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Hijack hoax

Canberra, Dec. 19 (AFP): An Italian tourist aboard a Lauda Austrian Airlines flight from Sydney to Vienna sparked a major security alert when he text messaged his wife to tell her his plane had been hijacked by Islamic extremists, officials said here today.

A spokesperson for transport minister John Anderson said the man sent the message to his wife as a joke after taking off from Sydney last Sunday. Antonio Casale, 35, claimed terrorists were in control of the aircraft and were taking the passengers to an unknown destination. His wife contacted Italian police, who immediately contacted the Italian embassy in Canberra, who in turn contacted Australian police, fearing a September 11 style attack.

The spokesman said authorities were able to quickly find the identity of the man and discover it was a hoax.

Taxing times

Berlin (Reuters): Adolf Hitler spent years evading taxes and owed German authorities 405,000 Reichsmarks ' equivalent to $8 million today ' by the time his debts were forgiven after he took power, a researcher said. Klaus-Dieter Dubon, a retired Bavarian notary and tax expert, said he found Hitler's tax records in a Munich archive. They show the dictator battled tax collectors for eight years before becoming chancellor in 1933.


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