Families seek miracle at Indian mine where 15 trapped for nearly two weeks

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Rescuers work at the site of a coal mine that collapsed in Ksan, in the northeastern Indian state of Meghalaya, Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. (AP)
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This undated handout photograph released by the National Disaster Response Force shows emergency workers gathering around a crane after 13 miners were killed after being trapped by flooding in an illegal coal mine in Ksan village in Meghalaya's East Jaintia Hills district. (AFP)
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Rescuers work at the site of a coal mine that collapsed in Ksan, in the northeastern state of Meghalaya, India, December 23, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 27 December 2018
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Families seek miracle at Indian mine where 15 trapped for nearly two weeks

  • The rescue operations was suspended on Sunday following flash floods from a nearby river, officials said
  • A team of about 100 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) experts have been camping at the mine site but their operations have been hampered by lack of sophisticated equipment

GUWAHATI, India: Indian rescue workers were trying to reach 15 coal miners trapped underground for 13 days on Wednesday as families prayed for their safe return, but chances of survival looked slim after floodwaters rushed through the illegal “rat-hole” pit.
The 15 went to work at the mine in the northeastern state of Meghalaya on December 13 and have been underground ever since.
“Only God’s grace and some miracle can help them to be alive,” Kyrmen Shylla, Meghalaya’s disaster management minister, told Reuters by telephone from capital Shillong.
The rescue operations was suspended on Sunday following flash floods from a nearby river, officials said.
A team of about 100 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) experts have been camping at the mine site but their operations have been hampered by lack of sophisticated equipment, S.K. Shastri, NDRF commandant leading the operations, said.
The mine is an old, illegal so-called rat-hole mine, common in Meghalaya but dangerous as the coal is pulled out from narrow, horizontal seams.
Workers, including children, descend hundreds of feet on bamboo ladders to dig out the coal, often leading to accidents at such mines.


France’s Nicolas Sarkozy loses bid to avoid influence peddling trial

Updated 19 June 2019
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France’s Nicolas Sarkozy loses bid to avoid influence peddling trial

  • Sarkozy is accused of offering to help a judge win promotion
  • Sarkozy’s lawyers have previously argued that magistrates investigating the alleged secret Libyan funding exceeded their powers

PARIS: Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy will stand trial for influence peddling after the country's highest court rejected his final bid to have the case thrown out, his lawyer said on Wednesday.
Sarkozy is accused of offering to help a judge win promotion in return for leaked information about a separate inquiry. He has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
The case came about after investigators used phone-taps to examine allegations that late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi funded Sarkozy’s successful campaign for the presidency in 2007.
As they eavesdropped on his calls, the investigators began to suspect the former president had offered the judge promotion in return for information on another investigation involving allegations Sarkozy accepted illicit payments from L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt for the same campaign.
Sarkozy’s lawyers have previously argued that magistrates investigating the alleged secret Libyan funding exceeded their powers and went on a “fishing expedition” by tapping his conversations between September 2013 and March 2014, breaching lawyer-client privilege.
He was cleared over the Bettencourt allegations.
On Wednesday, his defence team said the use in this case of wiretapped remarks gleaned in relation to a different investigation contravened a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.
"These legal issues are still relevant," Sarkozy lawyer Jacqueline Laffont said. "It will be for the court to decide whether a French court can override a decision of the European Court of Human Rights."
Wednesday's ruling that the trial proceed came from the 'Cour de Cassation', which decides whether an earlier decision by an appeals court conforms with French law.