Quetta (Pakistan): At least 10 miners are trapped more than a kilometre (nearly a mile) underground after a fire started by an electrical short circuit in a coal mine in southwestern Pakistan, officials said Monday. Rescue efforts were hampered by the fire spreading poisonous carbon monoxide gas inside the mine, some 35 kilometres (22 miles) east of Quetta, the capital of oil and mineral rich Balochistan province. Abdullah Shahwani, a top official for the industry in the province, said 11 miners were working Sunday around 4,000 feet (1,200 metres) underground when the accident happened. Also Read – Imran Khan arrives in China, to meet Prez Xi Jinping “Fire erupted due to a cable short circuit, causing the spread of poisonous monoxide gas,” Shahwani told AFP. One miner has been rescued but 10 remain trapped inside, he said. “Hopes of their survival are very slim as rescue workers have reached only 1,200 feet (360 metres) inside the mine,” Shahwani said, roughly 20 hours after the accident occurred. The spread of carbon monoxide was hampering the attempt to reach the miners, said rescuer Mohammad Shafqat, who spoke to AFP from the site. The coal mine is run by the state-owned Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation. Most coal mines in the impoverished province are notorious for poor safety standards and facilities, and similar deadly accidents have occurred in the past.
Rabat – China has refused the participation of the leaders of Algeria-backed Polisario Front at the Second China-Africa Forum Summit to be held Thursday in Johannesburg.Morocco will be present at the summit represented by its Foreign Minister, Salaheddine Mezouar, according to Yabiladi news.In line with their neutral position on the question of the so-called Western Sahara, Chinese authorities have decided to exclude the presence of the Polisario movement at the summit for Cooperation between China and African countries. The summit is taking place in South Africa, but China, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, has set its own conditions on top of the rules of the summit.According to the same source, to avoid pressure from Algeria and South Africa, the Asian country decided to only include countries with which it maintain diplomatic relations. China does not recognize the self-proclaimed Polisario’s Saharawi Arab Diplomatic Republic, and has no diplomatic relations with the separatist movement.This is not the first time the Polisario is excluded from an international event in which the African Union is one the main participants. Last October, the Polisario was removed from the list of participants at the Third India-Africa Summit in New Delhi.The First China-Africa Forum of entrepreneurs was held in Marrakech from 27 to 30 November.
IRISH SCHOOLS CANNOT be run at their current level of funding, a teachers’ union has said.The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) made the comment after it emerged that eight of Ireland’s most affluent schools received €50,000 each on average in additional State funding in 2012.The data was given to RTÉ by the Revenue Commissioners. This evening, INTO said that the day to day running costs of primary schools far exceed state funding.It alleges that the under-funding “is being covered up, topped up and made good mainly by principal teachers who spend more and more time fundraising”.Sheila Nunan, general secretary of the INTO, said:Government funding to schools does not cover basic running costs such as heating, light and electricity, cleaning, insurance, office expenses and classroom equipment. It is less than a euro per pupil per school day. Schools cannot be run on this level of funding.Without local funding through voluntary contributions by parents and fundraising activities, schools would be seriously in the red, the union said.Ms Nunan said what was effectively happening was that parents were paying a “local education” tax. “This is completely unacceptable,” she said. “School running costs should be fully met by the Department of Education. Government is underfunding schools and relying on parents to make up the shortfall.”Deputy Jonathan O’Brien said that this funding was “further benefiting schools where parents could afford to contribute”.The Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson said that this type of scheme is “fundamentally inequitable”.“I can understand from the schools’ perspective that they are desperate to fundraise, but the manner in which the State oversees education funding results in a tiered education system,” he said, adding that he believes that ideally, the payment of voluntary contributions should be scrapped altogether.Read: Education Minister refuses to rule out video cameras in classrooms>