Oct 16, 2010

Chile crises manager Andre Sougarret talks media

Andre Sougarret, the leader of the Engineering Team conducted the 66-days long rescue operation in Chile to give breathing opportunity to miners

Three days after 33 men were sealed deep within a gold mine, Andre Sougarret was summoned by Chile's president.

The Chilean leader got right to the point: The square-jawed, straight-talking engineer would be in charge of digging them out.

At first Sougarret worried — no one knew if the miners were alive, and the pressure was on to reach them. And he knew he would be blamed if the men were found dead "because we didn't reach them or the work was too slow."

But eventually, contact was made, the work was on, and the miners below were calling him "boss."

The mission was unprecedented. No one had ever drilled so far to reach trapped miners. No one knew where to find them.

From the first confusing days to this week's glorious finale, the 46-year-old Sougarret was the man with the answers.

And at the end, the last miner to reach the surface, shift foreman Luis Urzua, would tell him: "People like you are worth a lot of money in Chile."

Sougarret's management of the crisis was so successful that nearly all the rescued miners walked out of the hospital Friday perfectly healthy. While a handful left through one door into a news media storm, most of the others were secreted away through a side entrance to be taken home, hospital officials said. Two of the miners required more attention and were transferred to other hospitals.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Sougarret told how he assembled a team of experts and methodically worked the problem that would become the biggest challenge of his life.

In choosing the young Chilean mining expert, President Sebastian Pinera  had turned to the man who ran the world's most productive subterranean mine, El Teniente, for Chile's state-owned Codelco copper company.

A methodical engineer who stays cool-headed under pressure, Sougarret said he tried not to dwell too much on the men he was trying to save.

"I never allowed myself to think about what was happening with them — that's anxiety-causing," he said. "I told myself, 'My objective is to create an access, a connection. Put that in your head.'"

"Why they were there and what happened, that's not my responsibility. My responsibility is to get there and get them out."

Sougarret flew immediately to the mine in Chile's northern Atacama desert, and encountered a nest of confusion, with rescue workers, firefighters, police officers, volunteers and relatives desperate for word about the fate of their men down below.

Gently but firmly, Sougarret made his first move: ordering out the rescue workers until there was, in fact, someone to rescue. He asked for any maps of the mine and assembled a team, starting with Rene Aguilar, the 35-year-old risk manager at El Teniente.

In the weeks that followed, the two men built an operation that grew to more than 300 people.

Among their first steps was to ride into the mine in a truck.

"We knew it collapsed. What does collapsed mean?" Sougarret said. "What we found was a block, a tombstone, like when you're in an elevator and the doors open between floors."

The smooth, solid wall was part of a huge block of stone that cut off the shaft that corkscrews for more than four miles (seven kilometers) to a depth of 2,625 feet (800 meters). They later determined the cave-in started at a depth of about 1,000 feet (355 meters), and brought down the very center of the mine, some 700,000 tons of rock.

Drilling through would risk provoking another collapse, crushing anything below.

So, an entirely new shaft would have to be drilled to try to reach the men. And they needed to call in more expertise: the miners who had narrowly escaped being crushed in the Aug. 5 collapse.

"It was important to talk with the three who came out last," Aguilar recalled. These men knew what was in the lower reaches of the mine: tanks of water, ventilation shafts, a 48-hour food supply in a reinforced refuge far beneath the surface.

A map was key to reaching the men. The drills would have to seek a path through solid rock to avoid veering off into an open or collapsed space below. But this mine had been so honeycombed over its long history that there were no precise maps.

They would have to make their best guesses about where to drill.

"We were building an idea about where they might be," Sougarret said.

The miners who surfaced before the cave-in described where the men would have been working: likely near a workshop and reinforced refuge where they normally gathered to be taken to the surface for their lunch break.

"Now with all these elements, one could clearly say there is a hope that they were alive," Sougarret said.

When Sougarret took over, seven companies were already involved in trying to reach the men. He decided to keep some of those on, aiming at the workshop 2,041 feet (622 meters) underground and the refuge, at 2,100 feet (700 meters).

