World Briefs: Protests force city to scrap copper plant

BEIJING — A Chinese city announced Tuesday it has scrapped plans for a copper plant, apparently in response to thousands of people protesting the project’s possible public health risks.

Shifang city in the southwestern province of Sichuan issued a statement on the Internet saying it had decided to stop the project.

The city’s public security bureau earlier warned the public not to use the Internet or cellphones to organize more protests and asked those who had done so to turn themselves in within three days or face severe punishment.

Thousands of people - including high school students - concerned about pollution the plant would cause began to gather in front of the city government building and a public square Sunday night, and the protests turned bloody Monday afternoon after riot police moved in.

Public anger surged as Internet users circulated photos and videos of riot police using tear gas and batons to end the protests. Some Internet users said one protester had died.

FRANCE

Police search Sarkozy’s home, offices

PARIS — French investigators searched former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s home and office Tuesday as part of a probe into suspected illegal financing of his 2007 presidential campaign by the L’Oreal cosmetics heiress, an official said.

Potential legal troubles have threatened Mr. Sarkozy since he lost the presidency to Socialist Francois Hollande in May elections. Mr. Sarkozy, who lost his immunity from prosecution June 15, has denied any wrongdoing.

Judge Jean-Michel Gentil and other investigators from the Paris financial crimes unit conducted Tuesday’s search of Mr. Sarkozy’s home and offices, the official said. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to be publicly named discussing an ongoing investigation.

Messages left with Mr. Sarkozy’s staff were not immediately returned.

The probe centers on the finances of France’s richest woman, L’Oreal cosmetics heiress Liliane Bettencourt.

A long-running family feud over her fortune ballooned in 2010 into a multilayered investigation and political affair. Allegations emerged that Mrs. Bettencourt provided illegal campaign cash to Mr. Sarkozy’s party during the 2007 campaign. Mr. Sarkozy has vigorously denied the claims.

MYANMAR

Myanmar frees political prisoners

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