- The Washington Times - Monday, September 21, 2009

GERMANY

Therapy session ends in 2 deaths

BERLIN | A doctor leading a group therapy session gave participants drugs and other substances that killed two and left 10 hospitalized, Berlin police said Sunday. One person was left comatose and in critical condition.

The doctor who led the session has acknowledged giving the participants substances and drugs during the meeting, Martin Steltner, a spokesman for the Berlin prosecutor’s office, told the Associated Press on Sunday. It was not clear whether illegal drugs were given and whether the substances were injected or taken orally.

A police statement said autopsies have been carried out on the two dead people, but “the chemical-toxicological investigation will take a while.”

Police said the session took place in a house and medical practice in the leafy Hermsdorf neighborhood in the north of Berlin. The 50-year-old doctor who worked there was detained and a homicide division was investigating the case, police said.

BRITAIN

Oil company settles lawsuit

LONDON | Oil-trading company Trafigura said Sunday that it has agreed to a settlement with people who claim they fell ill after a tanker dumped hundreds of tons of waste around the Ivory Coast’s main city of Abidjan.

A spokeswoman for Trafigura Beheer BV said the company will pay $1,546 per person but denied that the toxic waste has caused serious harm. She spoke anonymously in line with company policy. Trafigura would not comment on how many people it will pay, but British law firm Leigh Day, which brought the lawsuit, has said the case involves 30,000 people.

Trafigura said in a statement that the waste from the tanker Probo Koala could have caused “low level flulike symptoms and anxiety.” It said there was no evidence the waste caused deaths, miscarriages, stillbirths, birth defects or other serious conditions.

Trafigura insists the waste was not toxic but had a mix of gasoline residues, water and caustic sodas used for cleaning.

Several thousand people sought medical treatment after waste from a tanker chartered by Trafigura was offloaded at several sites around Abidjan in August 2006.

SWITZERLAND

Ministry sizes up Gitmo detainees

BERN | The Swiss Justice Ministry says officials visited the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, last month to gather information on inmates the Alpine country is considering taking in when they are released.

Ministry spokesman Guido Balmer on Sunday declined to confirm a report in Zurich weekly SonntagsZeitung that the four inmates in question were two Chinese Muslims - or Uighurs - an Uzbek national and a Palestinian.

Switzerland is among a number of European countries including Ireland, Portugal, France and Germany that have indicated they might be willing to take in released prisoners who are unable to return to their homeland for fear of persecution.

President Obama has pledged to close the detention center, which still houses more than 200 inmates.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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