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Cyclone Thane kills 33 Indians

At least 33 people have been killed in a cyclone over India's south-eastern coast.

Cyclone Thane struck Tamil Nadu state and the territory of Puducherry yesterday before weakening overnight.

The storm destroyed houses and downed power lines in four districts of Tamil Nadu, where 26 people were killed.

The worst hit area was Cuddalore, the state capital, with 21 deaths as the wind speed reached 140kph. An additional seven people were killed in and around Puducherry, which is also known as Pondicherry.



Girl shot dead with an arrow

An eight-year-old girl has died after being accidentally shot in the head with an arrow.

A New South Wales state police spokesman said the incident happened on December 26 near the small town of Manilla in the state's north.

The girl was airlifted to a hospital in Sydney for emergency surgery but died yesterday.

Police would not release any details on how the girl was shot but said it was accidental.



Five killed in



Iraq ambush

Gunmen carrying silenced weapons attacked a checkpoint manned by government-backed Sunni militiamen and killed all five in the Iraqi province of Diyala.

The attack occurred in the town of Khan Bani Saad, about 20 miles northeast of Baghdad.

"An attack of this size, in which the five killed makes up the total number of staff at the checkpoint, indicates that al-Qa'ida sleeper cell groups are now re-activating their movements," said Saad Abdullah, head of the security committee in Khan Bani Saad.



Celebrity hawk dies after op

A red-tailed hawk that became a New York sensation when a webcam followed her nesting and rearing a chick on a high-rise ledge died after surgery to amputate her badly injured foot, a wildlife group said.

Violet, the female in a pair of hawks that roosted outside the New York University president's office this year, had a heart attack after seeming to emerge in good shape from the procedure.


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