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Deaths of Billionaire Toronto Couple Were Homicides, Police Say

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, New York Times

Deaths of Billionaire Toronto Couple Were Homicides, Police Say

The mysterious double deaths of a billionaire generic drug magnate and his philanthropist wife grew stranger still on Friday. Six weeks after the bodies of Barry and Honey Sherman were found hanging in the basement of their mansion, Toronto police confirmed what the couple’s friends and family have maintained all along — that they died in a murder, not a murder-suicide. Police found the couple’s bodies hanging from belts tied to a railing on the deck of their indoor pool Dec. 15, Detective Sgt. Susan Gomes, said at a news conference. But instead of holding to the theory casting the deaths as a murder-suicide police now believe the deaths were a double homicide.

Saudi Arabia Frees Media Mogul, but His Company’s Fate Remains a Mystery

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia has long admired MBC, the media giant of the Arab world. Two years ago, he began negotiations to buy it, but in November, the company’s Saudi owners and most of its board members were summoned to Riyadh, the capital, arrested, accused of corruption and locked in the Ritz-Carlton hotel. On Friday, the company’s chief owner, Waleed al-Ibrahim, was released after 83 days, according to a memo to MBC staff members seen by The New York Times. It is unclear what sort of accommodation brought about his release, including whether he surrendered any MBC assets or management control.

Julian Assange Asks UK Court to Drop His Arrest Warrant

Lawyers for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange asked a British judge Friday to drop a 2012 arrest warrant. If granted, Assange could leave the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he has been living for 5 1/2 years, and to fly to Ecuador, which has granted him citizenship. Assange, 46, was ordered extradited to Sweden in February 2011 to face a charge of rape, which he denied. After his challenges to the extradition order were refused, he skipped bail and fled to the embassy. Sweden dropped the rape inquiry in May and withdrew the arrest warrant. But British authorities insist Assange could still be arrested, for bail violations if he leaves the embassy.

Women Outnumber Men in Oxford’s Newest Class. It Only Took 1,000 Years.

For the first time in the near millennium of Oxford University’s existence, incoming female students this year outnumber their male peers. According to data released by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, 1,070 women won undergraduate places to start at Oxford last fall, compared with 1,025 men. In historic terms, the small, numeric difference is less an advance than a catching up. Education experts welcomed the news. Oxford itself gave the enrollment news a cautious welcome, saying in a statement that it “can’t say for certain whether this is the first time in history that Oxford has let in more women than men.”

Exploited and Extorted, 30 Africans Drown While Trying to Return Home From Yemen

At least 30 African migrants and refugees drowned off Yemen this week after their overcrowded vessel capsized during a clash with smugglers trying to extort them for more money, the U.N. said Friday. The drowning,in the Gulf of Aden, punctuated the lethal hazards facing migrants and refugees in an insecure part of the world. The victims, Somalis and Ethiopians who originally sought temporary refuge in Yemen, were en route back toward their home countries. "These migrants, as far as we can tell, are folks who have been in limbo inside Yemen for some time,” said Joel A. Millman, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, a U.N. agency.

Deadly Fire Undermines South Korean Leader’s Vow to Make Country Safer

When President Moon Jae-in took power in South Korea in May, he vowed to make his disaster-prone country a safer place. But skepticism over his ability to deliver has deepened with a string of tragedies in recent weeks, including a hospital fire that killed dozens of people Friday. The fire that engulfed Sejong Hospital in Miryang was the deadliest fire in South Korea in a decade. It also came barely a month after another fire killed 29 people. Both accidents revealed deep flaws in the country’s safety standards, problems that are likely to further erode public confidence in Moon’s ability to deliver his campaign promises.

Italian Student in Cairo Was Murdered Over His Research, Prosecutor Says

An Italian doctoral student brutally killed in Cairo had been in the cross hairs of Egyptian surveillance services until the day of his disappearance, and he was murdered over research he had been carrying out into Egypt’s independent labor unions, a senior Italian prosecutor said. The remarks Thursday by Rome’s chief prosecutor, Giuseppe Pignatone, came as Italians marked the second anniversary of the disappearance of Giulio Regeni. He vanished on Jan. 25, 2016, and his body was found on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital nine days later bearing unmistakable signs of torture. Egyptian officials have repeatedly denied having had any hand in Regeni's death.

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