The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 37.0°F | Fair
Article Tools

An Iraq Watchdog Comes Under Scrutiny

A federal official whose investigations of waste and corruption in Iraq have repeatedly embarrassed the Bush administration is being investigated himself by an oversight committee with close links to the White House and by the ranking Republican on the House Government Reform Committee.

The investigation of the official, Stuart W. Bowen Jr., originated with a complaint put together by roughly half a dozen former employees who appear to have left his office on unhappy terms, said several officials familiar with the case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is still going on.

Both the White House and a spokesman for the Republican congressman, Thomas M. Davis III of Virginia, said Thursday that the investigations were not started in retribution for the work undertaken in Iraq by Bowen, who runs the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

But the investigations are coming to light just a few months after Bowen’s office narrowly escaped what amounted to a termination clause tucked away in a large military authorization bill by staff members of another Republican congressman.

Chinese Detain Vendor of Contaminated Gluten

The general manager of a Chinese company accused of selling contaminated wheat gluten to pet food suppliers in the United States has been detained by Chinese authorities, according to police officials here and a person briefed on the investigation.

The manager, Mao Lijun, head of the Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co., is being held in coastal Jiangsu Province, about 320 miles northwest of Shanghai, but a police spokesman in the area, Pei County, declined to say on what charges.

In a telephone interview a few weeks ago, Mao denied any knowledge of how melamine, an industrial chemical, had been mixed into pet food supplies sold under his company label earlier this year.

But regulators in the United States identified Xuzhou Anying and another Chinese company in nearby Shandong Province as the only sources of the contaminated ingredients that killed 16 dogs and cats, sickened thousands of others and led to one of the biggest pet food recalls in American history.

Climate Panel Reaches Consensus On Need to Reduce Emissions

The world needs to divert substantially from today’s main energy sources within a few decades to limit centuries of rising temperatures and seas driven by the buildup of heat-trapping emissions in the air, the top body studying climate change has concluded.

In an all-night session capping four days of talks in Bangkok, Thailand, economists, scientists and government officials from more than 100 countries agreed early Friday on the last sections of a report outlining ways to limit such emissions, led by carbon dioxide, an unavoidable byproduct of burning coal and oil.

The final report, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said prompt slowing of emissions could set the stage later in the century for stabilization of the concentration of carbon dioxide, which, at 380 parts per million now, has risen more than a third since the start of the industrial revolution and could easily double from the pre-industrial level within decades.