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Chatter: Olympic hero turns murder suspect

South Africa's own "Blade Runner" is arrested for alleged murder, the euro zone gets serious with recession, two of the world's top airlines pair up, and we bring you Valentines from around the world.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
           

                      

   

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NEED TO KNOW

An Olympic-sized upset in South Africa, where sprinter Oscar Pistorius has been arrested on suspicion of shooting dead his girlfriend. Police confirm only that model Reeva Steenkamp was found fatally wounded at the athlete's home in Pretoria early this morning, a gun was recovered at the scene and a 26-year-old man taken into custody – but local media are in no doubt that that man is, indeed, South Africa's own "Blade Runner."

Early reports claimed that Pistorius, who made history last summer by becoming the first amputee ever to race able-bodied Olympic sprinters, mistook his girlfriend for an intruder – though police are treating the case as murder. We'll know more when the suspect appears in court later today; GlobalPost's Erin Conway-Smith will be following all the latest developments.

The euro zone is going steady with recession. New figures show that the combined economy of the 17 nations using the euro shrank by 0.6 percent in the last three months of 2012, the sharpest quarterly contraction in more than three years. Even France and Germany's GDP fell far below forecasts.

Analysts described the numbers by their technical term: "Horrible." With hard-up Europeans so desperate they're self-immolating, we can't help but agree.

Welcome aboard the world's largest airline. American Airlines and US Airways are expected to announce their long-awaited merger today, after their respective boards reportedly gave final approval last night.

The $11-billion deal will create a super-sized carrier out of bankrupt American and its suitor US. But will it also super-size air fares?

WANT TO KNOW

We knew there was a good reason we didn't want to eat horsemeat. Delicate sensibilities aside, it turns out the dear gee-gees may have been treated with a potentially harmful veterinary drug before they ended up on plates all over Europe. The British government says at least three horse carcasses that tested positive for the equine painkiller bute are known to have entered the human food chain in France.

The EU yesterday ordered all its members to conduct randomized DNA analysis of anything claiming to be processed beef for the next three months. To judge by these latest findings, we'd second that.

Happy Valentine's Day, if you like that sort of thing. We fully understand if you're sick of the tenuous tie-ins (so commercial!), the ubiquitous roses (so cliché!) and the ostentatious PDAs (so gross!), but allow us to restore your faith in romance with our tales of true love from across the globe.

Courageous commandos protecting young lovers from parental disapproval in India? Right here. A couple refusing to let HIV tear them apart in Nigeria? You betcha. Today like every other day, love makes the world go round.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

Just call Iceland Don Quixote. The island's government is contemplating an attempt to ban extreme internet porn, on the grounds that it harms young people and can be linked to violent crime. Ideas mooted for achieving this Herculean feat include preventing Icelandic credit cards from being used on pornography websites and blocking the IP addresses of sites hosting the offending content.

Cynics might say you may as well try and ban cat videos; but it's Valentine's Day, so we'll just wish Iceland good luck.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-olympic-hero-turns-murder-suspect

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