International News

CHINA

Consumer complaints disclosed 10 months later

China’s biggest dairy producer, Sanlu Group, received complaints from its consumers as early as December 2007, but failed to recall its powdered milk until 10 months later in September.

A publicized government report is the most recent evidence of Sanlu Group repeatedly hiding information about its milk, which was tainted by melamine, a chemical compound used to produce plastics and fertilizer.

The contaminated dairy product has already sickened more than 53,000 infants and killed three, and it has caused the recall of dairy products nationwide and through parts of Asia, ultimately harming the reputation of all Chinese food production.

Since the initial reports of the recalled milk have spread, parents have been rushing children to hospitals, and grocery stores have halted the retail of all dairy products.

As of Tuesday, melamine had been detected in 21 additional brands of dairy products, and the Chinese government announced that more than 7,000 tons of dairy had been taken off of store shelves.

AFRICA

Hookworm infection causes anemia in pregnant women

Millions of pregnant sub-Saharan African women have been infected with hookworm, the parasite that causes anemia.

It was determined, via a survey, that 7 million, almost one-third of all pregnant women, were in danger of contracting anemia, defined as a low red-blood cell count, which is a major cause of death among mothers during pregnancy and of infants after birth.

World health authorities are uncertain of hookworms’ role in causing the actual deaths, and are hesitant to make a de-worming drug to distribute amongst the women, fearing that it may negatively affect the fetuses.

Through taking iron supplements and using mosquito nets, women can successfully avoid contracting anemia in the first place, but medical authors think that no drug will help the already-infected pregnant women.

JAPAN

Country names new prime minister

Japan has named its fourth prime minister in the span of two years.

Taro Aso, 68, of the Liberal Democrat party, was officially appointed as the prime minister by the lower house of the Japanese Parliament last Wednesday.

The prime minister said that his main goal for Japan was to revive the economy. He has also promised to renew a naval refueling mission in support of the American war against Afganistan, which is unpopular amongst the Japanese public.

Whether or not Aso decides to call a general election by September will determine the popularity and longevity of his administration. The Liberal Democrats’ popularity has declined in past years as a result of mismanagement and scandal.

All information gathered from The New York Times