Mafia 'boss of bosses' Riina dies

 ROME - The ferocious Cosa Nostra 'boss of bosses' Salvatore 'Toto' Riina died Friday in a maximum security prison where had been serving multiple life sentences for a constellation of murders and other crimes during decades leading the Sicilian Mafia, judicial sources said.

 Italian newspapers splashed on the imminent death of the mobster Thursday night, quoting investigators as saying Riina had retained the leadership of the underworld organisation even while in solitary confinement after his capture.

 Cosa Nostra lost ground in Italy and elsewhere after Riina and other top bosses were arrested as the Italian state's historic accommodation with organised crime crumbled as Riina and his Corleonesi clan challenged state authority by murdering top crimefighters Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino in 1992 and 1993 followed by a series of bomb attacks on cultural monuments including the Uffizzi Gallery in Florence and the Basilica of St John Lateran in Rome.