In brief: Safety review ordered for mines
Washington – President Barack Obama ordered top federal officials to launch a full-scale safety review of coal mines around the nation on Thursday, and asked Congress to close legal loopholes that let companies “put their bottom line before the safety of their workers.”
After summoning safety and labor officials to the Oval Office to answer for the recent explosion that killed 29 miners in West Virginia, Obama ordered them to examine lapses by mine company management – as well as by the federal regulators’ own procedures.
In unusually blunt criticism of the coal companies, Obama said the disaster at Montcoal was “first and foremost” one of management.
Agents say shuttles smuggled humans
Phoenix – Federal agents arrested nearly 50 shuttle operators and smugglers Thursday accused of using vans to transport thousands of illegal immigrants from the Mexican border to Phoenix in what was billed as one of the largest-ever human smuggling busts.
Investigators said the operators of five shuttle services created their businesses solely to help immigrant smugglers move their customers to Phoenix under a veil of legitimacy. The shuttle operators are accused of giving illegal immigrants fraudulent receipts to make the trips look legitimate and coaching them on what to say if the vans were pulled over by police.
Arrests were made in Phoenix, Tucson and two other Arizona towns along the border, Nogales and Rio Rico.