January 19, 2009 in City

World in brief: Miners rescued after 24 hours


Some 167 workers trapped in a gold mine for more than 24 hours were safely brought to the surface late Sunday, the South African Press Association reported.

Mine spokesman James Duncan said there were no injuries and the mine workers had received adequate water and ventilation and remained in telephone contact with the surface throughout, according to SAPA.

The workers – mainly maintenance staff – were trapped when lightning struck an electrical substation late Saturday and caused a complete power blackout. Electricity supplies were re-established Sunday.


Former guerrillas leading in polls

El Salvador’s former guerrillas are poised to take over the country, 17 years after peace accords ended the country’s bloody civil war.

But this revolution is a democratic one, led by a charismatic television journalist named Mauricio Funes, who has brought new hope to the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, a guerrilla group turned political party.

Polls ahead of Sunday’s six-party election indicate the Front, known as the FMLN, will increase its 32-seat delegation in the 84-member legislature while keeping the capital and winning most of the 262 mayors’ races.

Sunday’s key contest pits former guerrilla Violeta Menjivar against physician Norman Quijano of the conservative, governing Arena party in the capital.

Official results were not expected until today, but Quijano claimed victory late Sunday based on his own party’s projections.

Menjivar’s press secretary, Sigfrido Reyes, said the race was too close to call and that nationwide, the FMLN won a “historic” number of votes and was poised to be the country’s prime political force.

The true test will come on March 15, when Funes is favored to become the first FMLN president since El Salvador’s 1992 peace accords ended a civil war that killed 75,000 people. Most polls give him a lead of at least nine points over his opponent, ruling party candidate Rodrigo Avila.


Helicopter crash victims found

The bodies of five of six French soldiers reported missing after a helicopter crashed into Atlantic waters off Gabon’s coast were found on Sunday, the French president’s office said.

In a statement, Nicolas Sarkozy’s office said the death toll from Saturday’s crash now stands at seven. Two soldiers survived the crash and are “out of danger,” and one is still missing.

The helicopter went down shortly after taking off from a French naval vessel participating in joint exercises with Gabon forces. The cause of the crash was not immediately known.


Bird flu death is second of year

A 27-year-old woman in northern China has died from bird flu in the country’s second death from the disease this year, the Health Ministry said.

The woman, surnamed Zhang, lived in Jinan city of Shandong province and died Saturday after falling sick on Jan. 5, the ministry said on its Web site late Sunday. The notice did not say how Zhang contracted the virus.

Earlier this month, a 19-year-old woman died from the bird flu virus in a Beijing hospital after contact with ducks in a market in a neighboring province. That was the first death from bird flu since February last year.

From wire reports

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