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In Brief: Congress gun rampage man 'fit for trial'

THE man accused of shooting a US congresswoman in a rampage that killed six people can eventually be made mentally fit to stand trial, a judge has ruled.

Jared Lee Loughner has pleaded not guilty to 49 charges over the January 8 shooting that also wounded 13, including Arizona Democrat Gabrielle Giffords.

Judge Larry Burns said "measurable progress has been made" in restoring Loughner to the point where he could assist in his defence.

Small plane crash kills 18

EIGHTEEN people are feared dead after a small plane crashed in Indonesia.

Search-and-rescue teams were rushing to the scene.

The CASA C-212 was halfway through an hour-long flight between North Sumatra and Aceh provinces when it lost contact with air traffic control.

Residents in the village of Bahorok reported that the plane -- carrying three crew members and 15 passengers -- had crashed.

800 fraudsters held in swoop

Taiwanese police arrested 800 fraudsters in raids in China and seven south-east Asian countries.

The suspects, including some 300 Taiwanese and 500 Chinese, were arrested in Taiwan, China and across south-east Asia, where they had fled to escape sweeping crackdowns at home.

They are said to have swindled ¤20m from mostly Chinese and Taiwanese victims. In a typical scam, they made phone calls purportedly from police, fooling victims into transferring funds to clear themselves of false drug abuse or other offences.

Climber saves thumb after fall

A rock climber whose thumb was severed when he fell has had it reattached by surgeons.

Two Austrian climbers were nearing the summit of 7,569ft El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, California, when the lead climber fell.

His thumb was severed when a rope coiled round his hand and it fell on to a ledge.

But his climbing partner was able to retrieve it and the thumb was reattached at hospital after a rescue by helicopter.