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IN BRIEF

Fijian islands

hit by cyclone

SUVA: Tiny islands in Fiji's southern Lau group were being bat tered by Tropical Cyclone Sina last night as neighbouring Tonga pre pared for gales from early today.

National Weather Forecasting Centre acting director Rajendra Pra sad said that at 5pm AEDT Sina was about 200km east-south-east of the capital Suva, between the islands of Totoya and Kabara.

Mr Prasad said a gale warning for Tonga would be issued with the possi bility of Sina threatening the main island ofTongatapu or Ha'apai to the north by late today if it remained on its present path.

Authorities on Fiji's main island Viti Levu said no injuries and little structural damage had been reported.

Flights in and out of Fiji were re stored this afternoon with the reopen ing of Nadi International Airport which was closed late yesterday. Mafia massacre

GELA, Italy: Suspected Mafia gun men mowed down 15 people in this central Sicilian town on Tuesday, leaving the head of a rival gang and seven other people dead, police said.

They said Francesco Rinzivillo, head of the "Giuseppe Madonia" clan, was the apparent target of the

massacre.

He was gunned down outside the gaming room of a local bar along with another person. The other six people who died were inside the gaming room, two of them were aged only 17 and 19, police said.

The gunmen, of whom there were at least five, escaped.

Killed 'for practice'

JOHANNESBURG: Right-wing extremist Cornelius Lottcring, who killed a black taxi driver "for prac tice" because he intended assassinat ing black leaders, was sentenced to jail on Monday for 20 years in the Rand Supreme Court here.

Justice Irving Stcyn said an extenu ating factor in the murder of Potoko Makgamelele in August last year was that Lottering's crime was politically and religiously motivated.

The judge said Loitering. 24, had been strongly influenced by religion and politics. His interpretation of the Bible was "warped" and had alTectcd his whole attitude.

Lottcring had said he was justified in killing the taxi driver because blacks were the "natural enemies" of whites who were blessed descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Trial date set

AMSTERDAM: The trial of three suspected Irish Republican Army guerrillas accused of murdering two Australian tourists in the Dutch town of Roermond in May will begin on February 20, the prosecutor's office said yesterday.

The court and lawyers involved in the case agreed on the date after a court decision on Tuesday to post pone the trial for up to three months. Women with AIDS

TOKYO: More than 20 per cent of acquired immune deficiency syn drome carriers in Japan were women, double the rate of Europe and the US, health officials said yesterday.

Alarmed by the finding, the Health and Welfare Ministry said it would hold a symposium called "Women and AIDS" on World AIDS Day this Saturday.

— AFP, AAP, Reuter

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