The multi-agency operations to rescue the miners in Meghalaya failed to make any headway on Thursday, with efforts to pump the water out of the mine not yielding any result. The divers of the Navy and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were not able to resume the search operation for the 15 trapped miners as they could not go inside due to the high water level. Asked if the divers would take another chance later in the day, operation spokesperson R Susngi told PTI that they would wait, but there was a remote chance of the water level reducing so soon. The 15 miners remain trapped in the 370-foot-deep illegal rat-hole coal mine in Lumthari village of East Jaintia Hills district since December 13 after water from a nearby river gushed in. The operation to rescue them entered the 22nd day on Thursday. Fire service personnel from Odisha resumed work at 10 am and it was found that the water level has risen again, a day after full-day pumping resulted in it receding by 16 inches, Mr. Susngi said. One more pump will be put to use at the mine on Thursday and another would will be installed at an abandoned mine, about 100 metres away, he said. Meanwhile, the high-powered submersible pump from Coal India is yet to begin work, three days after it arrived at the site. Preparation is still going on to get the pump operational, Mr. Susngi said. The spokesperson had said divers would resume operation once the water level at the main shaft decreases to about 100 feet from its current level of over 160 feet. Authorities said there were at least 90 abandoned mine shafts in the area and they were full of water. Rescuers believe that these nearby mines might be interconnected and draining out water in these mines could help in reducing the water level in the main shaft.
For a city with a centuries-old history of mining coal and producing steel, a gate at the entrance to Asansol, describing it as the “City of Brotherhood”, was scarcely noticed by residents and passers-by until a few years ago. However, after March 2018, the message put up by the city’s civic body is not only hard to miss but also presents the paradox the city is grappling with.In March 2018, Asansol burnt in hatred. Over 26 years after the city witnessed a divide along communal lines post-Babri Masjid demolition, the city appeared to be divided again. People were killed and prohibitory orders remained imposed for weeks as riots broke out over processions during Ram Navami. As the constituency gears up for polls on April 29, 2019, the fault lines of the communal divide seem more pronounced.Days before the polls, Trinamool Congress nominee Sreemati Dev Varma (Moon Moon Sen) had several events lined up earlier this week on Monday. At a crossing on the Domohani Road in Ward No. 31 of the Asansol Municipal Corporation, the 65-year-old actor made a brief speech to a crowd of a few hundred, largely comprising women and children.“The sound of azan from your mosque is the same as that of shlokas from the Gita,” she began. “Will you vote for those who want to divide us,” she asked in an apparent reference to the BJP.Ms. Sen, who represented Bankura Lok Sabha seat in 2014, had no hesitation in telling the audience that she is not familiar with Asansol and was contesting as per the wishes of her party chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Her speech was replete with references to her mother, Bengali screen legend Suchitra Sen. Asked about her chances here, Ms. Sen’s reply reflected the wit of a politician: “Ask me what are the chances of Mamata Banerjee becoming Prime Minister and I will tell you its cent per cent.”Challenges galore The arithmetic of the last Assembly polls, held three years ago, may be with the TMC — it had won five of the seven seats in the Asansol LS constituency. But there are other challenges for the party. A TMC MP from Kolkata admitted that prime among them was of keeping the party’s flock together. This was one of the reasons why an outsider was given the ticket.Defending the seat is Union Minister of State Babul Supriyo. The singer-turned-politician’s greatest weapon this election is a song that has already courted a lot of controversy. Beyond the open coal mines of Raniganj where people can be seen carrying coal — mostly smuggled from the mines — on bicycles and their heads under the scorching sun, Mr. Supriyo is in the midst of a very busy campaign. As his convoy passes through Pandabeshwar, his supporters distribute booklets on the work he has done in the past five years, with his song playing in the background. Refuting the Election Commission’s reservations about the song, Mr. Supriyo expressed happiness at the over one lakh views it had notched on the Internet. “Why will you vote for Moon Moon Sen who is asking for votes in the name of her dead mother? What about the living and their problems?” he told a small gathering. While reminding people to play his song, the MP also raised slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ during his campaign.Corruption from coal and freedom to allow religious processions found echoes in the words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he addressed the public meeting at Polo Grounds in Asansol the very next day (Tuesday). Just on the other side of the railway tracks, where the Prime Minister addressed the public meeting, Noorani Masjid and its adjoining areas still bear the scars of last year’s violence. “There was an unfortunate incident last year. What happened then should not recur any time in the future,” said Maulana Imdadullah Rashidi, referring to the riots. The cleric’s 16-year-old son was killed in the riots but he defused the situation with love, threatening to leave the city if members of the community targeted others.Another flare-upEarlier this month, a communal flare-up was also reported at Barakat in Asansol over a Ram Navami procession when authorities had to intervene, make arrests and suspend Internet services in the area. Imam Rashidi tried to downplay the incident. “There were some rumours in Barakat. Everything is quiet now. Elections will come and go. Asansol needs to, and will return to, where it was before 2018,” he said, his voice reflecting the same sanity and reason he had put forth a year ago.For Imam Rashidi, Asansol is really the city of brotherhood. “We are brothers living together here for centuries. Those who are used to hate will never realise what brotherhood means,” he said.
