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BEIJING | Twenty-four children have been hospitalized with lead poisoning caused by an illegal battery factory in their village in eastern China, state media said Thursday in the latest in a string of battery-related poisonings in recent years.

The official Xinhua News Agency said local authorities shut down the Borui Battery Co. Ltd. and another battery factory it did not name in Anhui province’s Huaining county after tests found that at least 200 local children had elevated lead levels, with 24 between the ages of 9 months and 16 years requiring hospitalization.

Borui had failed to pass necessary environmental checks and was operating illegally, Xinhua said.

It said both factories were just across the street from a residential area despite regulations that battery plants must be at least 1,600 feet away.

SOUTH KOREA

Police say Google collects personal info

SEOUL | Google Inc. collected e-mails and other personal information from unsecured wireless networks in South Korea while taking photographs for its Street View mapping service, police said Thursday.

In May, the Internet search giant announced it inadvertently had collected fragments of people’s online activities from unsecured Wi-Fi networks in more than 30 countries, prompting investigations around the globe.

Google accessed private data as its cars took photos of neighborhoods in Seoul and three other major cities in South Korea between October 2009 and May 2010, said Jung Suk-hwa, a police officer in charge of the investigation.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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