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CNN (USA), LE FIGARO (France), REUTERS

Worldcrunch

U.S. troops lent "limited technical support" in France's bloody and failed bid in Somalia to rescue Dennis Allex, a French intelligence agent who'd been held hostage by al-Qaeda linked terrorists since 2009.

President Barack Obama detailed the U.S. military involvement in the Friday night mission in a letter sent to the leaders of the nation's two legislative chambers.

While U.S. forces "provided limited technical support," they "took no direct part in the assault on the compound where it was believed the French citizen was being held hostage," Obama explained in the letter which was then publicly released, according to CNN.

Screenshot of Dennis Allex's October message to French President François Hollande - Youtube expand=1]

Meanwhile, Islamist rebels in Somalia say a second French soldier has died of his wounds sustained during the botched raid. The soldier had already been reported as missing in action after the assault in Bulo Marer, about 75 miles northwest of the capital Mogadishu, ended with a French soldier and 17 al-Qaeda linked militants dead.

Al-Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab told Reuters: "The second commando died from his bullet wounds. We shall display the bodies of the two Frenchmen."

The fate of Dennis Allex himself is still unclear: Although French authorities announced the hostage had been gunned down by his captors during the attack, Abu Musab insisted that the intelligence officer was still alive and being held in a new location, France’s daily Le Figaro reports.

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Society

Colombia Celebrates Its Beloved Drug For The Ages, Coffee

This essential morning drink for millions worldwide was once considered an addictive menace, earning itself a ban on pain of death in the Islamic world.

Colombia's star product: coffee beans.

Julián López de Mesa Samudio

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — October 1st is International Coffee Day. Recently it seems as if every day of the calendar year commemorates something — but for Colombia, coffee is indeed special.

For almost a century now we have largely tied our national destiny, culture and image abroad to this drink. Indeed it isn't just Colombia's star product, it became through the course of the 20th century the world's favorite beverage — and the most commonly used drug to boost work output.

Precisely for its stimulating qualities — and for being a mild drug — coffee was not always celebrated, and its history is peppered with the kinds of bans, restrictions and penalties imposed on the 'evil' drugs of today.

Keep reading...Show less

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