"We were learning as we were drilling. And the days were beginning to pass," he said.

"I clearly thought the men could survive for 30 days, maybe 40 depending on the condition of some of the people, with water and air, without food. ... That was the fact that I kept in my head," Sougarret said.

Then, on Aug. 19, came a crisis: The drill reached 700 meters, and nothing. "It passed 710, passed 720, and we got to 770 and didn't find anything."

The drill had veered off, passing so close to the refuge that the miners could hear and feel it.

"That started a crisis with the families. They were very upset because we hadn't reached them," Sougarret said.

"There were meetings, there were protests. It was hard," Aguilar added.

There was tremendous pressure. "It would be my fault if they were to die because we didn't reach them or the work was too slow," Sougarret said.

"The fact is, nobody wanted to show their face, nobody, not one of the companies that were doing the drilling. The only ones were me and Rene. ... It was only after we reached them and everything was going well that the flags showed up and the whole show started."

Finally, on Aug. 22, came success: The drill broke through to the shaft about 150 feet (50 meters) from the miners' refuge.

From the surface, the rescue team thought they could hear banging on the drill head. Pulling it up, they found a message tied in a plastic bag and pressed inside the thread of the drill: "We're all OK in the refuge, the 33."

In the days that followed, two more boreholes would break through, providing a life line for sending down food, medicine and messages of encouragement.

As soon as the miners were found alive, Sougarret mobilized three much more powerful drills, soon to be known as Plan A, Plan B and Plan C, each with different methods of pounding through the rock.

A third borehole was designated as a guide for the Plan B drill, which widened it from about 6 inches (15 centimeters) to 28 inches (70 centimeters) to provide the miners with a way out.

"Now with three plans it was enough for the two objectives we were looking for: shorten the time and minimize risks," Sougarret said. "There were many factors that I couldn't control, and the only way to minimize risks is to have alternatives."

Every day without fail, Sougarret talked with the trapped miners, first on a phone dropped down the hole, and eventually by video conference calls. "They gave us ideas. They were proactive, (saying) 'Don't worry, Boss, tomorrow I'll tell you if it can be done.'"

Some miners drew up maps using measuring devices the rescuers sent down the boreholes.

With three drills advancing toward the men, it was only a matter of time. While Pinera pledged to bring the miners home by Christmas, Sougarret calculated the potential velocity of each drill and bet on three dates: Dec. 1 for Plan A to reach the refuge, Oct. 10 for Plan B to reach the workshop and Oct. 30 for the shaft in between.

At 8:05 a.m. on Oct. 9, Plan B broke through. He had been off by a single day.

It was still necessary to encase the top of the tunnel in steel pipes and test the escape capsule, but Sougarret was no longer nervous.

"This last stage for me was like butter," he said with a smile.

"I always said that if these people are alive and I have contact with them and I can get food to them, they could spend a year (below) and nothing will happen to them. It was a question of time."

There was much talk during the rescue about controlling the information reaching the miners to keep them from becoming demoralized about how long the rescue would take.

But Sougarret always told them the truth.

Urzua, the shift foreman, had this to say as he hugged the man who saved the 33: "You always gave us the straight talk, always speaking the truth."
Courtesy: AP, Yahoo.com

Trucks and passenger cars sales go down in Canada

Sales of trucks and passenger cars were both down as the number of new motor vehicles sold dropped 4.8 per cent in Canada in August this year.

That's 128,764 new vehicles.

Statistics Canada reports preliminary industry data indicate new vehicle sales increased four per cent in September.

Sales of trucks (which include minivans, sport-utility vehicles, light and heavy trucks, vans and buses) fell 5.2 per cent to 73,002 in August after four straight monthly increases.

The agency says passenger cars sales dropped 4.3 per cent to 55,762.

North American-built car sales dropped 5.7 per cent and were the main contributor to the decline, while sales of overseas-built cars fell 2.6 per cent.

