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Criminal Trial Probes French Fertilizer Blast

11:08 AM MST | March 2, 2009

A criminal trial opened on February 23 at a Toulouse, France court, covering the massive explosion in September 2001 at the AZF fertilizer plant of Grande Paroisse, a Total subsidiary. The blast at the Toulouse plant killed 31; injured 2,400; and damaged 30,000 properties. Grande Paroisse, since renamed GPN, and former plant manager Serge Biechlin, face charges including manslaughter and property destruction. Resulting fines could total €300,000 ($378,000) and Biechlin could be jailed for three years, if found guilty, reports say. Prosecutors, citing a 2006...

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