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El Espectador, July 19th

Tuesday's edition of Bogota daily El Espectador reports on the Colombian Constitutional Court approving a measure to hold a national referendum on the recently signed peace agreement with the Marxist rebels, FARC.

Above the headline "Green light for a referendum," is a rather giddy photograph of Constitutional Court President Maria Victoria Calle, and her colleague Magistrate Luis Ernesto Vargas on Monday, announcing the decision.

"There is a green light for us, the Colombian people, to approve the peace deal with our votes," Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said.

If the referendum passes, the rebels would be expected to disarm and form a left-wing political party — although a small faction has vowed to keep fighting — and help with demining operations, a key point in a country with the second highest number of land mine victims in the world after Afghanistan.

Last month, after four years of talks, and a half-century of civil war, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed with the government negotiators a historic peace agreement in Havana.

The war started in 1964 when the FARC first took up arms to fight for land reform and greater equality. Three attempts to negotiate peace have thus far failed and about 220,000 Colombians have died in the fighting with millions more uprooted from their homes.

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Meeting of the Russian Defense Ministry Board where Putin announced the possible use of nuclear weapons.

Anna Akage, Bertrand Hauger, Meike Eijsberg, Sophia Constantino, and Emma Albright

Backed in a corner with this month’s successful Ukrainian counter-offensive, Russian President Vladimir Putin made allusions last week to Moscow’s nuclear arsenal. Putin’s veiled threat has prompted a mixture of warnings and posturing over the past 72 hours.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a weekend interview on U.S. network NBC that “If Russia crosses this line, there will be catastrophic consequences for Russia. The United States will respond decisively.” Sullivan added that the United States has been in frequent and direct contact with Russia to discuss the situation in Ukraine as well as Putin’s actions and threats.

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