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In a theatre in the central Javanese city of Solo, a troupe of performers are acting out a fight scene from Hindu epic, the Mahabharata. The god Gatutkaca is dispatching some long-haired bad guys to the delight of the audience.

Deadly chaos threatens Timor poll

THE UNITED Nations is pressing on with plans for Monday's independence referendum in East Timor, despite a day of murderous violence in the capital, Dili, in which at least three people were killed and dozens of others injured in street battles between rampaging militias and the supporters of self- determination.

East Timor flag flies legally at last

THE FLAG of the East Timorese resistance was legally raised for the first time in 23 years yesterday, as the campaign for the forthcoming referendum on independence got underway in the territory's capital, Dili.

Indonesia in grip of separatist tide

THREE WEEKS before a planned referendum on autonomy in East Timor, concern is growing that a vote for independence will galvanise break-away movements in other parts of Indonesia.

Letter: Our role in Timor

Sir: Your report that the referendum on the future of East Timor has been delayed for a second time ("Violence fears halt Timor poll", 29 July) failed to mention the recent deployment of British Hawk jets in the former Portuguese colony.

Timor exile in Jakarta talks

NOBEL prize winner Jose Ramos Horta arrived in Jakarta yesterday, after 23 years spent in exile for attacking Indonesia's annexation of his East Timorese homeland.

Dozens killed as gangs roam Timor saying: `Vote for Jakarta or you die'

TWENTY MILES west of East Timor's capital, Dili, where the UN people drive through the streets in white Toyota Land Cruisers, is a town called Liquisa where everybody is afraid. The people walking down the main street are afraid, and so are the staff in the little restaurant where they refused to serve us lunch. At the Catholic church, a young man, bolder than the rest, invited us inside to talk away from public gaze. Then a nun arrived, and the sight of us - two foreigners with notebooks and cameras - appalled her.

Jakarta regime may yet win poll

EIGHTEEN MONTHS ago, in the bad old days, the idea that Indonesia could be governed by anyone other than the Golkar Party seemed a far-off dream. Then, in May last year, came the student demonstrations, the Jakarta riots and the resignation of President Suharto. In the space of a year, democratic institutions were put in place, and the country prepared to jettison one-party rule.

`Grave concern' in Jakarta over election count delay

THE HEAD of the European Union's official observer unit expressed "grave concern" over the speed of counting in the Indonesian general election yesterday, as jubilation over the peaceful campaign gave way to alarm at the potential for fraud and vote-rigging.

Martyr who helped free his country

WHEN HERI Hartanto's parents went to vote yesterday they were just two people among a multitude. But in all of Indonesia there could have been few others with quite such intense feelings of pride mixed with wretchedness.

Democrats set for Indonesia win

OPPOSITION parties appeared to have dominated Indonesia's parliamentary election yesterday after a largely peaceful day of voting which ended more than four decades of authoritarian rule. Last night, the Indonesian Democratic Party for Struggle (PDI-P) claimed an early lead, although it will be later today before a clear result emerges from across the scattered archipelago.

Monitor: The world press examines the elections in Indonesia

All the News of the World

Recluse Suharto denies embezzling pounds 9bn

IN A rare public appearance a year after being driven from power, Suharto, the reclusive former president of Indonesia, denied reports that he has embezzled as much as $15 billion (pounds 9.3 billion) of state assets in foreign accounts.

World: Jakarta `behind East Timor terror gangs'

UNITED NATIONS observers in East Timor claim they have evidence that Indonesia is training militia forces to disrupt a referendum on independence due to take place in August. The UN has accused Indonesia's government of breaching the accord it signed with Portugal in May.

First free poll in 44 years gets underway

CROWDS FILLED the streets of the Indonesian capital Jakarta yesterday as the country's first free and fair election since 1955 got off to a rowdy but mainly peaceful start.
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Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

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Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment