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Guards repel hijack attempt on Israeli airliner

Security guards on Israel's national airline El Al overpowered a man who tried to hijack a flight from Tel Aviv to Istanbul on Sunday. He was apparently armed only with a pen knife.

None of the 170 passengers on board the Boeing 757 were harmed and the plane landed safely, said Oktay Cakirlar, an official at Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport.

The semi-official Anatolia news agency identified the hijacker as Tawfiq Fukra, a 23-year-old Arab with an Israeli passport.

"No one was injured," Cakirlar told the Associated Press by telephone. "The terrorist is in custody at the police station at the airport."

Turkey's private CNN-Turk television said the man was overpowered by two Israeli security guards on the plane, one of whom was posing as a passenger.

Iranian death verdict may be lifted

TEHRAN, Iran _ Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader, ordered the death sentence of a popular reformist history professor reversed on Sunday, amid escalating demonstrations against the verdict at universities around the Islamic Republic capital.

As supreme leader, Khamenei has the final say on all matters of state and religion, but as of Sunday night, the judiciary had not publicly responded to his order. The nation's chief jurist, Mahmud Hashemi-Sharudi, has requested a meeting with Khamenei to discuss the verdict against professor Hashem Aghajari, who was found guilty of apostasy, or abandoning Iran's Shiite Muslim faith.

Aghajari was prosecuted for a speech he gave in the western Iranian city of Hamadan in August, in which he said Shiite Muslims were not "monkeys" to blindly follow the teachings of senior clerics.

Ex-Italian premier sentenced

ROME _ An appeals court Sunday overturned the acquittal of former Premier Giulio Andreotti in the 1979 slaying of a crusading journalist and sentenced him to 24 years in prison.

The court also reversed a lower court's acquittal of a mobster, Gaetano Badalamenti, in the shooting death of the reporter.

Badalamenti, who is serving a 30-year prison term in the United States, also received a 24-year prison sentence for the slaying of the journalist, Mino Pecorelli.

Three years ago, Andreotti and Badalamenti were acquitted by a lower court. The former premier remains free and, along with Badalmenti, is expected to appeal Sunday's decision.

The 83-year-old Andreotti served as Italian premier seven times. Prosecutors said the Mafia killed Pecorelli on behalf of Andreotti, who allegedly feared the journalist had uncovered compromising information. It has never been explained what Pecorelli was believed to have discovered about the former premier.

Thousands protest in Haiti

In the largest public demonstration against Haiti's President Jean-Bertrand Aristide since his election two years ago, tens of thousands marched peacefully Sunday, calling for an alternative to his allegedly antidemocratic government. Under heavy police protection, the protesters marched 2 miles outside Cap-Haitien to Vertieres.