Monday, August 30, 2010

Chilean workers begin drilling shaft to free trapped miners

Top story: Chilean workers will begin drilling a rescue shaft today in an effort to bring 33 miners who are trapped underground to safety. They will need to drill through more than 2,300 feet of rock -- an effort that that could take three to four months. The miners have been trapped since August 5, when a cave-in blocked their exit; they are surviving off of nutrients funneled to them by an "umbilical cord," which reaches above ground.
While workers attempt to build a shaft to free the miners, a four-person team from NASA is set to arrive this week to provide the miners with physical and psychological support. NASA has been deeply involved in efforts to maintain physical and mental well-being during long periods of isolation due to their tests for long-distance space travel.
The miners have already been sent vaccines to prevent diphtheria and tetanus, as well as rubber boots and chlorine to disinfect the water underground. They also have a video camera, which they are using to film their injuries so a doctor on the surface can help treat them. The miners were first able to speak to their families yesterday, when officials rigged a phone line down to them from the surface base.
U.S. diplomacy in Sudan gathers speed: The Obama administration is intensifying its efforts surrounding a planned referendum on the independence of south Sudan, which is scheduled for January. In the past few weeks, the United States has doubled its diplomatic representation in the south.

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