CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Air samples did not show high levels of explosive gases just before an explosion in a West Virginia coal mine that killed 29 workers, and what caused the disaster remains unknown, the mine’s owner said Monday.
Massey Energy Co. board director Stanley Suboleski said the samples were taken by foremen as part of a shift-change exam at the Upper Big Branch mine, just “tens of minutes” before the blast.
Massey spokesman Jeff Gillenwater later said he could not be more specific about the time. The examination also showed that air flow in the underground mine was fine, Suboleski said.
“All the indicators are that at the start of the shift, everything was OK,” said Suboleski, a mining engineer.
Arrests made in deadly attack
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – Police arrested five suspects in the killings of seven police officers and a bystander in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, authorities said Monday.
The suspects in the police attack on Friday are members of La Linea gang, the enforcement arm of the Juarez drug cartel, according to a statement from a joint anti-crime task force in Chihuahua state.
The men confessed to the ambush of two police patrol trucks as they were flagged down for help by an unidentified man, the federal, state and local task force said. Six federal police officers and one local policewoman were killed.
The suspects also confessed to 36 other slayings since 2009 and to extorting money from at least 21 businesses, the task force said.
Protests close commuter trains
BANGKOK, Thailand – Protesters broke into an elevated rail station and threw tires on the platform today in their campaign to force immediate elections, prompting authorities to briefly suspend service and send army troops to guard the train stops.
The four-hour closure coincided with morning rush hour, causing commuter chaos and concern in the tense capital at the sight of hundreds of soldiers armed with automatic weapons guarding stations and scattered along major Bangkok boulevards.
By midmorning, Skytrain service had resumed but fears of more violence intensified.
High court won’t enter carp battle
CHICAGO – The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday it would not take up Michigan’s case against Illinois to try to stop Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes.
Michigan, in a case joined by six other Great Lakes states, argued that closing Chicago-area shipping locks is the best bet to keep out unwanted carp and other invasive species.
The Supreme Court declined Michigan’s request to reopen a case that dates back to 1922, when the court first tossed out challenges to Illinois’ right to construct the canal and channel for shipping and to carry the city’s liquid waste away from Lake Michigan.
The justices’ order Monday did not explain their decision.