Charges Against Striking Miners Dismissed
Charges have been dropped against 270 at a Lonmin, South Africa platinum mine. They had been charged with collusion and murder under a law dating back to the apartheid regime during a demonstration which took place Thursday, August 16. Police forces opened fire on protesters as they rushed towards razor wire, killing 34 and wounding 78, according to South African newspaper Mail & Guardian. While protesters killed 10 people earlier in the riot, no police were harmed during this struggle.
All miners who were in the crowd at the time, including those with no weapons or who were at the rear of the crowd, faced murder charges under the nation’s “common purpose” doctrine, which was formerly used against people fighting for racial equality. Until recently, it was considered outdated and discredited.
The decision to prosecute was condemned globally. In response to both external and internal pressure, South African President Jacob Zum set up an inquiry into the shootings to judge the police responsible.
The charges cannot be officially dismissed until the inquiry has concluded, but they have been provisionally dropped, and all arrested miners have been freed. Six of the charged miners remain in the hospital recovering from injuries sustained during the attack.
Venezuelan Refinery Reopens Following Deadly Explosion
Venezuela’s largest oil refinery resumed operations on Friday, August 31, nearly a week after a massive explosion killed 42 and sparked a fire that lasted three days. The Amuay refinery blast, caused by a gas leak, happened two months after the publication of an engineering study discovered numerous maintenance failures and accident reports, according to the Associated Press.
The Washington Post reports that in recent years, the Venezuelan government under Hugo Chavez has been funneling funds away from the state oil company’s profits into social programs and other government expenditures. This lack of funds has caused refineries to cut corners in order to keep output steady with less money. Oil contributions to government coffers have increased by nearly $9 billion since 2004. The Venezuelan government has denied that the redistribution of funds has affected any operation at the plant.
Deadly Hantavirus Spotted in Yellowstone National Park
While the first weekend in September is one of Yellowstone National Park’s busiest, many of the park’s tent cabins were closed to casual visitors. The 91 tent cabins at Curry Village are the suspected source of a recent outbreak of a rare disease known as Hantavirus. The cause of the disease has been pinpointed to these tents, where rodent droppings contained in stirred-up dust and dirt can easily spread the virus. Of the six cases reported since June, only four victims have survived the deadly disease.
According to the Washington Post, the park has been attempting to contact all people who stayed in the cabins during the affected time, an estimated 10,000 guests. Thousands of emails and letters have been sent out to campers who reserved cabins in an attempt to warn them they may have been exposed and should seek medical attention if symptoms develop.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a nationwide alert regarding the virus, and is working with park officials to make sure that at-risk groups are informed, in an attempt to prevent a nationwide outbreak.