Wednesday, March 3, 1999

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  • Columbia

    Three U.S. citizens were kidnapped last week in Colombia’s remote northeastern border with Venezuela. According to friends and co-workers, the three were on a mission to help preserve the cultural identity of an indigenous group under the auspices of the Hawaii-based Pacific Cultural Conservancy International. They were taken last Thursday by armed men in civilian clothes, and no group has yet claimed responsibility for the abductions. This latest kidnapping comes at a time when human rights defenders and other social justice activists in Colombia find themselves under unprecedented fire from both sides of the long-standing conflict over control of land–the guerrillas and the paramilitaries.

  • Xanana Gusmao

    Indonesian President B.J. Habibie said this week that he wants East Timor to decide on the question of autonomy before national elections on June 7–this according to Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer. Downer said that an "autonomy package" could be finalized during the next round of U.N.-sponsored talks on East Timor between Indonesia, Portugal and the East Timorese this upcoming March 7th to 9th. [includes rush transcript]

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