes to host the talks in a neutral country like Cuba or Norway and so far has been successful in getting FARC leaders to come on board.
The process has even spurred the ELN, Colombia's second biggest armed group, to seek its own place in the talks.
Should he be successful, Santos will secure his place in history, which would likely boost his flagging popularity amid security concerns over oil plant attacks.
Some Colombian residents say they are still sceptical of the FARC's intentions, since it tricked the government during the last peace summit and used a troop pullout to build up its forces and drug running operations in Colombia's vast jungles.

[Interview : Charlie Bolden, NASA Administrator] "This is Charlie Bolden, NASA administrator, speaking to you via the broadcast capabilities of the Curiosity rover, which is now on the surface of Mars."

Beamed over millions of miles, this historic audio has become the first recording of a human voice to be transmitted back to Earth from the surface of another planet.
The message from a NASA administrator was sent from the Curiosity rover, sitting in uncharted territory on Mars.
The robotic lab has also continued snapping pictures of the Martian landscape.
NASA hailed the audio transmission, hoping it will inspire a new generation to look to the stars.

[Interview : Dave Lavery, MSL Program Executive] "As Curiosity continues her mission we hope that the words of the administrator will be an inspiration to someone who is alive today, who will become the first to stand upon the surface of the planet Mars. Like the great Neil Armstrong, they will be able to speak aloud in first person at that point of the next giant leap in human exploration."

Curiosity will soon begin taking its first atmospheric readings for analysis.
NASA also hopes to drive the rover longer distances, as it goes in search of life on Mars.

AUG 29, 2012

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