News in Brief: Union Carbide Officials Sentenced to Prison in Bhupol and More

Wednesday, 09 June 2010 12:17 By Mike Ludwig, t r u t h o u t | News in Brief | name.

A court in Bhupol, India sentenced seven Union Carbide officials to two years in prison for criminal negligence surrounding a 1984 pesticide plant leak that killed 3,500 people instantly and thousands more months later. The seven officials were later released on bail. The Union Carbide disaster was considered one of the worst and deadliest is modern times. Environmental Minister Jairam Ramesh told the Hindustan Times that 325 tons of toxic waste remains at from the site awaiting clean up, and that his agency would focus on strict implementation of environmental laws to prevent further disasters.

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A natural gas pipeline in the Texas panhandle exploded Tuesday and killed two people and injured three, according to an Associated Press report. The workers were moving clay when a bulldozer struck the pipe. The tragedy came just a day after another gas pipeline in northern Texas killed at least three.

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Scientists at the University of South Florida have confirmed that massive underwater plumes of oil are spreading at least 40 miles from the leaking Deepwater Horizon undersea well. Researchers and observers have known about the plumes for weeks, but researchers said BP withheld samples necessary to fully understand the scope and potential environmental effects of the plumes. BP denies refusing to make samples available to researchers. The massive clouds are comprised of microscopic oil particles breaking down as a result of bacteria, extreme pressure and the chemical dispersants sprayed across the surface oil slick.

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Residents of Taiyun City, in China's Shanxi Province were beaten and pepper sprayed by police after protesting against a local Communist Party chief who they say stole their land and main source of income. The villagers said chief Ma Jincai expropriated their land with promises to build homes for the residents, but later denied them access to the new buildings. After an unsuccessful attempt at negotiation with the village commissioner, district riot police arrived and began attacking the 1,000 villagers who had taken the streets in protest of the injustice. The local communist government has blocked information about the incident, but an online statement from villagers claims Jincai owns several expensive cars and is estimated to own up to $50 million in assets.

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Senior Italian police officers were handed prison sentences Tuesday for their roles in a violent, midnight raid on an anti-globalization activist center during the July 2001 protests against the G8 summit in Genoa, Italy. Police planted Molotov cocktails and staged a knife assault to justify raiding the center with 150 riot police and attacking those inside while destroying property and potential evidence. Police claimed the center, which houses independent media outlets and international protest groups, was hosting members of the Black Bloc anarchist factions involved in street violence during the protests, but none of the 28 victims of police brutality were connected to violent actions. A statute of limitations may prevent the top officers from serving time, but they will probably lose their jobs.

Mike Ludwig

Mike Ludwig is a Truthout Fellow.

Last modified on Wednesday, 09 June 2010 13:54