Infant-formula payout criticized

BEIJING - Chinese families whose babies suffered painful kidney stones from drinking tainted infant formula said yesterday that a planned payout by dairies was too low, and their lawyers pledged to continue attempts to sue for more compensation.

The release of details of the $160 million compensation plan and the opening of trials for those blamed for the contamination signal that officials hope to quickly end what is seen as a national disgrace, highlighting food-safety problems and corporate malfeasance. Contaminated milk powder has been blamed for the deaths of six children and sickening of 300,000 others.

Today, the chairwoman of the dairy at the center of the scandal will be tried on charges of making shoddy products, the latest in a string of court appearances for more than a dozen suspects on charges related to contaminating milk with melamine, an industrial chemical.

- AP

Russia extends presidential term

MOSCOW - Russian President Dmitry A. Medvedev yesterday signed a law extending presidential terms from four years to six in a move seen as paving the way for Vladimir V. Putin's return to the presidency.

Medvedev's final endorsement of the legislation follows its quick approval by the Kremlin-controlled parliament and all of Russia's 83 provincial legislatures. The change won't apply to Medvedev's current term, due to end in 2012.

Putin was barred constitutionally from seeking a third straight term as president. He tapped Medvedev, his longtime protege, as his favored successor, ensuring a landslide victory. Putin then became prime minister and leader of the United Russia party, which dominates parliament.

- AP

Ghana district to vote again

ACCRA, Ghana - Electoral officials yesterday delayed announcing results from Ghana's extraordinarily tight presidential ballot, saying instead that the vote would be rerun in a single disputed constituency that could decide the West African nation's next leader.

Electoral Commission chairman Kwadwo Afari-Gyan said the new ballot would be held Friday in Tain in western Ghana, which has about 53,000 registered voters. He did not explain what caused the voting problem, but electoral commissioner Eunice Roberts said there had been a shortage of ballots.

He said the latest results from Sunday's second round showed opposition leader John Atta Mills had a narrow lead, with 50.13 percent of counted ballots, compared with 49.87 percent for ruling-party candidate Nana Akufo-Addo.

- AP

Elsewhere:

Italian authorities

confiscated 176 tons of spoiled or fake seafood across Italy in a series of raids over the last two weeks. It was the country's largest seizure of seafood.

The eighth and final

body was found from a group of snowmobilers buried by weekend avalanches in western Canada's backcountry. Eleven men were swept away, but three were able to free themselves.