Around the world

2013-06-25T00:00:00Z Around the worldFrom Wire Reports From Wire Reports Arizona Daily Star
June 25, 2013 12:00 am  • 

China

US factory boss held hostage by workers

BEIJING - An American executive said he has been held hostage for four days at his medical supply plant in Beijing by scores of workers demanding severance packages like those given to 30 co-workers in a phased-out department.

Chip Starnes, 42, a co-owner of Coral Springs, Fla.-based Specialty Medical Supplies, said local officials had visited the 10-year-old plant on the capital's outskirts and coerced him into signing agreements Saturday to meet the workers' demands, even though he sought to make clear that the remaining 100 workers weren't being laid off.

The workers were expecting wire transfers by today, he said, adding that about 80 of them had been blocking every exit around the clock and depriving him of sleep by shining bright lights and banging on windows of his office. He declined to clarify the amount, saying he wanted to keep it confidential.

"I feel like a trapped animal," Starnes told The Associated Press on Monday from his first-floor office window, while holding onto the window's bars.

"I think it's inhumane what is going on right now. I have been in this area for 10 years and created a lot of jobs, and I would never have thought in my wildest imagination something like this would happen."

Mexico

Ex-governor charged with embezzlement

MEXICO CITY - Federal prosecutors have charged a former governor with money laundering and embezzling millions of dollars from state coffers in a case that has outraged Mexicans because of reports of his extravagant spending.

The federal Attorney General's Office said former Tabasco state Gov. Andres Granier is at a hospital in Mexico City. A statement Monday from the office said Granier also faces state charges, and it will be up to a judge in Tabasco to decide where he will go next.

Granier was hospitalized 10 days ago because of chest pains.

Current Tabasco Gov. Arturo Nunez has repeatedly accused his predecessor of plunging the state into debt by squandering and embezzling millions of dollars and of representing Mexico's corrupt, old-style politics.

Granier has denied the charges.

Canada

Alberta premier vows $1B for flood recovery

CALGARY, Alberta - Alberta's premier pledged $1 billion on Monday to help people recover from floods that devastated parts of the western Canadian province.

The money will be used to support those who have been evacuated, run relief centers and start rebuilding, said Premier Alison Redford.

Redford has called it the worst flooding in Alberta's history and said rebuilding could take 10 years.

Three bodies have been recovered since the flooding began last Thursday in southern Alberta.

The government said it will provide pre-loaded debit cards to displaced residents to help with their immediate housing needs and day-to-day purchases. Those who qualify will receive $1,250 per adult and $500 per child.

Pakistan

Musharraf looking at possible treason trial

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's prime minister said Monday that the government plans to put the military ruler who ousted him in a coup over a decade ago on trial for treason, setting up a possible clash with the country's powerful army.

But the government stopped short of declaring officially that it was filing charges against Pervez Musharraf, saying it would first consult with other political parties.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif spoke in parliament as the Supreme Court held a hearing on a possible treason case against Musharraf. The former military ruler can be tried for treason only if the federal government presses charges against him.

Sharif said the government agrees with the Supreme Court's decision that Musharraf committed treason under Article 6 of the constitution when he declared a state of emergency in 2007 and suspended the constitution.

The Associated Press

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