Two in milk scandal sentenced to death

FRIDAY, JAN. 23, 2009

A court on Thursday sentenced two men to death for their roles in a deadly contaminated-milk scandal that embarrassed the Chinese government and prompted hundreds of families to sue for compensation. The woman in charge of the dairy company at the heart of the crisis was sentenced to life in prison.

The punishments were the first meted out in the scandal, which broke in September. At least six children died and 300,000 were sickened by infant formula tainted with the industrial chemical melamine.

The Intermediate People’s Court in Shijiazhuang, where the dairy company is based, announced two other life terms and a suspended death sentence that is expected to be commuted to life imprisonment.

Tian Wenhua, 66, the chairwoman of the now bankrupt Sanlu Group, was the highest-ranking executive charged in the scandal. She pleaded guilty to charges of producing and selling fake goods.

The death sentences were given to Zhang Yujun, 40, for harming public security by operating an underground melamine workshop, and Geng Jinping, who ran a milk collection center and was convicted of producing and selling poisoned food.


Satellite to monitor greenhouse gas

Japan’s space agency has launched a domestically made rocket carrying the world’s first greenhouse-gas monitoring satellite.

The H2A rocket took off today from the space center on Tanegashima, a remote island in southern Japan. The launch – the 15th for an H2A – had been delayed for several days because of bad weather.

Nashville, Tenn.

Voters reject ‘English First’ bid

Nashville voters rejected a proposal on Thursday that would have made it the largest U.S. city to require all government business be done in English.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, unofficial results showed the “English First” proposal was defeated on a vote of 41,752 to 32,144. Proponents said using one language would have united the city and saved money, but business leaders, academics and the city’s mayor worried it could give the city a bad reputation. Similar measures have passed elsewhere.

It wasn’t clear exactly how much translation would have been silenced had the measure passed. While it called for all government communication and publications to be printed in English, it would have allowed an exception for public health and safety.

From wire reports

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