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Around the world

BACKLASH: About 10,000 people demonstrated Thursday in Halle, Germany, to protest a neo-Nazi attack on a teenager who uses a wheelchair. The 17-year-old girl told police three neo-Nazis carved a swastika on her face Monday after she refused to repeat fascist slogans they shouted at her, including "Gas the Cripples" and "Heil Hitler." "What has to be done to finally get some action?" asked high school student Claudia Marks. Many protesters were teenagers and handicapped people.JUSTICE: A woman will be appointed one of Japan's 15 Supreme Court justices for the first time in the country's history, Prime Minister Morihiro Hos-o-kawa disclosed Thursday. Hosokawa, who invited some 240 of Japan's most prominent women to the prime minister's residence, said he planned to appoint a former bureaucrat, Hisako Takahashi, 66, as the country's first woman Supreme Court judge. "(A woman) is speaker of the Lower House in parliament and there are three women Cabinet ministers in the administration, but it's a problem that there are no women in the judiciary," Hosokawa said.

PIPELINE ACCORD: Turkey and the former Soviet republic of Georgia have reached preliminary agreement on a natural gas pipeline and other projects to link Asia to Europe through the Caucasus. Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze says the projects were among the subjects he discussed in his meeting with his Turkish counterpart Suleyman Demirel in Ankara.

Across the nation

WILDFIRE: A wildfire whipped by gusting winds raced across 2,500 acres of parched terrain and threatened homes in two San Diego suburbs before being mostly contained. The fire was 80 percent contained by Wed-nes-day evening and fire-fighters expected to have it fully surrounded with fire breaks sometime Thursday, said Martie Perkins, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry.

DERAILED: A circus train derailed Thursday in central Florida's heartland, killing at least one person and injuring a dozen others, authorities said. A Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey spokeswoman, Barbara Pflug-haupt, said there were reports of as many as 19 cars of the 59-car train derailed as the circus train traveled across the state's midsection to an engagement in Orlando, 60 miles to the east. There was no immediate word on the fate of animals on board.