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At least 205 workers have been killed in a fire following an explosion in a coal mine in western Turkey
At least 205 workers have been killed in a fire following an explosion in a coal mine in western Turkey
Worldcrunch

HUNDREDS DEAD IN TURKEY MINE BLAST
At least 205 workers have been killed in a fire following an explosion in a coal mine in Western Turkey, with hundreds still trapped inside the mine, Hurriyet reports. The country’s Energy Minister Taner Yildiz that Tuesday’s explosion could be “the worst mining disaster in Turkey,” as numbers given by the mine’s operator suggest that as many as 787 workers were inside when the fire broke out. In a statement, Yildiz explained that hopes of finding survivors were fading. The government declared three days of national mourning. Hurriyet’s columnist Murat Yetkin writes that the Turkish government “ignored the warnings about the Soma mines, but the miners paid the price with their lives.”

UKRAINE STARTS ‘NATIONAL UNITY’ TALKS
Kiev is hosting “national unity” talks today that will include members of the interim government and Ukrainian regional leaders who will attempt to negotiate a solution to the crisis in the eastern part of the country, the BBC reports. Representatives of the pro-Russian militants have however refused to take part in the scheduled roundtable, which is part of a roadmap from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation and the Europe Union to resolve the conflict in Ukraine. It comes after the death of seven Ukrainian soldiers, killed by rebel fighters in an ambush near the town of Kramatorsk.

  • Controversial footage has emerged of what appears to be a UN-market helicopter allegedly being used in a military operation against pro-Russian groups in the region of Donetsk. According to the International Business Times, a spokesman for UN chief Ban Ki-moon “said that any use of peacekeeping equipment, bearing the name of the UN, for non-peacekeeping purposes would contravene UN rules.”

  • Meanwhile, the U.S. government has released recent satellite imagery which it says shows that some 40,000 Russian troops are still stationed near the Ukrainian border, contradicting a pledge voiced by Vladimir Putin last week to move the soldiers away from the border.

MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD


500 ARRESTED IN VIETNAM AFTER TORCHING CHINESE FACTORIES

Five hundred rioters were arrested in Vietnam after massive anti-China unrest over the past 24 hours. Reports of mobs that may have totaled as many as 10,000 people set fire to some 15 Chinese factories, as people protested against Chinese oil-drilling in disputed waters with Vietnam, The New York Times writes Wednesday. According to Hong Kong daily The Standard, China expressed “serious concerns” over the protests and urged Vietnam “to take all necessary steps to stop and punish the crimes.”

29.1 MILLION HECTOLITERS
U.S. overtakes France to become the world’s largest wine consumer. Read more about it here.

ITALY SHAMES EU ON ASYLUM AFTER ANOTHER SHIPWRECK
Yet another migrant tragedy off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa has prompted sharp words from Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who placed the blame on the European Union.

WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO
An experiment in the Amazon forest will test a hypothesis that higher levels of CO2, due to climate change, can avert the drought and high temperatures it was supposed to cause, Folha’s Rafael Garcia reports. Read the full article here: Global Warming Paradox: Might CO2 Actually Save The Amazon?

OSCAR PISTORIUS TO UNDERGO PSYCHIATRIC TESTS
South African paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, on trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last year, will be committed to one month of psychiatric tests to establish whether he suffers from an anxiety disorder, CNN reports. What the judge described as a “doubt” was raised after the testimony of a psychiatrist who said that the athlete has been suffering from anxiety since he had his legs amputated at the age of 11 months.

FAREWELL
Oscar-winning Searching for Sugar Man director Malik Bendjelloul dies at age 36.

NEW BOB DYLAN SONG
Bob Dylan unveils the first song from his forthcoming 36th studio album. The tune — which follows in the footsteps of his 2012 album Tempest and is entitled Full Moon & Empty Arms — is best known as a 1945 Frank Sinatra hit. Listen to it here.

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Coronavirus

Will China's Zero COVID Ever End?

Too much has been put in to the state-sponsored truth that minimal spread of the virus is the at-all-cost objective. But if the Chinese economy continues to suffer, Xi Jinping may have no choice but to second guess himself.

COVID testing in Guiyang, China

Cfoto/DDP via ZUMA
Deng Yuwen

The tragic bus accident in Guiyang last month — in which 27 people being sent to quarantine were killed — was one of the worst examples of collateral damage since the COVID-19 pandemic began in China nearly three years ago. While the crash can ultimately be traced back to bad government policy, the local authorities did not register it as a Zero COVID related casualty. It was, for them, a simple traffic accident.

The officials in the southern Chinese province of Guizhou, of course, had no alternative. Drawing a link between the deadly crash and the strict policy of Zero COVID, touted by President Xi Jinping, would have revealed the absurdity of the government's choices.

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