North Korea

North Korea
The always bombastic and unpredictable North Koreans go hysterical again. This time the country is prepared to "go to war" with South Korea because that country is playing loudspeakers directed at North Korean territory. A headline from a UK paper reads, "More than 50 North Korea submarines 'leave their bases' as war talks with South continue "

Monday, August 23, 2010

Four months underground

Good news out of Chile! 33 miners working in a gold and copper mine were trapped early August when a mine shaft collapsed, and though no one had heard from them for over two weeks, contact has now been made after rescuers had drilled 9 holes in attempts to reach them. Apparently all 33 men were able to make it safely to a shelter the size of a small flat about 1/2 mile underground. Unfortunately a rescue shaft of 26 inches, large enough to bring each miner out individually, will take 120 days to drill according to the mine rescuers. Rescuers plan to send narrow plastic tubes down the narrow borehole already drilled with food, hydration gels and equipment that will allow them to communicate with relatives - including cameras and microphones.
Location of gold/copper mine where miners are trapped, but have hope.

Okay, glad to hear this, but I can hardly imagine living underground for 4 months with 32 others. Where do they relieve themselves, exercise slightly, etc? But that's just me. The miners themselves, and others who do this for a living are resolutely positive. The BBC had more detail ... "The eldest of the miners, 63-year-old Mario Gomez, sent up a letter to his wife in which he said he was sure the miners would survive. "Dear Liliana, I'm well, thank God. I hope to get out soon. Have patience and faith," the letter said. "I haven't stopped thinking about all of you for a single moment."

News that the miners were still alive was met with relief across Chile, and people gathered at the main square in the capital, Santiago, to celebrate. Outside the mine, Mario Gomez's daughter said she could not wait to talk to him. The fact that the miners will have a communication channel to relatives is expected to help them cope with the ordeal. Todd Russell, an Australian miner who was trapped 3,000ft underground in Tasmania after an earthquake in 2006, said he and a second miner who survived the collapse relied on each other for support.

"It's amazing what your body can do," he told the BBC World Service. "We survived on hope and courage, and each other, [and] we were lucky enough to have a bit of underground mine water. They're lucky that they've got 33 guys there with them that they can rely on each other," Mr Russell said.

Chile is that narrow country along the Western front of South America. From Wikipedia, it is one of South America's most stable and prosperous nations. It leads Latin American nations in human development, competitiveness, quality of life, political stability, globalization, economic freedom, low perception of corruption and comparatively low poverty rates. It also ranks high regionally in freedom of the press and democratic development.

Let's just also note that around the world, there are miners digging resources out of the ground - from the Appalachias in the US, to Russia, the Ukraine, on to China. We read occasionally of folks dying in mine disasters, but not much in-between. Perhaps mining and the men and women who work them will be a focus later on when this particular group is rescued - in November.

Chile has a wide variety of landscapes and elevations, home to a strong forest products economic sector, a vibrant wine industry, and a network of national parks and sanctuaries. Chile is home to alpacas, a smaller related version of the camel (and four of them are now owned by the Thurstons in Maine).

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