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Violence fears halt Timor poll

THE UNITED Nations has been forced to delay a referendum on the future of East Timor for a second time, largely because of fears of violence from local militiamen backed by the Indonesian occupying army.

About 900 UN personnel are in East Timor to register voters for a ballot on whether the territory's 810,000 people should remain with Indonesia or secede. The ballot was set for 8 August, then 21 or 22 August. It will now take place on 30 August, Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Ali Alatas, said yesterday.