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Friday, 17 May, 2002, 17:22 GMT 18:22 UK
East Timor to be born on the web
The Hato Builico aboriginal tribe of East Timor dance to a drum beat during the rehearsal for the country¿s upcoming independence day
The handover will be a colourful spectacle
East Timor's independence celebrations on Sunday will not only symbolise a milestone for the territory itself, but will also mark the first time that a nation is born on the internet.

The United Nations Foundation is planning to broadcast the party in the run-up to independence, and the moment that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan hands over sovereignty to the tiny state, live on its web site.

Viewers will be able to watch speeches by Mr Annan, the new President Xanana Gusmao, and visiting former US President Bill Clinton, and watch interviews with key East Timorese leaders.

The webcast will be shown at from 2130 local time (1230 GMT) on Sunday.

Show time

It will show some 3,000 Timorese performing traditional dances and music, before Mr Annan hands power to Mr Gusmao at the stroke of midnight.

They can also watch a video of Sting singing a song specially written for East Timor's independence.

The site offers visitors the chance to make a contribution to the impoverished nation, which will be Asia's poorest country.

Half the population earn less than $0.55 a day.

The last nation to become independent, in 1994, was Palau - formerly a UN Trusteeship under administration by the US.

See also:

17 May 02 | Business
East Timor gets oil treaty
12 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
East Timor's timetable for change
13 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
East Timor lines up foreign friends
13 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
East Timor 'Asia's poorest nation'
17 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
E Timor warned of challenge ahead
26 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Australia pledges $3m to East Timor
25 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
E Timor, Indonesia sign accords
13 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
Hopes fade for East Timor justice
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