A picture taken on March 8, 1993 shows mafia boss Salvatore "Toto" Riina during his trial at the high security prison Ucciardone in Palermo. Former "boss of bosses" Toto Riina, one of the most feared Godfathers in the history of the Sicilian Mafia, died early on November 17, 2017 after battling cancer, according to Italian media reports. 
Riina, 87, who had been serving 26 life sentences and is thought to have ordered more than 150 murders, had been in a coma and his family had been given permission by Italy's health ministry Thursday for a rare visit to say goodbye. / AFP PHOTO / Alessandro FUCARINI
Salvatore Riina during his trial at the high security prison Ucciardone in Palermo. AFP/Alessandro Fucarini

‘The Beast’, Sicily’s most feared mafia boss, dies, signalling end of an era for the old Mafia

Salvatore ‘Toto’ Riina, the most feared and savage of Sicilian mafia bosses, died peacefully of natural causes on Friday; it was a fate none of his victims ever had the good fortune to enjoy. During his decades-long reign of terror, the 87-year-old had ordered the deaths of dozens of people, and oversaw a criminal empire that encompassed heroin trafficking, extortion and political assassinations.

Riina, who died in the prison ward of a hospital in Parma, in northern Italy, had been serving 26 life sentences for homicides committed between 1969 and 1992. His victims included the two magistrates who led the campaign to bring mob bosses to justice, magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.

He fell into a coma after complications during surgery a few days ago, and his family had been given special dispensation to be by his side on Thursday, the Italian justice ministry said.

Nicknamed ‘The Beast’, Riina began his violent criminal career on the streets of Corleone in Sicily after the Second World War, and led the island’s mafia during its most powerful period of the 20th century.

He oversaw a flourishing economic period for the Cosa Nostra – ‘Our thing’ in Italian – when it was trafficking heroin to the eastern United States and pulling the levers of political power in Palermo and Rome.

But due to Riina’s savagery, hundreds of mobsters broke their code of silence in the 1980s and 1990s and testified against him, allowing Falcone and Borsellino to uncover the long-hidden secrets of the organisation and prosecute its leaders for the crimes of its soldiers.

Riina’s January 1993 arrest, after more than 20 years as a fugitive, came just months after Falcone and Borsellino were blown up by car bombs on his orders, and coincided with a tumultuous downfall of Italy’s post-war political system.

Under Riina the organisation developed close relations with corrupt senior politicians from most of the major political parties – including with cabinet ministers and allegedly prime ministers. The deaths of the two crusading magistrates unleashed a wave of massive public disgust which swept the old order away.

Since his arrest, Riina has been held under high security with little access to his family in accordance with a law written to prevent bosses from commanding from prison. However, he remained a powerful figure within the mob even behind bars and refused to cooperate with investigators until the end.

Matteo Messina Denaro, a Riina ally who has been a fugitive for 25 years, is the highest-ranking boss still at large, but it is unlikely he will be able take power according to John Dickie, a British historian and author of the book Cosa Nostra.

“Cosa Nostra is internally and politically divided in a way that makes it almost ungovernable, and this division dates back to Riina’s campaign for power in the 80s,” Mr Dickie said.

Riina's surviving foes within Cosa Nostra had close ties to North America, and they are the ones most likely to seek a shift in the crime syndicate’s balance of power.

“Because the Sicilian Mafia is struggling, it needs to renew its access to the United States, which has been crucial to the organisation since the 1880s,” added Mr Dickie.


Rohit Sharma (capt), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, KS Bharat (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat

Milestones on the road to union


October 26: Bahrain withdraws from a proposal to create a federation of nine with the seven Trucial States and Qatar. 

December: Ahmed Al Suwaidi visits New York to discuss potential UN membership.


March 1:  Alex Douglas Hume, Conservative foreign secretary confirms that Britain will leave the Gulf and “strongly supports” the creation of a Union of Arab Emirates.

July 12: Historic meeting at which Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid make a binding agreement to create what will become the UAE.

July 18: It is announced that the UAE will be formed from six emirates, with a proposed constitution signed. RAK is not yet part of the agreement.

August 6:  The fifth anniversary of Sheikh Zayed becoming Ruler of Abu Dhabi, with official celebrations deferred until later in the year.

August 15: Bahrain becomes independent.

September 3: Qatar becomes independent.

November 23-25: Meeting with Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid and senior British officials to fix December 2 as date of creation of the UAE.

November 29:  At 5.30pm Iranian forces seize the Greater and Lesser Tunbs by force.

November 30: Despite  a power sharing agreement, Tehran takes full control of Abu Musa. 

November 31: UK officials visit all six participating Emirates to formally end the Trucial States treaties

December 2: 11am, Dubai. New Supreme Council formally elects Sheikh Zayed as President. Treaty of Friendship signed with the UK. 11.30am. Flag raising ceremony at Union House and Al Manhal Palace in Abu Dhabi witnessed by Sheikh Khalifa, then Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

December 6: Arab League formally admits the UAE. The first British Ambassador presents his credentials to Sheikh Zayed.

December 9: UAE joins the United Nations.

Dubai World Cup factbox

Most wins by a trainer: Godolphin’s Saeed bin Suroor(9)

Most wins by a jockey: Jerry Bailey(4)

Most wins by an owner: Godolphin(9)

Most wins by a horse: Godolphin’s Thunder Snow(2)


For more information, and to enter the race, please visit www.abudhabi.triathlon.org.

Terminator: Dark Fate

Director: Tim Miller

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Mackenzie Davis 

Rating: 3/5

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Director: Peyton Reed

Stars: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Jonathan Majors

Rating: 2/5

The Iron Claw

Director: Sean Durkin 

Starring: Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson, Maura Tierney, Holt McCallany, Lily James

Rating: 4/5

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.


Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

UAE medallists at Asian Games 2023

Magomedomar Magomedomarov – Judo – Men’s +100kg
Khaled Al Shehi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Faisal Al Ketbi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Asma Al Hosani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -52kg
Shamma Al Kalbani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -63kg
Omar Al Marzooqi – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Bishrelt Khorloodoi – Judo – Women’s -52kg
Khalid Al Blooshi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Mohamed Al Suwaidi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -69kg
Balqees Abdulla – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -48kg
Hawraa Alajmi – Karate – Women’s kumite -50kg
Ahmed Al Mansoori – Cycling – Men’s omnium
Abdullah Al Marri – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Team UAE – Equestrian – Team showjumping
Dzhafar Kostoev – Judo – Men’s -100kg
Narmandakh Bayanmunkh – Judo – Men’s -66kg
Grigorian Aram – Judo – Men’s -90kg
Mahdi Al Awlaqi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -77kg
Saeed Al Kubaisi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Shamsa Al Ameri – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -57kg

Brief scoreline:

Tottenham 1

Son 78'

Manchester City 0


Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

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