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Forensic expert questions Briton’s cause of death

BEIJING — A Chinese government forensic scientist is questioning the cause of death of a slain British businessman, casting doubt on the official version of a scandal that reached into the upper levels of the Communist Party.

Wang Xuemei, who is with the government’s top prosecutors’ office, said Thursday the conclusion reached by Chinese authorities that Neil Heywood died from cyanide poisoning lacks sufficient evidence.

Heywood’s murder is the centerpiece of a scandal that has seen Chinese politician Bo Xilai ousted from the leadership.

Mr. Bo’s wife was given a suspended death sentence last month after confessing to murdering Heywood over a business dispute by pouring cyanide into his mouth.

Mr. Wang told the Associated Press that the official account of Mr. Bo’s wife’s description of the killing lacks details to prove Heywood died from cyanide poisoning.


Couple charged as Russian spies

BERLIN — Two Russians alleged to have been operating in Germany for more than 20 years have been charged with espionage, federal prosecutors said Thursday, in the first case of its kind since German reunification in 1990.

The man and the woman, who German media said are married, were arrested in October 2011, after police raided their home in the western town of Ballingen, reportedly catching the woman red-handed listening to coded messages.

The federal prosecutor’s office identified the two suspects only by their “aliases,” Andreas and Heidrun A.

It said they had established residency in Germany in 1988 using fake Austrian documentation.

“The accused had the task of gathering information about the political and military strategy of the EU and NATO,” the prosecutor’s office said.

They are accused of running another agent from October 2008 to August 2011 who stole official documents about European Union and NATO affairs from the Dutch Foreign Ministry.

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