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Pollution in Chinese River Reaches Russian Territory


A huge slick of toxic chemicals has entered Russian territory from China after flowing downstream from a chemical-plant explosion last month.

Russia's Emergency Situations Minister, Sergei Shoigu, says the slick crossed the border Friday, but initial tests show pollution levels in the Amur River lower than feared.

The blast on November 13 poured 100 tons of benzene and other poisons into the Songhua River, which flowed past the Chinese city of Harbin into Russia. Harbin residents were without running water as the toxic slick passed.

Russia's Far East Meteorological Service says foul water will begin flowing past Khabarovsk, a city of more than 500,000 people, within a week.

Environmental officials say the benzene in the river should be so diluted that no interruption of municipal water service in Khabarovsk will be necessary.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.