Three detained over China chemical blast that killed 78

The company was established in 2007 and produces raw chemicals, including a highly flammable compound. (AFP/File)
Updated 03 April 2019

Three detained over China chemical blast that killed 78

  • The incident is one of the country’s worst industrial accidents in recent years
  • Local officials announced on twitter that three employees were “significantly responsible”

BEIJING: Police have detained three suspects linked to a chemical plant blast in China, which killed 78 people and left hundreds injured, local officials said Wednesday.
The explosion last month in Yancheng city, in eastern Jiangsu province, was one of the worst industrial accidents in the country in recent years.
Three employees from Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical, whose facility was involved in the blast, had “significant responsibility” for the accident, according to a statement on the Yancheng government’s official Twitter-like Weibo account.
Officials said the suspects have been subjected to “criminal coercive measures” — a vague term which indicates detention, arrest or being put under house arrest temporarily until police complete their investigations, according to an explanation on the Chinese parliament’s website.
Yancheng police declined to offer details on the case when contacted by AFP.
The blast razed an industrial park and blew out the windows of surrounding homes.
The company, with 195 employees, was established in 2007 and mainly produces raw chemical materials including anisole, a highly flammable compound.
It has a history of violating environmental regulations, according to online records from Yancheng city’s environment and ecology bureau.
In 2015 and 2017, the firm was fined for breaking rules on solid and water waste management.
Deadly industrial accidents are common in China, where safety regulations are often poorly enforced.
In November, a gas leak at a plant in the northern Chinese city of Zhangjiakou — which will host the 2022 Winter Olympics — killed 24 people and injured 21 others.
In 2015, China saw one of its worst industrial accidents when giant chemical blasts in the northern port city of Tianjin killed at least 165 people.


UN adopts new voting procedure during COVID-19 pandemic

Updated 29 min 25 sec ago

UN adopts new voting procedure during COVID-19 pandemic

  • Ambassadors from the 193 U.N. member nations will cast secret ballots at a designated venue during spaced-out time slots
  • The Security Council has five permanent members — the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France — and 10 elected members

UNITED NATIONS: The U.N. General Assembly adopted a new voting procedure Friday for the upcoming election of new members of the Security Council aimed at preventing a large gathering and ensuring social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead of meeting in the horseshoe-shaped assembly chamber at U.N. headquarters overlooking New York’s East River, ambassadors from the 193 U.N. member nations will cast secret ballots at a designated venue during spaced-out time slots.
And they will be voting not only for five non-permanent members of the Security Council to serve two-year terms but for 18 new members of the 54-nation Economic and Social Council to serve three-year terms.
According to the new procedure, the president of the General Assembly will send a letter to all member states at least 10 working days before the first round of secret balloting for the two elections to inform them of the date, venue where ballots should be cast, and other relevant information.
The Security Council election had been scheduled for June 17, but it’s unclear whether that will remain the date.
The Security Council has five permanent members — the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France — and 10 members elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms. Five countries are elected every year.
The council is the U.N.’s most powerful body and winning a seat is a pinnacle of achievement for many countries because it gives them a strong voice on issues of international peace and security ranging from conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Ukraine to the nuclear threat posed by North Korea and Iran, and attacks by extremist groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qaida.
This year seven countries are vying for five seats, and there are two hotly contested races.
In the group of Western nation, Canada, Ireland and Norway are battling for two seats, and in Africa, Kenya and Djibouti are competing for one seat. India is running unopposed for the Asia-Pacific seat and Mexico is running unopposed for the seat for Latin America and the Caribbean.