January 3, 2006 – A Disaster Called Sago – A Lobbyist Called Abramoff – An Unwelcome Mat Called Egypt
January 3, 2006 – The Sago Mine disaster was a coal mine explosion on January 2, 2006, at the Sago Mine in Sago, West Virginia, near the Upshur County seat of Buckhannon. The blast and collapse trapped 13 miners for nearly two days; only one survived. It was the worst mining disaster in the United States since the Jim Walter Resources Mine disaster in Alabama on September 23, 2001, and the worst disaster in West Virginia since the 1968 Farmington Mine disaster. It was exceeded four years later by the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster, also a coal mine explosion in West Virginia, which killed 29 miners in April 2010.
The disaster received extensive news coverage worldwide. After mining officials released incorrect information, many media outlets initially reported, erroneously, that 12 survivors had been found alive.
In other news; Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff was at the center of an extensive corruption investigation that led to his conviction and to 21 other people either pleading guilty or being found guilty. The corruption case included White House officials J. Steven Griles and David Safavian, U.S. Representative Bob Ney, and nine other lobbyists and Congressional aides.
Abramoff was College Republican National Committee National Chairman from 1981 to 1985, a founding member of the International Freedom Foundation, allegedly financed by apartheid South Africa, and served on the board of directors of the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank. From 1994 to 2001 he was a top lobbyist for the firm of Preston Gates & Ellis, and then for Greenberg Traurig until March 2004.
After a guilty plea in the Jack Abramoff Native American lobbying scandal and his dealings with SunCruz Casinos in January 2006, he was sentenced to six years in federal prison for mail fraud, conspiracy to bribe public officials, and tax evasion.
And Egypt pulled the welcome mat from Sudanese immigrants saying it was deporting 600 refugees and migrants back to Sudan after a Police riot at a squatters camp in a Cairo neighborhood claimed the lives of some 26. Egyptian officials maintained they were responding to a public health and safety crisis, while UN observers complained the deportations were unjustified and bypassed due process.
And that’s a small slice of what went on, this January 3, 2006 (13 years ago . . .!) via NPR Hourly News.