Briefs, February 15, 2013

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 February, 2013, 4:23am

Tear gas 'may have caused siege blaze'

SAN BERNARDINO - Sheriff's deputies who believed they had cornered a fugitive former police officer in the mountains above Los Angeles did not purposely torch a cabin where a nine-day manhunt ended in a shootout, but may have caused the blaze by firing tear gas, officials said. Christopher Dorner, 33, was wanted in a killing spree targeting law enforcement officers that left four people dead. A man was surrounded inside the cabin in the San Bernardino National Forest. Investigators had not yet formally identified charred remains but they are believed to be those of Dorner. Reuters

Australian-Israeli spy 'denied allegations'

JERUSALEM - An Australian-Israeli citizen who mysteriously died in prison after an apparent career in Israel's spy agency had denied the allegations against him and was considering a plea bargain just before he died, his lawyer said. Avigdor Feldman told Israeli Channel 10 he saw Ben Zygier a day before he allegedly committed suicide. Zygier was rational, Feldman said, adding the two discussed legal options. Feldman said that the allegations against Zygier were serious. On Wednesday, Israel admitted that it held a dual Israeli citizen under a false name for security reasons and that he died in prison in 2010. AP

Approval for world's biggest Ferris wheel

DUBAI - The Dubai ruler approved a US$1.6 billion project that would be home to the world's biggest Ferris wheel. The project reflects a renewed appetite in Dubai for extravagance as the economy rebounds from a debt-driven slump during the past three years. The Ferris wheel - dubbed the Dubai Eye - will stand 210 metres, exceeding the London Eye's 135 metres. AP

Boy, 16, killed in violent protests in Bahrain

MANAMA - A 16-year-old boy was shot and killed near Bahrain's capital as clashes erupted when hundreds took to the streets to mark the second anniversary of a Shiite-led uprising against the kingdom's Sunni rulers. The protests, in Shiite villages, turned violent when police fired guns and tear gas to disperse crowds, wounding several people, witnesses said. AFP

Euthanasia backed for 'exceptional cases'

PARIS - France's medical ethics council said that assisted suicide should be allowed in exceptional cases in a step forward to legalising euthanasia. Invoking a "duty to humanity", the body said this should be permitted upon the "persistent, lucid and repeated requests from someone suffering from an ailment for which the treatment has become ineffective". But the condition will have to be verified by a special medical team. AFP