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Nationwide Blackout Hits Colombia

Updated:
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) _ Colombia's electrical grid collapsed Thursday, causing a nationwide blackout that halted trading on the stock exchange, trapped people in elevators and left authorities struggling to determine the cause.

President Alvaro Uribe told journalists in the southern city of Cali that the blackout, which began at midmorning, ``appears to have affected the entire country.''

Luis Alarcon, manager of state-controlled electricity distributor ISA, told Caracol Radio that the power outage appears to have begun with an undetermined technical glitch at a substation in Bogota and quickly spread to the rest of the country.

He said work crews had re-established power to about 20 percent of the country and hoped to reconnect the capital Bogota and other cities in a few hours.

There was no indication of a terrorist attack.

Leftist rebels routinely sabotage electric transmission lines as part of their four-decade old campaign to overthrow the government, but such attacks usually have a limited impact.
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