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UNAUTHORIZED LIBYAN PLANE ENTERS AIRSPACE IN ITALY

A Libyan plane entered Italian airspace without requesting authorization and was intercepted and escorted out by jet fighters, media reports said Sunday.

Two Italian fighters approached the Libyan plane, a twin-propeller Fokker 50, and escorted it over the sea, out of the path of major cities, until it left Italian airspace south of Sicily, the reports said.

Authorities were trying to find out why the plane entered Italy's airspace Saturday without requesting permission, RAI state television reported. Italian officials were not available to comment.

The reports said the Libyan plane, which can seat 50 passengers but was apparently fitted for cargo, had taken off in Denmark and crossed into northern Italy.

China distributing aid
to victims of earthquake

BEIJING (AP) -- Authorities in southwestern China were distributing rice, cooking oil and emergency shelters to victims of a magnitude-6 earthquake that left one woman dead and collapsed more than 3,400 buildings, the official Xinhua News Agency said Sunday.

The quake struck early Saturday afternoon in a remote part of Yunnan province near the historic town of Lijiang, some 1,300 miles from Beijing.

The quake injured 134 people, three of them seriously, Xinhua said. Authorities were handing out 15 tons of rice, along with tents and 300 waterproof blankets, it said.

Rescue work is continuing in a number of villages reported to have suffered heavy damage from the quake, the report said.

No damage was reported in Lijiang, known for its traditional architecture of the Naxi ethnic minority.

Memorial held for victims
of Switzerland tunnel fire

AIROLO, Switzerland (AP) -- Salvage work in Switzerland's Gotthard Tunnel came to a brief halt Sunday as exhausted crews and hundreds of mourners took time out to remember those killed in last week's devastating fire.

The number of confirmed dead remained at 11. Authorities said that 35 people were considered missing by family and friends but that it was highly unlikely they were all in the tunnel at the time of Wednesday's truck crash and subsequent fire.

Officials have said they hope the death toll will not rise much above 11.

Officials hoped to carry out final checks today to ensure that the worst-hit section of the tunnel was safe enough for forensic experts to search for more victims among the 12 vehicles that were trapped in the 50-yard stretch.

Hundreds of people attended a memorial service conducted by the archbishop of Lugano, Giuseppe Torti, in Airolo.

The 10.6-mile tunnel through the Alps is a major link between Germany and Italy. It is expected to be closed for two to six months. Repair work is unlikely to start before mid-November.

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