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News Briefs, part 2

U.S. Marine Lost, Presumed Dead In Crash off Somalia

Los Angeles Times

A U.S. Marine sergeant was lost and presumed dead Monday after the helicopter he was aboard crashed into the Indian Ocean, as American forces prepared for the dangerous mission of evacuating the last of U.N. forces in Somalia.

The U.S. Naval Forces Central Command said the Marine Corps UH-1N Huey was lifting off from the Essex, a multipurpose amphibious assault ship, about 25 miles southeast of the Somali capital of Mogadishu and crashed into the sea 100 yards from the ship.

Four others on board were rescued and treated for minor injuries.

"Search and rescue operations were unable to locate the missing person," the Navy said. It called off the search after several hours and identified the lost Marine as Sgt. Justin Harris.

A Navy spokesman said the copter was on a routine flight in daylight with fair weather. The crash was unexplained, but a spokesman said Harris apparently was trapped inside when the craft sank.

This was the first loss since a multinational Naval Task Force began converging off Somalia to protect the withdrawal of the last U.N. peacekeepers still on the ground in Somalia.

The United States deployed troops in Somalia in late 1992 as part of a humanitarian mission that eventually turned into open warfare with local clan leaders, leading to the deaths of 18 U.S. Army rangers in a single engagement in October 1993.

But the United Nations has stayed on in Somalia and now has called on the U.S.-led task force to help it exit with minimum casualties.

Indian Rebels Wage Propaganda War against Government

Los Angeles Times

The rebel response came not with bullets, land mines or grenades but as it always has in the 13-month uprising by the Zapatista National Liberation Army in Chiapas: Delivered, by hand, in two neatly typed pages and a brief, impassioned videotape.

"I am ill. Perhaps I will die soon," a wan Commander Ramona stated from a Zapatista hide-out in the highlands of Mexico's southernmost state, just minutes after the tape arrived in San Cristobal de las Casas late Sunday night.

Clad in a traditional Indian "huipil," the well-known Zapatista leader, who appeared on the verge of collapse, sat at a simple wooden table. Before her was a Mexico City newspaper dated the previous day. Chickens clucked in the background.

"Many children, women and men, also are ill," said the Zapatista ideologue, who identifies herself only as Ramona. "We have many illnesses. But the doctors, the medicines, the hospitals are not in our hands. We are hungry. Our food is tortillas and salt. We eat beans when we have them. We hardly know milk or meat.

"Our movement is indigenous," she added in the rebel's latest salvo. "It began now many years ago to tell the world the peasants of Chiapas are suffering from hunger and illness. We ask once again the people of Mexico not to forget us - not to leave us alone - that they help us to construct the peace that we all desire."