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November 2018
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News Headlines
India in Australia: Kohli promises to not start arguments, only finish them        At Least Two Killed, Eight Injured In Blast In Karachi        Centre's New Move May Escalate Feud With RBI Ahead Of Board Meet: Report        'Gaja' crosses coast, rainfall pounds TN, 22 dead        Sabarimala board to move SC, buy time to implement order        Sabarimala board to move SC, buy time to implement order        Sindhu crashes out; Srikanth, Sameer enter quarterfinals of Hong Kong Open        No more chopping and changing till World Cup: Ravi Shastri        Air India eyes Rs 800 cr from sale of over 70 properties        Intel India opens design house costing Rs 1,100 cr at B'luru        US, China see rival visions for entwined Asia-Pacific region        Imran Khan to visit Malaysia next week; likely to seek monetary aid        EC removes Mizoram chief electoral officer after protests        Lankesh murder accused sent to SIT custody in Pansare case        Agri sector needs long-term solutions, loan waiver temporary: Naidu        Top India, China officials hold defence, security dialogue, agree to step up military exchanges        Jailed Om Prakash Chautala Expels Older Son For "Anti-Party Activities"        ISRO Launches Communication Satellite, Has 'Geo-Eye' To Monitor India        US Vice President Mike Pence takes Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi to task over treatment of Rohingya        Sri Lankan Parliament passes no-trust vote against Rajapaksa        
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International News
Turkey jails mine bosses over 2014 disaster that killed 301
 
Istanbul, Jul 11 (AFP) A Turkish court today handed jail terms of up to 22 years to five top managers convicted of negligence over Turkey's worst ever mining disaster, which claimed hundreds of lives.

The accident in May 2014 killed 301 people when one of the pits of the Soma mine became engulfed by flames and carbon monoxide gas, trapping 800 miners working inside.

The tragedy sparked protests and raised new concerns about Turkey's dire industrial safety record. Relatives and the opposition denounced today's verdicts -- handed out on negligence rather than murder convictions -- as outrageously lenient after prosecutors had initially demanded terms of 301 times 25 years for all the main suspects.

After a trial lasting over three years, the court in the western Turkish town of Akhisar jailed the former CEO of the Soma mine, Can Gurkan, for 15 years, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

The mine's general manager Ramazan Dogru and technical manager Ismail Adali were handed prison sentences of 22 years and six months, and operations manager Akin Celik and technical supervisor Ertan Ersoy 18 years and nine months, it added.

The chairman of the Soma Mines Company which owned the mine, Alp Gurkan, the father of Can Gurkan, was acquitted along with 36 other suspects.

Out of 51 suspects on trial, nine other lower-ranking mine managers were given jail terms of six to 11 years.

The Dogan news agency said the verdicts prompted victims' lawyers and families to walk out of court in protest. Emergency services needed to be called as several collapsed due to stress, it added.

The opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) slammed the sentences, which it said were drawn up in advance as a result of pressure from the company and the authorities.

"Justice has not come for Soma and... the law has, once again, gone bankrupt," its deputy chairman Veli Agbaba said in a statement.

Alp Gurkan had denied responsibility for the disaster, asking when the trial opened in April 2015 to be freed "to do our own research and shed light on the accident".

Turkey's Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DISK) expressed outrage that the convictions had been made on the lesser negligence charges, arguing the mine had failed to take necessary precautions and had overworked its employees.

"Three-hundred-and-one of our worker brothers lost their lives before our eyes as a result as a slaughter," said its chairwoman Arzu Cerkezoglu.

"This is not called negligence or a mistake. It is a crime. We do not accept this decision," she added in a statement.

The accident on May 13, 2014, exposed the lacklustre reaction of the government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was prime minister at the time.

Prosecutors said that the miners were killed after inhaling gas and toxic smoke from the fire which was caused when an abandoned pile of coal left next to an electrical transformer caught fire.

Erdogan had notoriously appeared to play down the disaster, saying that "accidents are in the nature of the business" and comparing it to accidents in industrial revolution-era Britain.

The verdict hearing had been scheduled for July 9, the day Erdogan was inaugurated for a third term.

However, it was postponed after one of the judges fell sick. The tragedy sparked protests that rattled the government a year after mass nationwide anti-government rallies, with an advisor to Erdogan, Yusuf Yerkel, inflaming tensions by kicking a protester in Soma.


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NATIONAL NEWS
'Gaja' crosses coast, rainfall pounds TN, 22 dead
 (Chennai, Nov17, 2018): Cyclone Gaja ripped through Nagapattinam early Friday uprooting trees
EC removes Mizoram chief electoral officer after protests
Lankesh murder accused sent to SIT custody in Pansare case
Agri sector needs long-term solutions, loan waiver temporary: Naidu
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