New vehicle sales dropped seven provinces in August.

The largest gain was in Alberta, where sales increased 2.4 per cent.

Home sales in Canada up three per cent , recession to be over by mid of 2011 : CREA

Home sales in Canada were down 20 per cent in September from the record highs of last year in what the chief economist of Canada's main real estate industry group described Friday as a trend that will continue well into next year.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) said Friday that 33,913 homes were sold in September, up three per cent from last month and the most since May.

But sales were still significantly lower than the 42,431 recorded last September, when buyers flocked to the market as the economy showed signs of recovery from the recession.

"They were pretty strong year-ago numbers, so that's to be expected," CREA's chief economist, Gregory Klump, said of the drop in comparative numbers.

However, he noted that this September's sales reflected similar sales for the month in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Prices were little changed from last year at $331,089.

Unfavourable year-over-year comparisons are expected to continue into the second quarter of next year because sales didn't start to drop from post-recession record highs until this spring, Klump said.

"We certainly do expect continued year-over-year comparisons to be negative until at least the end of the first quarter of 2011," he said.

"If you take a look at what happened from the standpoint of sales activity in late 2008, early 2009, they fell to the lowest level in a decade. And when it became apparent that the worst of the economic crisis was behind us, a lot of deferred purchases began to flood back into the market."

A pull-forward effect in advance of looming higher interest rates, tighter mortgage qualification rules and a new sales tax in Ontario and British Columbia that took effect this spring, further contributed to distorted year-on-year comparisons.

The impact of the recession on delaying purchases until late last year combined with the temporary factors that pushed sales ahead this spring condensed a flurry of demand into a very short time frame.

"It's going to take a year for those things to fall out of the numbers," Klump said.

"Even with steady numbers, compared to year ago levels, you're still going to see comparisons that are going to fall short of some pretty extraordinary sales activity one year ago."

Sherry Cooper, chief economist at the Bank of Montreal, said back-to-back advances in August and September figures followed an ugly slide in the first seven months of the year that saw sales plunge 30 per cent from peak to trough.

"The Canadian housing market has returned to balance, which still feels like a stark change from the rip-roaring sellers’ market seen (earlier this year)," she said in a note.

The slight monthly rise in sales can be attributed to falling five-year fixed mortgage rates, which have helped offset a decline in consumer confidence as the economy weakens, she added.

Shahrzad Mobasher Fard, an economist at TD Economics, said the pullback in mortgage rates will continue to stimulate borrowing and help home sale activity.

"This, together with recent developments in existing home sales activity, signal the likelihood that we are closer to a balanced market position than previously envisaged. Some firming up in existing home sales and prices may consequently be in sight," he said.

However, he warned the decelerating pace of Canada's economic growth, weak prospects for employment and income growth, and rising household indebtedness will limit Canadian existing home sales activity.

Two-thirds of local markets posted monthly increases in September, led by Winnipeg, Calgary, and Montreal, CREA said. Sales declined in only one province, Nova Scotia.

The number of new property listings coming on the market last month was up less than one per cent from August and remained 15 per cent below this year's peak in April. At current levels of activity, it would take an estimated 6.6 months to sell all the homes on the market at the end of September. That's down from 6.9 months in August and 7.2 months in July.

Watch 9/11 twin towers attack in world media

What did happen on September 11, 2001? People across the years, ages and times will try to unearth  the incident with more attention. Who did this heinous act for what purposes! Whom are the beneficiaries of this inhuman acts? History will also justify the issue with different scientific clues and symbols.   

Clock the round incidents shown in world media visible here.

Watch live 9/11 attack on World Trade Centre

Terrorists attacks on World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001 mostly known as 9/11 attack. Millions of people will remember the incident full with a very shocking as well as turning point human history. However, who is the responsible for the incident is a deep rooted question.

9/11 Attack on WTC in New york. 