LATEST STORIES FILE – In this March 21, 2013, file photo taken with a fisheye lens, the NCAA logo is displayed at mid-court before Albany’s practice for a second-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament in Philadelphia. A judge has ruled against the NCAA in a federal antitrust lawsuit, saying football and basketball players should be permitted to receive more compensation from schools but only if the benefits are tied to education. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)The NCAA was able to claim victory Friday night after a judge ruled against the governing body for college sports in a federal antitrust lawsuit.U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland, California, said college football and men’s and women’s basketball players competing at the NCAA’s highest level should be permitted to receive compensation from schools beyond the current athletic scholarship, but only if the benefits are tied to education.ADVERTISEMENT The claim against the NCAA and the 11 conferences that have participated in the Football Bowl Subdivision was originally brought by former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston. It was later merged with similar lawsuits, including a notable case brought by former Clemson football player Martin Jenkins.Plaintiffs argued the NCAA illegally restricts schools from compensating football and men’s and women’s basketball players beyond what is traditionally covered by a scholarship. That includes tuition, room and board and books, plus a cost-of-attendance stipend to cover incidentals such as travel.Plaintiffs touted the ruling as “monumental.”“We have proven to the court that the NCAA’s weak justifications for this unfair system are based on a self-serving mythology that does not match the facts,” said Steve Berman, the Seattle-based lead attorney for the plaintiffs. “Today’s ruling will change college sports as we know it, forever.”Feldman, though, said: “The remedy is relatively narrow and this is certainly not the sea change that the plaintiffs were looking for in college sports,”ADVERTISEMENT 1 dead, 3 injured in Quezon road crash Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte View comments The NCAA argued altering amateurism rules would lead to pay-for-play, fundamentally damaging college sports and harming academic integration of athletes.“The court’s decision recognizes that college sports should be played by student-athletes, not by paid professionals,” NCAA chief legal counsel Donald Remy said in a statement. “The decision acknowledges that the popularity of college sports stems in part from the fact that these athletes are indeed students, who must not be paid unlimited cash sums unrelated to education. NCAA rules actively provide a pathway for tens of thousands of student-athletes each year to receive a college education debt-free.The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has already said it expects to take the case. It is possible the injunction will be stayed until the Ninth Circuit rules. Feldman said both sides could have incentive to appeal the ruling.“We believe the ruling is inconsistent with the decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in O’Bannon,” Remy said. “That decision held that the rules governing college athletics would be better developed outside the courtroom, including rules around the education-related support that schools provide.”Wilken is the same judge who ruled on the so-called O’Bannon case, which challenged the NCAA’s right to use athletes’ names, images and likenesses without compensation. The case also produced a mixed ruling that eventually went to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.In O’Bannon, Wilken ruled schools should be permitted, but not required, to compensate athletes for use of their name, image and likeness, with payments capped at $5,000 per year. The appeals court overturned that and said payments “untethered” to education were not required by schools.”Wilken also ruled the NCAA was required to allow schools to factor in their federally determined cost of attendance into the value of an athletic scholarship. That is now common practice in major college sports, though schools were already moving toward NCAA legislation allowing for cost of attendance when Wilken made her ruling.The plaintiffs argued in the Alston case that implementation of cost-of-attendance stipends prove paying athletes even more would not hurt college sports. MOST READ Lacson backs proposal to elect president and vice president in tandem P2.5 B shabu seized in Makati sting, Chinese national nabbed The NCAA cannot “limit compensation or benefits related to education,” Wilken wrote. That opens the door to athletes receiving more scholarship money to pursue postgraduate degrees, finish undergraduate degrees or study abroad. The NCAA could not, under the court’s injunction, limit schools if they choose to provide athletes items that could be considered school supplies such as computers, science equipment or musical instruments.“Technically the plaintiffs won the case and the NCAA will not be happy that they were found to be in violation of antitrust law, but ultimately this allows the NCAA to keep the bulk of their amateurism rules in place,” said Gabe Feldman director of the Tulane University sports law program.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesThe plaintiffs in the so-called Alston cases were seeking much more.Plaintiffs had asked the judge to lift all NCAA caps on compensation and strike down all rules prohibiting schools from giving athletes in revenue-generating sports more financial incentives for competing. The goal was to create a free market, where conferences set rules for compensating athletes, but this ruling still allows the NCAA to prohibit cash compensation untethered to education-related expenses. Trump campaign, GOP groups attack Google’s new ad policy Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting With sights set on U23 team, UE’s Kath Arado ‘surprised’ to make seniors pool Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. P2.5 B shabu seized in Makati sting, Chinese national nabbed Hong Kong tunnel reopens, campus siege nears end