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Archive for Saturday, January 3, 2004

Briefly

January 3, 2004

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Brazil

Police begin screening American visitors

Federal Police in Brazil on Friday ordered immigration authorities to begin fingerprinting and photographing American tourists as they arrive at airports, cruise ship terminals and land borders.

The decision was in response to a similar move by the United States. On Monday, a rule takes effect across 115 U.S. airports that will require most visiting tourists, including those from Brazil, to have their photographs and fingerprints logged digitally as they clear immigration procedures.

Brazil's reaction is one more sign of deteriorating relations between the United States and Latin America's most populous nation.

Federal Judge Julier Sebastiao da Silva on Monday ordered immediate reciprocal treatment for Americans.

Beijing

Negligence blamed for deadly gas blowout

China blamed negligent gas well workers Friday for an accident that spewed toxic fumes over mountain villages and killed 233 people -- an unusually swift finding that highlights the government's increasing insistence on accountability.

State television said in its national evening newscast that investigators had concluded their probe into the Dec. 23 natural gas disaster in southwestern China and that those at fault would be punished.

Sun Huashan, deputy director of the State Administration for Work Safety, listed a series of errors that allowed a poisonous mix of natural gas and hydrogen sulfide to gush from the state-owned gas well northeast of the city of Chongqing, killing villagers in a 10-square-mile "death zone" as they slept or tried to flee.

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