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. Chinese power chief gets life for graft

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Sept 9, 2007
The former chief of a Chinese state power company has been sentenced to life imprisonment for taking bribes valued at nearly 10 million yuan (1.3 million dollars), state press reported Sunday.

Zhang Shaocang, a Communist Party official and general manager of Anhui Province Energy Group based in eastern China, was convicted of accepting seven million yuan from a local company in 1992, Xinhua news reported.

The 55-year-old also pocketed another 2.78 million yuan worth of bribes between 1989 and 2006, the report said, citing a court official in the city of Fuyang, where he was tried.

His wife and son were also involved, the official said, without elaborating.

Corruption has exploded in China as the country has transitioned to a more open economy while retaining a rigid communist governmental apparatus that affords bureaucrats ample opportunities for graft with little press oversight.

President Hu Jintao, who is expected to seek to cement his control over the Communist Party, and hence the country, during next month's Congress, has identified corruption as a major threat to the party's legitimacy.

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Pacific power companies band together to cut fuel costs
Majuro (AFP) Sept 9, 2007
Cash-strapped electricity companies in the Pacific islands plan to join forces to cut the high fuel costs which are making it difficult for them to stay afloat, officials said.

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