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Villagers eye Ecuador volcano after spectacular eruption

Villagers and experts warily eyed an Ecuador volcano Saturday that spewed a 10-kilometer (six-mile) high column of ash a day earlier in a spectacular eruption. "For now, the ash fall is mild," Ecuador's National Secretariat for Risk Management said on its Twitter account. It called activity at the volcano, which is 130 kilometers south of the capital Quito, "moderate to high." But it admitted that "it is difficult to predict future behavior."

Fine against telecom giant suspended by Ecuador court

An Ecuador court on Tuesday suspended a $138.5 million fine levied against the Claro telecom firm owned by Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim, one of the world's richest men. The fine had been issued by a regulatory authority in February which accused Claro, which operates under the name Conecel in Ecuador, of obstructing competition. However the fine was suspended by a court in the southwestern city of Guayaquil after an appeal lodged by the firm, the company said in a statement.

USAID to pull out of Ecuador, US embassy official

The US Agency for International Development has decided to end its operations in Ecuador after failing to reach an agreement with its leftist government, a US embassy official said Tuesday. It came a day after Ecuador announced it was freezing cooperation with USAID, saying the agency cannot "carry out any new activity, nor extend timeframes for completion of projects" until a new framework agreement has been signed. The embassy official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the agency had decided to end its operations next year, after 60 years.

Ecuador writes off ill-fated satellite

Quito, Sep 6 (EFE).- Ecuador's EXA space agency said it has given up trying to recover signals from the Andean nation's first satellite, which went silent after a brush with space debris. Participants in an Aug. 28 meeting among officials of the space agency, security ministry and State Intelligence Directorate agreed to terminate efforts to re-establish contact with the Pegaso NEE-001, EXA said in a statement.

Ecuador launches first homemade satellite

Ecuador launched its first satellite into space from China Friday morning, in a moment broadcast live on radio and television back home. The "Pegaso" (Pegasus) nanosatellite, designed and built in Ecuador, set off aboard an unmanned rocket at 0413 GMT from the Jiuquand station in northern China. Measuring just 10 by 10 by 75 centimeters (four by four by 30 inches), and weighing 1.2 kilograms (2.6 pounds), Pegaso will beam live video images back to Earth from an onboard camera.
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