Top 3 diamonds fetch $24.1M at

Sotheby’s auction in Geneva

GENEVA (AP) — Sotheby’s says two white diamond rings have sold for a combined $17.4 million at a Geneva auction, while a blue diamond given to the queen of Spain over three centuries ago brought over $6.7 million.

All three topped pre-sale estimates Tuesday. None of the buyers were identified by name.

The Farnese Blue is a 6.16-carat, pear-shaped blue diamond given in 1715 to Elisabeth Farnese, wife of King Philip V of Spain. It appeared at auction for the first time after being passed down through royal families in Spain, France, Italy and Austria. It had been expected to fetch $3.7 million-$5.3 million.

Sotheby’s spring sale also included two D-color white diamonds discovered in Botswana. A 51.7-carat round-cut diamond ring sold for $9.2 million. A 50.4-carat oval-cut diamond went for $8.1 million.

Merkel allies in Bavaria push

through tough policing law

BERLIN (AP) — Bavaria’s governing party has pushed through a law that significantly expands police powers in the southern German state, even as critics warn it puts civil liberties at risk.

The center-right Christian Social Union used its majority in the state assembly to pass the bill late Tuesday.

The party, which is part of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Union bloc, is trying to bolster its law-and-order image ahead of state elections in the fall.

The new law allows police to take preventive measures — including targeted surveillance — if they believe there is a “threat” of a crime occurring. Police will also get expanded authority to use DNA evidence.

The non-governmental group Society for Civil Rights warned the law would remove many of the checks that exist on police powers.