Hackers in China occupies secrets of S. Korea, allegation raised

Seoul military officials say the North Korea has an army unit of elite hackers. The comments came  when the question arises from Seoul officials and diplomats that hackers in China have stolen secrets on South Korea’s defense and foreign affairs by using bogus emails, the intelligence agency said Friday.

The National Intelligence Service uncovered the hacking early this year and warned government offices about the danger of such emails, a spokesman said.

Hackers sent emails in the names of South Korean diplomats, presidential aides and other people familiar to Seoul officials.

Attached files containing viruses were disguised as important documents, such as analyzes on North Korea’s economy.

When a recipient clicked on the attachment, the virus started downloading documents in his or her computer, the spokesman said.

Lawmaker Lee Jung-Hyun of the ruling Grand National Party told parliament Thursday that a ‘considerable volume of classified documents’ was feared to have been leaked from the defense ministry and the foreign ministry.

The foreign ministry said it had asked overseas diplomatic missions to be extra alert to such hacking attempts.
The South’s intelligence service in June investigated a major ‘distributed denial of service’ cyber attack on the main government website by hackers traced to China.

The security ministry said at the time its cyber security team had been on alert for such attacks as tensions rose with North Korea.

The South’s spy chief blamed North Korea for cyber attacks from China-based servers that briefly crippled US and South Korean government and commercial websites in July 2009. US officials were uncertain of the origin.

Bangladesh Cricket Team wins 3-days ODI series against New Zealand

The world cricket lovers saw the emergence of a new and performing Bangladesh  in the final match  held on Thursday. Congratulations to the dynamic captain Shakib Al Hasan who stood tall to rewrite the record books with a colossal all-round effort in the Tigers' historic series triumph over New Zealand at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur of Dhaka in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Cricket Team celebrates their first 3-days  ODI series victory over New Zealand in their own country on October 14, 2010

The players erupted in joy, in front of an electrifying crowd who braved the scorching heat and humid condition, once Rokibul Hasan held the catch of Kane Williamson, who stood in the way of Bangladesh and victory with a resolute 108, at deep midwicket off paceman Shafiul Islam.

This ensured the Tigers' nine-run victory in the nerve-wrecking fourth one-dayer of the five-match series and gave them a 3-0 lead against New Zealand, whose chase eventually ended at 232 in 49.3 overs in reply to the hosts' 241.

The hero of the match was none other than the world's number one all-rounder Shakib who almost single handedly took Bangladesh cricket to unparalleled heights. He scored a magnificent 106, his fifth ton, when the chips were down. And as if that was not enough, he then took the ball in his golden arm and claimed three crucial wickets to complete the Kiwi blushes. His efforts can be best described as an angel coming with a magic wand to heal the pains of a country where nothing seems working properly.

With this win the Tigers conquered new territory; a series victory against a top-flight, full strength opposition.

Shakib and company silenced the cynics who have expressed qualms about the ability of the Tigers with this magnificent performance against the Black Caps who have seen a different Bangladesh in their third visit to the country.

Previously, Bangladesh have won a few matches sparsely against the top opponents but this was the first time they dominated a series from the very first game and now they still retain the chance of a whitewash.

The morning however did not show the day as a very sunny for Bangladesh.

In-form opener Shahriar Nafees returned to the dressing room in the very second ball of the innings after New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori invited his opponents to bat, and the visitors tightened their grip on the home side reducing them to 44-3.

But Shakib had other plans as the left-hander joined opener Imrul Kayes to repair the early damages. He then got able support from Mahmudullah Riyad (37) and Mushfiqur Rahim (13) to take away the visitors' early initiative during his well-composed 113-ball 106 that contained eleven fours and a six. His fifth hundred helped Bangladesh to put up a fighting total of 241 before being bundled out in 48.1 overs.

Despite the classy effort from Shakib under trying conditions, Bangladesh were still twenty runs short of their target due to lack of fire in the finishing overs. They could manage only 40 runs from the last ten overs losing five wickets, but a disciplined bowling effort made sure the total could be defended.

