By Dialogo August 18, 2009 Leftist Colombian guerrillas released videos of a police officer and a soldier who are among a group of 23 hostages held deep in the jungle. In the videos broadcast by Venezuela-based Telesur television, police officer Guillermo Javier Solorzano, held captive since July 2007, and soldier Salin Antonio San Miguel, who was kidnapped in May 2008, greeted their families. “From here, from this jungle, we plead to those who have the power to bring us back to do something for us, to help us, to realize that we’re suffering here, with stoicism, with courage and dignity,” Solorzano said in a message welcomed by families of the hostages as proof they were still alive. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Latin America’s oldest and largest insurgency, has been battling the government in Bogota for 45 years. The jungle-based group holds 23 police officers and soldiers as hostages and wants to exchange 21 of these “political prisoners” for jailed FARC rebels. It has offered to release another two unilaterally. President Alvaro Uribe, a conservative who is a close US ally, has agreed to FARC demands that leftist Senator Piedad Cordoba negotiate the release of hostages, but only on condition that the guerrillas release all soldiers they still hold in the jungle. Cordoba, who heads a civil movement seeking a mediated solution to the conflict, received the videos. She said the FARC was expected to release more evidence that other hostages are still alive in the coming days.
The No. 12 USC women’s tennis team served up a smooth 7-0 win over host Oregon on Friday afternoon, getting back in winning mode after two tight losses last week.The Women of Troy started off by nabbing the doubles point to take an early lead before pounding out a string of six singles wins.USC improved to 8-5 overall and takes a 1-0 start to conference play with the win.Doubles play began with some new pairings for USC. Teamed up for the first time this season was the No. 40 nationally ranked duo, freshman Valeria Pulido and junior Maria Sanchez, who grabbed an 8-1 win at the top court.With USC freshman Danielle Lao sidelined with a cold, another new doubles pair was formed at the second slot. Senior Sarah Fansler and sophomore Alison Ramos teamed up for the first time since November and posted an 8-3 win to clinch the doubles point for USC. At No. 3, juniors Jennifer Goldman and Lyndsay Kinstler had their match suspended at 5-5, when the doubles point was already decided in USC’s favor.Entering singles play ahead 1-0, USC captured five consecutive straight-set victories before USC’s junior Cristala Andrews completed a comeback win 1-6, 6-1, 6-2 to give USC the 7-0 sweep over the Ducks. This was Andrews’ first appearance in the fourth singles position.At the first singles slot, USC’s No. 3 Sanchez won her fourth straight match 6-1, 6-2 over Oregon’s Julia Metzger. Sanchez improved her singles record to 10-1 for the season with the victory.On court two, No. 21 Ramos snagged a 6-0, 7-5 win, while No. 91 Pulido followed suit at the third court, posting a 6-3, 7-5 win. This was also Pulido’s fourth straight win in singles.At the fifth slot, Fansler competed in her first dual match since being sidelined by injury and pounded away a 6-1, 6-1 victory. Soon after, in the No. 6 match, Kinstler snagged a 6-4, 6-3 win.“It’s nice to get a win under our belt before heading into another week of more tough matches,” Sanchez said. “The team morale is really good right now.”USC runs its all-time record against Oregon to 14-0 with the victory.
THE VOTERSThe Super Tuesday states are home to diverse electorates, both when it comes to demographics and political ideology. In California and Texas, white voters make up less than half the population. Latinos count for nearly 40% of the populations in both states. California, meanwhile, has the nation’s highest Asian population, at roughly 15%. North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Alabama and Arkansas have large populations of black voters, one of the Democratic Party’s core voting blocs. The states blend a mix of urban and rural voters, as well as Democrats from all sides of the political spectrum. As candidates focus on wooing Southern Democrats in states like Texas and Arkansas, they must also be thinking about a message that can resonate in progressive San Francisco.Most of the Super Tuesday states have some form of widespread early voting. Voters in Minnesota, for example, could start casting ballots in January. Millions of mail-in ballots went out to California voters on Feb. 3, the day of the Iowa caucuses.THE CANDIDATESVermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg have had the widest and most aggressive footprint across the Super Tuesday states, largely because they’ve got the money to spend. Bloomberg is advertising in all 14 states, while Sanders is on the airwaves in 12. It’s the first time Bloomberg will be on ballots after he skipped the first four voting states, making the day a critical test of his theory that he’s the best candidate to stand against Sanders and, later, Republican President Donald Trump.Sanders spent Sunday in California, holding rallies in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles, the state’s major liberal strongholds. He’s hoping his monthslong focus on the state and resonance with Latino voters will help him win a large chunk of the state’s 415 delegates. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will be in California on Monday, and Joe Biden plans to return on primary day.Biden, for his part, hopes his strong showing in Saturday’s South Carolina primary is a harbinger of coming success with black voters, who dominate the Democratic electorate in a handful of Super Tuesday states. Warren hoped to win her home-state primary, though Sanders is making a play for it. Bloomberg has also campaigned across the South in recent days as he tries to prove he can build a winning Democratic coalition.Democrats opposed to Sanders are hoping to see voters coalesce behind a moderate alternative. Any of the candidates could face pressure to drop out if they don’t perform well on Tuesday. SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Democratic presidential candidates are racing toward the biggest day on the primary calendar, when 14 states vote on Super Tuesday. It’s the day when the primary moves from retail to wholesale. Instead of one state voting at a time, candidates have to focus on contests in every region of the country with all types of voters.While Super Tuesday won’t necessarily determine who wins the nomination, it has historically been difficult for a candidate who performs poorly on the day to recover. Here’s a look at Tuesday’s contests:THE STATESFourteen states hold primaries on Super Tuesday, including California and Texas, the two biggest delegate hauls of the entire primary season. California offers 415 delegates and Texas 228. In total, more than 1,300 delegates will be up for grabs, about a third of the total available in the race to the Democratic presidential nomination.Although Super Tuesday was originally created as a regional primary featuring Southern states, it has morphed over the years. This year, it includes states from every region of the country.The other states are Arkansas, Alabama, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Vermont, Utah, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Oklahoma. Most of the Southern states are Republican strongholds in the general election, while others like California are solidly Democratic. North Carolina is likely to be a battleground state in the general election.Polls close between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. local time, depending on the state.MORE ON ELECTION 2020:– Black voters seek to flex political power on Super Tuesday– Biden, Bernie’s Super Tuesday brawl to shape Democratic race– 5 key questions ahead of critical Super Tuesday primaries