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What happens when a criminal justice system develops a reputation for failing to protect victims or punish criminals? In South Africa, mob rule gains mass appeal. A parallel police force is emerging and the line between those who mete out "justice" and those who commit crimes is becoming blurred.

Sure, you've heard of East Timor. But if you ask Indonesia's leadership, the separatist uprising in the western province of Aceh (ah-chay) poses a bigger threat to national instability. A strike this week against military oppression may be an indication that rebel support is rising. The Indonesian government is responding by sending more troops to the region.

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Any joy felt by the arrival of the monsoon season has quickly dissipated in most of Asia where too much water is forcing more than a million residents - from Bangladesh to the Koreas - to find higher and drier ground.

Fresh proof that water doesn't mix with oil was evident in Sydney Harbour. An oil spill there ignited debate over whether tourism mixes with industry.

- David Clark Scott, World editor


*VIGILANTE VIGIL: Outside of the Groblersdal courthouse, reporter Corinna Schuler was interviewing some members of South Africa's largest vigilante group. One member was openly discussing mob beatings when he was interrupted by another man. He told Corinna she had no right to talk to "non-executive members" of the group. "He demanded to see my notebook. When I refused, he came back with a second man who began to film me with a video camera. The man with the video continued to film me every time I talked to someone. Rather intimidating." Later, in court, an assault victim testified about the night of his beating, and he pointed to four suspects. "That's when I realized," says Corinna, "that the man who had screamed at me with such vigor was suspect No. 10 - an accused murderer."

*NO INTERVIEW ON THIS MENU: How powerful is the attraction of Sydney Harbour? Reporter Andrew West, a Sydney native, witnessed its allure first-hand when trying to set up a recent interview with a visiting Oxford University warden. The British gentleman insisted on meeting at Doyle's, a famous and pricey seafood restaurant at Circular Quay. A bad choice, it seems, for a working lunch. The man was "snapping open lobster tails and shoveling up oysters," says Andrew. He pressed Andrew for answers about and whether dolphins swam there. But he wasn't too keen on answering questions. And Andrew's meal? He settled for a glass of soda water, as he valiantly tried to keep the interview on course.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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