- The Washington Times - Monday, January 30, 2006

CANADA

72 miners saved by smokeproof rooms

MONTREAL — Rescuers led 72 miners trapped in a potash mine to safety yesterday after they had been trapped overnight more than a half-mile underground by a fire, a mine spokesman said.

The miners took refuge in special safety rooms inside the huge mine in Saskatchewan early Sunday after smoke poured through shafts from a fire at the mine near Esterhazy, east of Regina.

The large, smokeproof safety rooms contain oxygen, food, water, beds and chairs. The rescued men were unhurt but tired, Mosaic Co. mine spokesman Marshall Hamilton said.

AFGHANISTAN

Second U.S. soldier convicted of abuse

KABUL — A U.S. military court in Afghanistan sentenced an American soldier to six months’ confinement and a reduction in rank after finding him guilty yesterday of punching detainees, the military said.

The conviction of Army Sgt. Kevin D. Myricks came three days after another soldier was convicted for mistreating the same two detainees at a base in eastern Afghanistan in July.

Myricks was found guilty of one count of maltreatment and another count of conspiracy to maltreat a detainee. He was reduced in rank to private in addition to his prison term, a U.S. military statement said.

NIGERIA

Oil workers freed in hostage drama

YENAGOA — Four foreign oil workers were released yesterday after being held hostage for more than two weeks by a militia demanding that residents in volatile southern Nigeria benefit more from its energy wealth.

The hostages — including one American — were released to a team of negotiators at an undisclosed town in the oil-rich but volatile Niger Delta region, said Nelson Azibaolanari, commissioner for information in Bayelsa state.

Nigerian officials said the kidnappers’ demands, including a $1.5 billion ransom payment, were not met.

TURKEY

U.S. cultural site targeted in attack

ANKARA — A bomb exploded yesterday at a Turkish-American friendship association in a southern city that hosts a U.S. air base, wounding five Turks, authorities said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Turkish Islamic militants linked to al Qaeda have reportedly been planning attacks on U.S. targets in Turkey. Leftist and Kurdish militants also are active in the country. A janitor and four students taking English courses at the association were wounded, Turkish officials said.

Adana, about 280 miles south of Ankara, is home to the massive Incirlik Air Base, which hosts 10 U.S. military refueling aircraft supporting war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

BRITAIN

Stumble destroys priceless vases

LONDON — A hapless visitor to the Fitzwilliam Museum tripped on his shoelaces, tumbled down a flight of stairs and shattered a group of priceless Qin dynasty Chinese vases.

The incident happened last week at the Cambridge museum, which for decades has displayed the group of vases on a window sill. Dating from the late 17th or early 18th century, the vases were donated to the museum in 1948 and had become one of its most popular attractions.

The man, who has not been named, left the museum shaken but undamaged — in sharp contrast to the vases.

Fitzwilliam curators, shocked but determined, have vowed to glue the pieces back together again.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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