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NEWS CAPSULES

Around the world

TRIAL: Four new witnesses have come forward in the trial of three men accused of murdering American student Amy Biehl in South Africa, but prosecutors say they will testify only behind closed doors. A crowd chanting racial slurs surrounded Biehl, a 26-year-old white Fulbright scholar from Newport Beach, Calif., after she drove friends to their homes in the black township of Guguletu on Aug. 25, 1993. She was beaten and stabbed to death.DEBT: Russia is seeking an agreement with creditor nations to set ceilings on debt payments to ease budget planning, Economics Minister Alexander Shokhin says. The proposed ceilings would apply for as long as 10 years, while the previous agreements have been reassessed annually. Russia's debt to foreign official and commercial lenders totaled $83.7 billion at the beginning of this year.

SONG: Senior Chinese officials will soon face the tricky political task of having to judge the merits of a revolutionary song written by 90-year-old leader Deng Xiaoping. China's Culture Ministry announced Tuesday that "an official contest of revolutionary songs" will be held in honor of the 45th anniversary of the People's Republic, celebrated Oct. 1.

Across the nation

SLAYING: An argument over wedding plans between two brothers, New York police officers with more than 10 years of spotless records, ended with one fatally shooting the other. Steven Soorko mortally wounded his younger brother, Douglas, Sunday night after Douglas attacked him with a chair during a drunken rage. The Daily News reported that Douglas, who was to be married on Sept. 17, became enraged after Steven refused his request to hire strippers for the bachelor party.

ESCAPE: A woman who had been gagged and bound with duct tape and then sexually assaulted escaped from the closet in Fort Worth, Texas, where her captors had imprisoned her by burning through the tape with a cigarette lighter, setting the house ablaze in the process, police said. "We drove up and there was a naked woman running toward the police," said fire department Lt. T.W. Jackson. "Then we saw the smoke pouring out of the house." The 44-year-old woman was treated for burns and bite marks Monday and released.

GERM: Federal health officials have identified the germ responsible for a deadly outbreak of illness aboard a cruise ship. About 600 passengers and nearly 40 crew members aboard the Viking Serenade fell ill with shigellosis, caused by the bacterium Shigella flexneri, Bob Howard, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday. One person died.

SUICIDE: A colorful parade in New York City became the scene of a suicide when a man threw himself beneath the wheels of a tractor-trailer pulling a float, police said. Marc Rock, 29, was walking alongside the truck with his brother, Harold, when he said, "You know, I'm going to miss you," and dove beneath its wheels, police spokesman Sgt. Edward Caro said. Rock's brother, Keith, was driving the truck.