The colon cancer afflicting Nick Leeson, the British rogue trader whose losses sank Barings Bank, is not as bad as had been feared, his lawyer said yesterday. Doctors believe the cancer has not in fact spread to the lymph nodes and Leeson now has about a 70 per cent chance of surviving for five years. Leeson's lawyers are seeking his early release from prison in Singapore, where he began a 6 1/2-year sentence for fraud in 1995.

The former South African president, P. W. Botha (82), faces judgment on Friday, when a magistrate will deliver his verdict on whether he is guilty of contempt.

Botha appeared in court in George, a south coast resort town, yesterday for ignoring three summonses to appear before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to answer questions about state actions against black activists. Archbisop Desmond Tutu filed the charges last December.

Prince Jefri, the estranged brother of the Sultan of Brunei, says a power struggle in the oilrich sultanate had pushed him out of his job managing Brunei's vast overseas riches, a French newspaper reported yesterday.

Jefri was stripped of control over the Brunei Investment Agency following allegations that he squandered billions of dollars of Brunei's wealth and drove into the ground his conglomerate Amadeo.

"The reality of events in Brunei is that of a power struggle between different tendencies, ranging from an open, modern and pro-Western attitude - which I represent - to those who want a conservative religious regime," the prince said in a letter to Le Monde.