Three dead in Swiss workplace shooting

Updated 28 February 2013
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Three dead in Swiss workplace shooting

BERLIN: A shooting at a wood-processing company in central Switzerland yesterday left three people dead and seven wounded, some of them seriously, prosecutors said.
The shooting occurred shortly after 9 a.m. at the premises of Kronospan, a company in the small town of Menznau, west of Lucerne.
Three people were killed, among them the suspected assailant, police in Lucerne said in a statement. A further seven were wounded, several of them seriously. Officials gave no further details.
The local Neue Luzerner Zeitung newspaper cited a witness as saying that the shooter opened fire in the company canteen. It was not immediately clear who the shooter was, what the motive might have been or whether the assailant worked for the company.
According to the local town council, Kronospan has some 450 employees.
“At the moment we're all in a state of shock,” Urs Fluder, a manager at Kronospan, told Radio Pilatus, a local station. “We will see that the families are properly informed,” he added.
Gun ownership is widespread in Switzerland, thanks to liberal regulation — a 2012 referendum to tighten controls failed — and a long-standing tradition for men to keep their military rifles after completing compulsory military service.
An estimated 2.3 million firearms are owned by the country's 8 million people.
But gun crime is relatively rare, with just 24 gun killings in 2009, which works out to a rate of about 0.3 per 100,000 inhabitants. The US rate that year was about 11 times higher.
Still, there have been several high-profile incidents over the years, including the killing of 14 people at a city council meeting in Zug, not far from Lucerne, in 2001.
Last month a 33-year-old man killed three women and wounded two men in a southern Swiss village.


First female CIA director Gina Haspel is sworn in

Updated 15 min 4 sec ago
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First female CIA director Gina Haspel is sworn in

  • Gina Haspel was confirmed by the Senate last week in a 54-45 vote, despite the deep reservations of some lawmakers about her past involvement in the torture of terror suspects in the post-9/11 era.
  • Trump paid tribute to Haspel as “a very special person” who was uniquely qualified to lead “the most elite intelligence professionals on the planet Earth.”

WASHINGTON: Veteran CIA officer Gina Haspel was sworn in as the agency’s first female director Monday, hailing the “heroines” who had gone before her and expressing hope she and her team would be “role models.”
The 61-year-old Haspel, a Russia specialist who spent her career in the Central Intelligence Agency’s clandestine service, takes over from Mike Pompeo, whom Trump recently made his secretary of state.
Haspel was confirmed by the Senate last week in a 54-45 vote, despite the deep reservations of some lawmakers about her past involvement in the torture of terror suspects in the post-9/11 era.
“I stand on the shoulders of heroines who never sought public acclaim, but served as inspirations to the generations that came after them,” Haspel said after being sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence and introduced by President Donald Trump.
“I would not be standing before you today if not for the remarkable courage and dedication displayed by generations” of women officers, she said at CIA headquarters in Virginia.
“In roles both large and small,” Haspel said they “challenged stereotypes, broke down barriers and opened doors for the rest of us.”
“I am deeply indebted to them and I am extremely proud to follow in their footsteps and to carry on their extraordinary legacy.”
Haspel added: “I want the current CIA leadership team to be role models and mentors for our next generation of officers.”
She joked about her bruising confirmation hearing, which dug into her work overseeing a secret “black site” prison in Thailand.
It was there that Al-Qaeda suspects Abu Zubaydah and Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri were water-boarded, an interrogation technique subsequently condemned as torture.
“It has been nearly 50 years since an operations officer rose up through the ranks to become the director and after the experience of the last two months, I think I know why that is,” she told officers and invited guests.
In his introductory remarks, Trump paid tribute to Haspel as “a very special person” who was uniquely qualified to lead “the most elite intelligence professionals on the planet Earth.”
“Our enemies will take note: Gina is tough. She is strong. And when it comes to defending America, Gina will never, ever back down,” Trump said.
The president largely avoided the controversies swirling around his presidency, including his allegations, just hours earlier, that former CIA director John Brennan was behind the investigation into his campaign’s dealings.
Trump however angered some former CIA officers with his decision to thank “courageous” Congressman Devin Nunes.
A Trump supporter, Nunes has demanded documents about the investigation into Team Trump, but which the intelligence community says risks exposing sources.
Former intelligence officer David Priess said Trump’s comment about Nunes was “disgusting.”
“I can’t imagine this comment goes over well-but, unlike the president, IC officials are respectful enough not to make a scene,” Priess said.