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In brief: Bootleg liquor kills 80, sickens more

Kolkata, India – A tainted batch of bootleg liquor killed at least 80 people and sent dozens more to the hospital in villages outside the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, officials said.

Day laborers and other poor workers began falling ill late Tuesday after drinking the brew that was laced with the toxic methanol in the Sangrampur area, about 20 miles south of Kolkata, according to district magistrate Narayan Swarup Nigam.

By today, the death toll had skyrocketed to at least 80, and 74 others remained hospitalized, he said.

Police official Surajit Kar Purkayastha said four people have been arrested in connection with making and distributing the toxic booze.

Damages sought in Chevron oil spill

Sao Paulo, Brazil – Brazilian federal prosecutors said Wednesday they are seeking $10.6 billion in damages from U.S.-based Chevron Corp. because of environmental harm caused by an offshore oil leak.

The prosecutors are also asking a judge to order Chevron and Transocean Ltd., the drilling contractor for the well where the leak occurred in November, to halt all activities in Brazilian territory for an indefinite period.

“During an investigation, the attorney general’s office found that Chevron and Transocean were not capable of controlling the damage caused by the spill of nearly 3,000 barrels of oil, proof of a lack of environmental planning and management by the companies,” the statement read.

Chevron, in an emailed statement, said that it had received no notice of the action by the federal prosecutors and that Brazilian oil regulators had not contacted it about the issue.

“From the outset, Chevron responded responsibly to the incident at its Frade Field and has dealt transparently with all Brazilian authorities,” the company said.


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