Archive for Thursday, January 23, 2003

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January 23, 2003

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West Virginia

Explosion near mine kills three workers

A methane gas explosion in a coal mine air shaft Wednesday killed three workers and injured three others who had to be rescued from more than 900 feet below the surface.

The workers, who had been digging the new shaft, were about 60 feet from reaching the mine, near Cameron, when the explosion occurred, officials said.

About an hour later, two sheriff's deputies descended 940 feet into the earth to retrieve the survivors after local emergency workers declined, saying they were not trained for such a rescue.

Two of the injured workers remained hospitalized Wednesday night.

New York City

Electrical fire damages Sharpton's offices

An electrical fire spread through the headquarters of the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network on Wednesday, gutting a reception hall one day after Sharpton formally became a Democratic presidential contender in 2004.

Fire investigators were focusing on an extension cord as the cause of the Wednesday morning blaze, Chief Fire Marshal Louis Garcia said. The cord may have been hooked up to a computer, fire officials said.

The fire was reported about 8:30 a.m. on the second floor of the three-story building in Harlem.

Fire officials said the reception hall where Sharpton has weekly rallies and news conferences was gutted. The fire also spread to the third floor, occupied by the Israeli Church of UPK.

Florida

Clonaid says third cloned baby born

Clonaid, the company that claims to have produced the first human clone, said Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale that a third cloned child had been born to a Japanese couple.

Clonaid spokeswoman Nadine Gary later said the group's president, Brigitte Boisselier, would have a new conference today in Toronto to talk about the latest births, that of the Japanese boy and a girl born to a Dutch lesbian Jan. 3.

In Japan, a spokeswoman for the Japan Raelian Movement said early today that the Japanese baby is a clone of a 2-year-old boy who died in an accident 18 months ago. An Asian woman -- not of Japanese nationality -- served as the surrogate, she said.

The company has not provided any proof that the babies are clones. Clonaid was founded by the leader of the Raelians, a sect that believes aliens created life on Earth.

New York City

Christo art project for Central Park OK'd

City leaders on Wednesday gave the artist Christo the go-ahead to install 16-foot-tall gates of billowing saffron-colored cloth along miles of Central Park walkways for two weeks in 2005.

The artist, best known for wrapping silver fabric around the German Reichstag in 1995 and opening 3,100 brightly colored umbrellas across valleys in Japan and California in 1991, first sought approval for the Central Park display more than two decades ago.

Christo and his wife, Jeanne-Claude, will fund the project and give the city $3 million.

They plan to hang synthetic woven cloth from 7,500 gates along 23 miles of pedestrian walkways in the park in February 2005, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced.

"During these trying times when our natural instincts are to retreat to the comfortable and familiar, we have to reassert the daring and the imaginative spirit that differentiates New York from any other city," Bloomberg said.

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