- The Washington Times - Friday, September 11, 2009

CHINA

Parents of sickened children detained

BEIJING | Chinese police tried to prevent parents of children sickened by tainted milk powder from traveling to Beijing to mark the anniversary of last year’s scandal, activists said Thursday.

Milk powder contaminated with an industrial chemical killed at least six babies and sickened nearly 300,000 others with painful kidney stones - making it one of China’s worst food safety scandals.

Liu Hai, whose two children developed kidney stones, said he was detained by police Wednesday in Kunshan city in Jiangsu province while waiting for a train to attend a small commemoration in Beijing on Friday. The police told him they had to stop him because he was headed to an “illegal gathering,” Mr. Liu said.

An official at the Kunshan police propaganda department who refused to give his name said he had no information about the case.

Zhao Lianhai, the father of another sickened child, said Beijing’s public security bureau on Thursday issued a letter saying the anniversary event had been approved but that he knew of other parents who had been warned not to attend.

VIETNAM

Task force to study Agent Orange effects

HANOI | U.S. and Vietnamese experts will jointly study the impact of the wartime herbicide Agent Orange on the health of people living in three major “hot spots,” officials said Thursday.

The task force will collect information on “the negative impact” of the carcinogen dioxin, contained in Agent Orange, on people living around former U.S. air bases in Danang, Bien Hoa and Phu Cat, said Le Ke Son, co-chair of the Joint Advisory Committee.

During the Vietnam War, U.S. forces stored Agent Orange at the bases and loaded it onto airplanes for defoliation missions.

Vietnam has blamed dioxin for a spate of birth deformities and says about three million of its citizens are victims of herbicides sprayed by U.S. forces.

The U.S. has said there has been no internationally accepted scientific study establishing a link between Agent Orange and Vietnam’s disabled and deformed.

NEPAL

Foreign adoptions allowed to resume

KATMANDU | Three U.S. couples on Thursday became the first to take Nepalese children since the Himalayan nation ended a two-year suspension of international adoption.

The mountainous country imposed the hold amid criticism that some children were essentially being sold, leaving the process in limbo for hundreds of foreign families.

The Maoist-led government last year allowed 63 foreign agencies to start work as “intermediaries” between potential adopting families and the Nepali authorities.

The three couples who were the first to adopt under the resumed process are each taking Nepali girls.

“We are very excited,” said Kyla Blanchard-Romanach, a lawyer from Baton Rouge, La., pressing her two-year-old adopted daughter to her chest.

“We are blessed,” said her husband Carlos, 47, also a lawyer.

Families from the United States and Western Europe are increasingly interested in adopting Nepali babies. More than 2,200 had been adopted until 2007.

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