And when Shakib's turn came to show something with the leather, the left-arm spinner did exactly what his team required to win the match as he finished as the most successful bowler with three for 54.

Pacer Shafiul claimed the two prize scalps of Brendon McCullum, who for successive second occasion was dismissed by the right-arm paceman for 21 runs, and Williamson but the dismissal of Grant Elliot was the turning point of the match as the right-hander shared a 70-run sixth wicket stand with Williamson after the visitors were reeling at 80-5.

Elliot (22) tried to paddle against a short length ball from Shakib but top edged high in the air and it was Abdur Razzak who took an excellent running catch which emulated the former Indian captain Kapil Dev's running catch in the 1983 World Cup final against West Indies.

Threat then came from Nathan McCullum (33) but fortune favoured the brave as a brilliant throw from the deep from substitute Naeem Islam hit the stumps directly to beat McCullum's effort. His dismissal also effectively killed the hopes of New Zealand to snatch victory from the Tigers.

Shakib took the ball in the very crucial 49th over when New Zealand needed 24 runs from the last two overs and McCullum silenced the partisan crowd by hitting a boundary in the very first ball. He then managed two runs from the very next delivery but Naeem broke the hearts by sending back McCullum and in the third delivery Daryl Tuffey was dismissed by Shakib which all but confirmed the Tigers' victory.

But requiring 16 runs from last six balls with one wicket in hand, Williamson, who batted with a runner from the middle of his innings, started brilliantly taking two runs from the first delivery of Shafiul and then hitting a boundary in the next ball. But in the third ball it was time for Shafiul to jump high and bring a smile on the faces of the million cricket lovers of Bangladesh.
However, undoubtedly this victory will strengthen both the mindset and arms of the players of Bangladesh Cricket team as thought by cricket analysts of Bangladesh. Specially  it will obviously help the Bangladesh  Cricket Team in the next Cricket World Cup 2011 to be arranged jointly by Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India in the early of 2011.
Peoples from all walk of life of Bangladesh expressed their deep satisfaction over the record playing of  Bangladesh Cricket Team known widely as Tigers. 

Oct 15, 2010

Oct 14, 2010

World astonishes at the ever brilliant rescue operation of Chile

Millions of people of the world astonished at the heart-throbbing rescue scene happened  in  South American Country Chile and telecasted live in the world media. The question people can live without oxygen! Now it is proven in Chile. No artist can accomplish the act even in any cinema or serial. No fictionist can imagine and no director can think. It happens. It happened across 69 days that is 4140 hours over the 24 hours everyday on this earth.

Chile is a coastal country located in the southwest region of South America, Chile has an area of 756,950 square kilometers (292,258 square miles) and a total coastline of 6,435 kilometers (3,998 miles). Chile shares its northern border with Peru and its eastern border with Bolivia and Argentina. Comparatively, the area occupied by Chile is nearly twice the size of California. Chile's capital city, Santiago, is located at the country's latitudinal mid-point.

However, Chileans made Thursday a record-setting mine rescue. The world with the people of the South American country Chile celebrated the operation full of rhythm, apprehension and fear but full of expectation. Tears of jubilation and pleasantry also captured the world.

