World briefs: Gunman kills 2, self, wounds 7 in central Switzerland
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ZURICH, Switzerland -- Three people were killed and seven injured in a shooting at a wood-processing plant in central Switzerland, police said.
The gunman, a 42-year-old Swiss national who worked at wood-processing company Kronospan Switzerland in Menznau, was among the dead, police said Wednesday, adding that the motive is not yet known.
Switzerland, where men can keep army-issue firearms after mandatory military service, has been debating stricter gun control measures since January, when a 33-year-old gunman killed three people in the southern village of Daillon.
Life term for embezzling
ATHENS, Greece -- The ex-mayor of Greece's second city, Thessaloniki, and two of his top aides were sentenced to life in jail Wednesday after being found guilty of embezzling almost 18 million euros ($23.5 million) in state funds.
A court found that they had set up an "embezzlement machine" and that Vassilis Papageorgopoulos, who served two terms as mayor from 1999 to 2010, had been "aware of the whole plan but had stayed on the sidelines, feigning ignorance." The scheme was conceived by Michalis Lemousias, a general secretary of the city administration, who operated with Panagiotis Saxonis, the city's treasurer, the court found.
Slave owner database
LONDON -- A new database launched Wednesday lets Britons curious about their family history uncover some potentially uncomfortable information -- whether their ancestors owned slaves.
Researchers at University College London spent three years compiling a searchable listing of thousands of people who received compensation for loss of their "possessions" when slave ownership was outlawed by Britain in 1833.
About 46,000 people were paid a total of 20 million pounds -- the equivalent of 40 percent of all annual government spending at the time -- after the freeing of slaves in British colonies in the Caribbean, Mauritius and southern Africa.
New law questioned
ACCRA, Ghana -- Ivory Coast's government passed a law last year that improved the legal and financial status of women.
But the removal of the rule that places men at the head of the household sparked the anger of many women. They say they'll no longer have the lifelong financial security of marriage, even as the new policy allows them to keep more of their own salaries, set up businesses without their husbands' approval and make more choices on how money is spent.
Herbal remedy found
JOHANNESBURG -- The substance found in Oscar Pistorius' bedroom after the shooting death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, was identified by his representatives Wednesday as Testis compositum -- an herbal remedy they said is used for "muscle recovery." A product by that name also is sold as a sexual enhancer.
Testis compositum is marketed by some online retailers in both oral and injectable forms as a testosterone booster and sexual performance aid that contains the testicles, heart and embryo of pigs, among other ingredients. Some online retailers also say it can be used to treat fatigue.
Clash in Myanmar
BANGKOK -- When villagers clashed with security forces Tuesday over land seizures in Myanmar, the police apparently got the worst of it.
Officials and a doctor at a hospital said Wednesday that one officer was killed and 27 wounded, some with severe injuries. Approximately 20 villagers also were injured.
The episode took place in Maubin, in the Irrawaddy River delta, when police tried to disperse villagers who were protesting the taking of land by a private company.
First Published February 28, 2013 12:00 am