World and Nation

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Larry Ellison steps down as chief of Oracle

SAN FRANCISCO — Lawrence J. Ellison is retiring as chief executive of Oracle Corp., a company he founded in 1977 that has transformed the business world and made him one of the world’s richest people.

His departure, announced on Thursday, is one of the last exits of the tech industry’s first generation of celebrity executives, who took computers from the back offices of a few big institutions and into the mainstream of everyday life.

Ellison, who turned 70 last month, said he was leaving as a normal part of succession planning. Ellison will become executive chairman, and will continue to work on Oracle’s technology, the company said in a statement announcing the move.

Oracle’s software and hardware is involved with the ways that companies and large organizations store and manage their data, as well as sophisticated applications for running things like international manufacture, nationwide retail and corporate financial systems.

On Thursday Oracle reported first-quarter revenue of $8.6 billion and net income of $2.2 billion, or 48 cents a share. In the previous fiscal year, the company had total revenue of $38 billion and net income of almost $11 billion.

Using nonstandard accounting, analysts expected earnings per share to be 64 cents, according to Thomson Reuters. By that accounting, Oracle’s earnings were 62 cents per share, missing expectations by 2 cents.

Shares of Oracle were down more than 2 percent in early after-hours trading.

During the last several years Oracle has struggled to build a cloud computing business, spending billions to acquire younger companies. New types of databases also threaten the sole dominance of the relational database.

—Quentin Hardy, The New York Times

Online renegade, wanted in US, shakes up New Zealand election

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — It was not an ordinary political rally, but it has been anything but an ordinary election.

The hundreds of people who packed Auckland Town Hall on a recent evening were regaled by speeches by Glenn Greenwald, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist; Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder; and Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, the last two appearing by Internet video link. Greenwald and Snowden said the New Zealand government had carried out, or at least participated in, mass domestic surveillance.

But at the center of the show was the event’s organizer, Kim Dotcom, an Internet entrepreneur accused of mass copyright theft whose fledgling Internet Party stands a chance at winning seats in Parliament in the national elections on Saturday.

“We are going to work really, really hard to stop this country from participating in mass surveillance,” Dotcom told the crowd. “And we’ll close one of the Five Eyes,” he added, referring to the intelligence alliance that consists of Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. The crowd erupted in cheers.

In this Pacific island country, this election campaign has been rocked by a scandal involving the hacked emails of a right-wing blogger that led to the resignation of a senior minister, a campaign finance scandal that forced the resignation of a member of Parliament, and a lawsuit brought by the publishers of the American rapper Eminem accusing the governing National Party of illegally using his song “Lose Yourself” in a campaign ad. (The party denies the allegation.)

The issue that has drawn international attention, however, has been Dotcom himself, who has become an outspoken character and a significant player in New Zealand politics since he moved here several years ago.

Born Kim Schmitz in Germany before legally changing his name, Dotcom, 40, is fighting extradition to the United States, where he is wanted on racketeering charges stemming from his file-sharing site Megaupload, now defunct.

—Jonathan Hutchison, The New York Times

Florida man fatally shoots daughter and 6 grandchildren

A grandfather shot and killed his daughter and her six young children before killing himself at his home in north-central Florida on Thursday, authorities said.

The man, identified as Don Charles Spirit, 62, called the police around 4 p.m., and indicated that he planned to harm himself and others, Sheriff Robert Schultz of Gilchrist County said in an evening news conference.

“It was enough to alarm us to get there, and we needed to get there in a hurry,” he said.

But it was too late. After exchanging words with a deputy at the scene, Spirit killed himself, Schultz said.

Inside the home, police officers discovered the bodies of Spirit, his daughter and her six children, who ranged in age from 3 months to 10 years. The authorities did not identify the victims on Thursday.

Schultz said that Spirit had a criminal history, and that deputies had been called to the home for “a wide range of things.”

Spirit’s previous brushes with law enforcement included pleading guilty to a felony firearms violation in 2003, after he accidentally shot and killed his 8-year-old son during a hunting expedition in 2001, according to The Orlando Sentinel. He was sentenced to three years in prison. The report said he had been convicted of felony possession of marijuana in 1998, and had not gone through the process of having his gun rights restored. Florida law makes it illegal for convicted felons to own guns.

The shooting on Thursday occurred in Bell, a rural town about 30 miles west of Gainesville, Florida, in the northern part of Gilchrist County.

—Ashley Southall, The New York Times