Death penalty for bad food
The country’s top court has ordered capital punishment for food safety crimes that result in fatalities, as the nation battles a wave of scares over tainted foodstuffs. In a notice on Friday, the Supreme People’s Court urged harsher penalties for manufacturers who produce tainted foodstuffs and for food inspectors convicted of dereliction of duty. The order was issued after the country eliminated capital punishment for some economic crimes in February, as it moved to curb the use of the death penalty in a nation believed to execute more people than the rest of the world combined. However, a wave of food scares seems to have prompted the harsher penalties as safety problems continue despite government promises to clean up the food industry following a deadly 2008 milk scandal.
Radioactive fish found
A small amount of radioactive iodine-131 has been found in a sample of fish taken from a wholesale market, the government said on Friday. The territory has been monitoring radiation levels in the city’s food and water supply and atmosphere in the wake of the crisis at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power station. The level of radiation found in the sample of grey mullet by the territory’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department — 7.7 becquerels per kilogram — was well below the government guideline of 100 becquerels per kilogram.
Police rescue child slaves
Police say they have rescued 116 children who were forced into child labor in the country’s Volta Lake area. Human Trafficking Unit leader Superintendent Patience Quaye said on Friday that police found parents in fishing communities who had sold children as young as four years old for sums as low as 150 cedis — about US$100. Quaye says child labor is a widespread problem in the West African nation. She says police rescued 284 children in a similar operation last year. Interpol, which worked with police, said the operation earlier this month led to 28 arrests and convictions. Interpol also said they conducted a separate operation in the capital, Accra, that rescued 29 minors who had been trafficked into the sex industry.
Hutu militia leader arrested
The suspected leader of an extremist Hutu militia was arrested after years on the run, an official said on Friday. Bernard Munyagishari was wanted on charges of genocide and other crimes. North Kivu governor Julien Paluku said Munyagishari was arrested and taken to Kinshasa. The prosecutor of the Tanzania-based UN court for Rwanda’s 1994 genocide says he will be brought for trial. Munyagishari is alleged to have led the Interahamwe militia that committed mass rapes and killings of Tutsis in western Rwanda.
Free dolphins, group says
An animal welfare group on Friday launched a campaign to urge a casino and leisure complex to free 25 dolphins destined for a new marine park attraction. Resorts World Sentosa bought the mammals for an “interactive dolphin spa program” at its Marine Life Park attraction, where visitors can interact with the animals. “We hope that RWS will make a socially responsible decision and free the dolphins,” said Louis Ng, executive director of the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society.
Pentagon papers released
Forty years after they hit front pages, the Pentagon Papers will be released by the government next month. However, 11 words of the finally declassified history of the nation’s involvement in Vietnam will remain secret. The National Declassification Center will only say that the 11 words are all on one of the work’s 7,000 pages. Set for the week of June 13, the hard copy and online release comes 40 years after excerpts from the study first appeared in the New York Times. The resulting public uproar led to a major legal victory for press freedom when the Supreme Court upheld the right of newspapers to publish the papers.