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Feb. 14, 2013 at 12:10 PM   |   Comments

Oscar Pistorius charged with murder

PRETORIA, South Africa, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Police said they charged South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius with murder in the shooting death of his girlfriend, whom he may have thought was a burglar.

Pistorius, 26, appeared severely shocked when questioned by police at his home in Pretoria, the Afrikaans daily Beeld reported.

Model Reeva Steenkamp, 30, was shot in the head and arm around 3 a.m. and was declared dead at the scene, a police spokeswoman said.

"He is being charged with murder and he will appear in the Pretoria regional court later this afternoon," a police spokesman told NBC News.

Police said they were "surprised" to hear Pistorius may have thought Steenkamp was an intruder, the BBC reported. They said there had been previous "allegations of a domestic nature" reported at the address of the couple's home.

Police said they found a 9-mm pistol in the house, Beeld said.


EU urges DNA testing of 'beef' products

BRUSSELS, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- The European Commission says it has urged member states to increase DNA testing on meat products to determine how much meat sold as beef is actually horsemeat.

The testing was recommended because of the potential presence of an anti-inflammatory compound given to horses, phenythbutazone, which could endanger the health of people who eat the flesh, the EUobserver reported Thursday.

Health commissioner Tonio Borg said member states would test 4,000 samples of horsemeat from slaughterhouses and 2,500 samples of processed beef products.

The tests will begin this month, with preliminary findings to be released April 15.

The controversy began last month when horsemeat from a French food processor was found in lasagna sold in British stores as containing all beef.


American-US Airways announce merger

DALLAS, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- The boards controlling American Airlines and US Airways announced an $11 billion merger Thursday that creates the world's largest airline.

Shareholders of AMR, the parent company of American Airlines, would own 72 percent of the combined company while US Airways shareholders would own the remaining 28 percent, the announcement said.

"Together, we will be even better positioned to deliver for all of our stakeholders, including our customers, people, investors, partners and the many communities we serve," AA President, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tom Horton said.

The merger, which faces a few hurdles before completion, would create a combined airline with 94,000 employees, 950 planes, 6,500 daily flights, eight major hubs and total sales of nearly $39 billion.

Among other advantages, the combined airline would be a major customer in the industry. The two companies currently have "firm orders for more than 600 new mainline aircraft."

The announcement said the merger would create "one of the most modern and efficient fleets in the industry."


Man sets himself ablaze at Rome airport

ROME, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- An Ivory Coast man facing deportation from Italy set himself on fire Thursday at Rome's Fiumicino airport, officials said.

The man was saved by a police officer who used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames, Italy's ANSA news agency reported.

The self-immolation caused three departures area in the airport to be closed to the public.

The man was transported to a hospital where he is in serious condition. The police officer who put out the flames was also hospitalized.


Indonesian children protest Valentine's

SURAKARTA, Indonesia, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- About 500 Muslim elementary schoolchildren rallied with their teachers against St. Valentine's Day in Surakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, organizers said.

The children gave speeches and carried colored papers with messages urging people to say "no" to Valentine's Day, the Jakarta Post reported.

"We took the students to join the rally in a bid to remind them not to fall into Valentine's Day moments," a teacher identified as Setiyatno said.

The teacher said the romantic holiday promoted activities that could damage the morality of Islamic youths.

"What we see in reality is that youths increasingly have no limits when celebrating Valentine's Day," he said.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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