Thu, May 24, 2012 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

UNITED KINGDOM

Sweaty brokers more ethical

If you want to know how ethical your broker is, give them a moral dilemma and see how much they sweat before deciding what to do. It is quite a jump from the laboratory to real-world decisions about asset management, but British researchers have found that gut feeling can override rational thought when people are faced with financial offers that look unfair. Even when we could benefit, a physical response like sweating can make people reject a financial proposition they consider to be unjust. The key is how tuned in they are to their own bodies. Researchers gave 51 people a series of offers based on dividing £10 (US$16) between two people. They found that although an offer to split the money 50-50 was mostly accepted, an offer of less than a “fair share” was often rejected, even though rejecting it left them with nothing. The game showed gut reactions, especially made under time pressure with incomplete information, can lead to decisions that are irrational from a purely economic perspective. The researchers measured how much participants sweated and how much their heart rate changed.

GERMANY

Armed schoolboy in standoff

A 14-year-old schoolboy armed with two weapons was locked in a tense standoff with police on Tuesday after firing a shot at his school, authorities said. The boy, who has not been named, has already fired several more shots after being tracked down to a sports ground in the town of Memmingen near Munich. There are no reports of injuries, but the boy has reportedly threatened to take his own life. Police said the shots fired at the sports ground were not deliberately aimed at them. Police negotiators were on the scene, trying to calm the situation and persuade him to give himself up. Media reports said he may have been involved in a dispute with a fellow pupil or a former girlfriend.

LATVIA

Popcorn row shooter jailed

A lawyer who shot another man dead in a Riga cinema over an argument about munching too loudly on popcorn was sentenced to 17 years in prison on Tuesday. Nikolajs Zikovs was convicted of aggravated murder for shooting banker Aigars Egle, who was with his young daughter, after telling the victim to be quiet during a screening of the film Black Swan on Feb. 19 last year. Zikovs, 29, told Riga District Court that he was acting in self-defense when he shot the unarmed Egle three times. Witnesses said Zikovs had himself made several disruptions during the film, then took issue with Egle over how loudly the victim had been eating popcorn, even though the film’s credits were rolling. The killer described himself as a reasonable man and said Egle should have been more polite.

CROATIA

Priest arrested for murder

Police on Tuesday arrested a Catholic priest on suspicion of beating to death a local politician in a row over a cemetery, media reports said. Officials said they had detained a 43-year-old man at a church property in the village of Banici, near the southern Adriatic town of Dubrovnik, where the battered body of a 49-year-old man was found following an attack in the early hours. A police spokeswoman did not elaborate on the identity of the detained man, but national television identified him as priest Ivan Sinanovic and the victim as local town hall head Marko Kraljevic. Local media reported that the alleged murder occurred after a dispute between the priest and the local authority over unauthorized enlargement of the town’s cemetery.

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