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Archive for Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Briefly

August 13, 2003

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Pennsylvania

Faulty maps blamed for 2002 mine flood

A federal agency on Tuesday blamed inaccurate maps for the inundation of the Quecreek Mine last summer that trapped nine miners for three days before their dramatic rescue.

The report by the Mine Safety and Health Administration in New Stanton said not enough was done to determine the proximity of an adjacent, flooded mine. In the absence of reliable maps, drilling might have discovered that water had collected in the abandoned mine, the report said.

Federal officials issued citations against the operators, saying the inaccurate maps violated federal safety standards. Penalties for the violations will be determined at a later date.

Cuba

Hijackers quickly sentenced

A panel of Cuban judges delivered a swift verdicts on Tuesday -- finding six men guilty of stealing a government-owned vessel and sentencing them to jail -- less than 24 hours after their trial began. Four of the six defendants received jail sentences ranging from seven to 10 years, requested by prosecutors at Monday's trial.

The judges, however, reduced the sentencing recommendation for two of the men from nine to eight years in prison, said Magalys Vaquero, president of the Provincial Tribunal of Camaguey, where the one-day trial took place.

"We handled this with speed with the interest of informing the public so that they would know that both in the United States and in Cuba these types of cases are handled with severity and for people to stop leaving the country illegally," Vaquero said.

Solomon Islands

Australians win surrender

Warlord Harold Keke has surrendered to an Australian-led intervention force in the troubled Solomon Islands, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said today.

"The Guadalcanal militant leader Harold Keke surrendered ... on the Weather Coast of the island of Guadalcanal earlier today," Downer said in Canberra, Australia.

The Australian-led force of 2,000 troops and 300 police arrived in the Solomon Islands in late July to help end widespread lawlessness and corruption that has paralyzed and nearly bankrupted the South Pacific nation in the aftermath of a coup in 2000.

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