They were inspired by the miners' fortitude and camaraderie. They were amazed by the engineering feat that saved the men's lives. And they were grateful for some good news for a change.
From Australia to the coal fields of Appalachia, people in seemingly every corner of the world followed the Chilean miners' rescue Wednesday on TV and the Internet, and many were uplifted by the experience.
"It's a heartwarming story. It's family values. It's leadership. It's everything that we should have here," Mark Vannucci said as he watched on a TV at a restaurant in New York's Times Square. His wife, Susan, said: "Instead of those guys in the mine turning on each other, they worked together, they bonded."
The riveting images of the men being brought to the surface to see the sun, breathe fresh air and hug their loved ones for the first time in two months were broadcast live to millions of people in the U.S. and across much of the Middle East, Asia, Europe and Africa throughout the night and during the day.
Viewers were transfixed by the Chilean state video feed: a you-are-there view from a camera mounted on top of the rescue capsule that carried the miners to the surface. It showed the brilliant white light at the end of the tunnel getting bigger and bigger and finally exploding like a starburst as each man ascended.
"It feels like we're all there with them even though we're so far away in London," Jose Torra said in England. "For once it is a story with a good ending."
Some marveled at the miners' capacity to cope for so long and wondered how they would have dealt with the terror and uncertainty.
"It's pretty amazing to see them stay down there that long and not go crazy," said Tamara Craiu, a 21-year-old student from Singapore who is taking classes in London. "I'd go mad."
Many watched the first miner rescued on their laptops late Tuesday night and continued following the drama on their computers at work Wednesday. Joyous reaction poured out across Twitter and Facebook, as viewers worldwide witnessed the story unfolding in real time.
Some instantly offered their casting suggestions for a Hollywood movie about the ordeal: Tom Cruise, Ben Affleck, Nicolas Cage. The website Movieline.com suggested five directors, including Ron Howard ("Apollo 13").
In Mexico, some Internet users posted bittersweet messages, praising Chile's government but expressing regret that their country could not save the 65 miners who died in 2006 after an explosion in a coal mine.
In Spain, Elias Saguillo, one of some 50 Spanish coal miners who staged a month-long underground protest in September over unpaid wages and demands for subsidies, said he and his colleagues followed the Chilean sufferings day after day.
"Mainly we are proud of how the Chilean miners endured. From the first day through to the end, they behaved like true miners," Saguillo said after finishing his shift at the Las Cuevas mine, where he and colleagues spent 28 days at a depth of 1,650 feet.
In China, the rescue was prominently displayed on virtually all the major Chinese news websites. State television ran a segment on its evening broadcast, while the official news agency Xinhua carried an editorial praising the rescue: "For more than two months, the miners, families, citizens and the government all have created a miracle of life. The rescue reflects the shining moment of human nature."
China's mining industry is considered by far the world's deadliest, with more than 2,600 coal miners killed last year in blasts and other accidents. Those figures reflect a decrease from previous years as the government moved to improve safety by shutting down many illegal mines.
The rescue was big news in South Korea, Japan, Germany, France and Poland, a coal mining country that has also suffered many tragic mining accidents.
Clifford Aron, an American businessman who lives in Poland, said he was deeply moved by the heroism of the miners and the quality of Chile's leaders.
The TV coverage also had special resonance for Todd Russell and Brant Webb, two Australian gold miners who were trapped by an earthquake more than half than a mile underground for two weeks in 2006. Both said they were overcome by emotion as they watched from half a world away.
But Russell, 38, warned that the freed miners face a harsh adjustment. He has suffered from insomnia and nightmares since his rescue and has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, which he blames for the collapse of his marriage.
"They've got a long way to go," he told Australia's Nine Network television. "They're only in the early stages of their release."
In the coalfields of West Virginia, union representative and former coal miner William Chapman was riveted by the images of men — brothers, in a sense — being plucked one by one from what could have been their tomb. "It's a miracle," he said.
West Virginia has seen at least two major coal mining disasters since 2006 — the Sago explosion that left 12 men dead, and the Upper Big Branch blast six months ago that killed 29 workers.
The Chilean miners "may be in a different country or whatever," Chapman said, but it doesn't matter. "There's a bond there."
In Los Angeles, the Staples Center played news footage of the rescue on the overhead scoreboard during breaks in play at the Los Angeles Kings-Atlanta Thrashers hockey game, eliciting warm cheers from the crowd.
When the first miner reached the surface, the crowd drank champagne and sang the Chilean national anthem.
On Wednesday, people continued to come in and out of the restaurant, eyes glued to the television.
"I'm here, but it's as if I was there," said Pedro Lobolledo, who stopped in on his way to work cleaning a medical building. "Look how I am," he said, pointing to the hairs standing up on his arms.
"We are accustomed to catastrophe," he said, referring to the earthquake that struck Chile earlier this year. "And now a miracle."