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THE PROFIT QUEST

"China is promising change after the fatal mudslide triggered by the collapse of a illegal waste reservoir in its northern Shanxi province last week became the latest tragedy in its notoriously dangerous mining industry. With an official death toll of 254 and climbing, and hundreds more displaced, the government has ousted a string of Communist Party and government officials with Governor Meng Xuenong, who resigned on Sunday, the latest casualty. The catastrophe was just the latest man-made disaster to hit Shanxi, a poor province rich in resources known as China's "coal capital". Famous for its abundance of energy and metal resources, the province is also notorious for its frequent mining accidents, which have been attributed to lax supervision by provincial authorities and mine owners' blind quest for profit." (Asia Times, 16 September) RD

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