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In brief: Child-killer tells court Knox not guilty of student Meredith Kercher's murder

A convicted child murderer told a court he had information clearing Amanda Knox of the killing of British student Meredith Kercher. Giving evidence at the American student's appeal hearing yesterday in the Italian town of Perugia, Mario Alessi recounted a jailhouse confession made to him by Rudy Guede, who was also convicted of killing the 21-year-old.

The Ivory Coast national confided in him that Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were innocent, he said.

Both Knox, 23, and Sollecito, 26, were found guilty of the 2007 murder and received lengthy sentences.

South Koreans shoot at passenger jet

South Korean marines fired rifles at a South Korean commercial aircraft flying near the sea border with North Korea, thinking it was one of the communist North's jet fighters, but they never hit their target, military sources said yesterday.

The shooting illustrates the level of tension between the two Koreas. A spokesman said two soldiers fired their K-2 rifles for about 10 minutes at around 4am on Friday.

The plane, later identified as an Asiana Airlines Airbus A320 and carrying 119 passengers and crew, was flying from China and making its descent into Incheon, Seoul's main airport.

Sega game giant falls prey to hackers

Sega has become the latest computer-game giant to fall prey to hackers. The company sent an email to users of the Sega Pass system, warning that email addresses, dates of birth and encrypted passwords had been obtained. However, it said that no financial information was at risk.

The Sega Pass system was taken offline last Thursday and all users' passwords have since been reset. Customers have been advised to be on the alert for suspicious emails asking for further personal information. This comes after attacks on Sony and another games company, Codemasters.

Murderer is found hanged in his cell

A MURDERER who stabbed a woman to death after she challenged him to pick up his litter was found hanged in his cell yesterday. Stuart Aherne was 18 when he knifed Jean Ryder, 45, in Wythenshawe, Manchester, in 2003. He was sentenced to life in prison.

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The 26-year-old killer was found in his cell at HMP Lindholme near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, at 11.30am. Staff attempted to save him but he was pronounced dead 10 minutes later.

Chavez meets Castro in Cuban hospital

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez met Cuban president Raul Castro and former leader Fidel Castro as he "recovers satisfactorily" from surgery in Havana last week, the Cuban press reported yesterday.

Communist Party newspaper Granma showed photos of a smiling Chavez with the Castro brothers in a meeting said to have occurred last Friday in what looked like a hospital room.

Chavez, 56, was operated on for what was described as a "pelvic abscess" at the end of a trip through several Latin American countries. He and his government have issued assurances that he continues to govern his oil-producing South American country from Cuba.

Reality TV show gets an Islamic twist

A forthcoming Islamic reality-television show to be screened in Malaysia aims to find the best women preachers and change conservative mindsets regarding the role of women in Islamic societies.

The 13-episode prime-time programme titled Solehah -- an Arabic word meaning "pious female" -- is a talent contest that will feature charismatic young Muslim women. They will be judged by clerics on their religious knowledge, as well as their oratory skills and personality.

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