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Besieged Freemen close to giving in

Los Angeles - The American flag, flown defiantly upside down for 81 days, was symbolically lowered yesterday at the Freemen ranch in eastern Montana, amid hopes of an imminent surrender, writes Rupert Cornwell.

Montana Freemen close to deal

The American flag, flown defiantly upside down for 81 days, was symbolically lowered yesterday at the Freemen ranch in eastern Montana, amid rising hopes of an imminent surrender. But five minutes later, to the consternation of reporters squinting through binoculars, another unidentified flag was hoisted up.

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Gas havoc after US rail crash

Alberton - This Montana town was evacuated yesterday when a train was derailed and one of its tankers leaked chlorine. At least 37 people with breathing problems were taken to hospitals and three were reported to be in a critical condition. The National Guard said 1,000 people were evacuated from the area, in eastern Montana, within four hours after the accident, including the 400 residents of Alberton.

Hopes rise for end to Montana stand-off

Hopes rose yesterday that Easter could be the cue for a motley group of armed rightists and disgruntled farmers to walk peacefully out of their barricaded ranch in remote eastern Montana.

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Montana stand-off: Government desperate to avoid repeat of Waco debacle as white extremists hold out into second week

Besieged vigilantes `close to surrender'

The Freemen of Montana live in "a netherworld of alternative reality", according to experts on the American far-right fringe. They write cheques for huge sums, drawn on fictitious banks, take grand titles like Justice of the Peace and spout English common law in court submissions that run to hundreds of pages but make little sense. But their cheques were good enough to persuade car dealers to hand over a small fleet of late-model trucks and to defraud banks and mail-order firms of $1.8m (pounds 1.2m), it is alleged. And their smoke-and-mirrors financial schemes convinced hundreds of people to join expensive "training" courses in Montana and California.

FBI holds fire in Montana siege

The FBI continued its softly-softly stand off with members of a heavily armed militia group on a remote ranch in central Montana yesterday.

Revisit Highway 61 and put your foot down



"It's the best idea of my life," fizzed Jeffrey Archer. "For 16 months I've had to remain very quiet. It is such a simple idea. There is nothing clever here." This is the nugget that earned him pounds 15 million pounds (initially reported as pounds 35 million) plus a possible film deal. His story of Maxwell and Murdoch is the first ever "novelography", Archer boasts.

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