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Record Fine For China Factory Over Infamous Songhua Spill

Photo courtecy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Jan 25, 2007
A Chinese factory has been fined a record one million yuan (128,000 dollars) over an infamous toxic spill which cut off water supplies to millions of people and even reached Russia, state media said Thursday. Jilin Petrochemical, a subsidiary of the Petrochina group in the northeastern province of Jilin, was fined the maximum amount allowed by law, the Beijing Morning Post said.

About 100 tonnes of carcinogenic benzene poured into the Songhua river after a huge explosion in November 2005, causing an 80-kilometre (50-mile) slick and raising benzene levels to 108 times national safety levels.

The government only announced the severe damage caused by the pollution 10 days after the November 13 blast , following repeated denials from officials that there had been any major environmental impact.

Millions of residents spent days without water supplies, closing schools and offices and prompting panic buying, with authorities having to truck in water to deal with the emergency.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Flights To Avoid Indonesian Mud Volcano Postponed
Jakarta (AFP) Jan 18, 2007
An Indonesian airline offering short flights to avoid a "mud volcano" that has inundated villages on the island of Java was Thursday forced to suspend its maiden flight due to technical problems, a report said. Sriwijaya Air had to postpone to January 29 the launch of its route between the cities of Malang and Surabaya in East Java, the official Antara news agency said.

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