Archive for Monday, February 25, 2002

World briefs

February 25, 2002



Guerrillas abduct presidential candidate

Leftist guerrillas held a presidential candidate hostage Sunday after abducting her at a roadblock as she was driving into a volatile area of southern Colombia where government troops are trying to oust the rebels.

Ingrid Betancourt, an outspoken critic of the rebels, was being held along with her campaign manager, Clara Rojas, by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Betancourt's campaign spokeswoman, Diana Rodriguez, said the former senator's entourage ran into the rebel roadblock Saturday afternoon as they tried to reach San Vicente del Caguan, the main town inside a rebel zone the government began attacking last week.

President Andres Pastrana had ceded the zone to the FARC in 1998 as an incentive to end Colombia's war. He called off peace talks and ordered the army to retake the zone after guerrillas hijacked an airplane and kidnapped a current senator on Wednesday.


Shipwreck off Gibraltar may hold old treasure

Evidence from a hulking wreck on the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea seems to indicate it is the remains of a 17th century British warship that went down with a vast load of treasure, the Ministry of Defense said Sunday.

Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc., based in Tampa, Fla., found and identified the wreck, which appears to be the H.M.S. Sussex, lost in 1694, said Paul Sykes, a ministry spokesman.

He said Odyssey is seeking permission from British defense officials to bring up the remains of the warship, which lies half a mile deep near the Strait of Gibraltar.

"Archeologically, it's a very good thing if we can salvage parts that go to help the historical analysis of that period," he said. "It would be of great interest to the public generally. There are very few examples of ships of that period."

The gold and silver coins in the ship's hold could be worth hundreds of millions dollars today if they're still there.

The valuable cargo was meant to secure the loyalty of the Duke of Savoy, who Britain hoped would help thwart the military ambitions of France's King Louis XIV.

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