Truthout | News in Brief (2)

The Washington Post reports that rescuers suspended efforts early Tuesday to find four missing coal miners in West Virginia after a mine explosion killed 25 others in the deadliest such disaster in the country in decades. The explosion Monday happened in the Upper Big Branch Mine, owned by Richmond-based Massey Energy Co. in Montcoal, West Virginia, about 30 miles south of Charleston. It also left authorities with small hope that the missing miners could be found alive more than 1,000 feet underground amid a buildup of toxic methane gas.

The New York Times reports that deadly blasts shook Baghdad for the second time in three days on Tuesday, deepening fears that Iraq was teetering on the edge of a new outbreak of insurgent and sectarian violence. At least seven bombings of both Shiite and Sunni residential areas of the capital killed 35 people and wounded more than 140. The bombings came against a backdrop of continuing political instability after the March 7 parliamentary elections created a fractured result that has left no single group with the ability to form a government.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Ismael “el Mayo” Zambada, one of the senior members of the Sinoloa drug cartel of the Mexican government’s war against the illegal trade in that country, said in an interview that Mexican President Felipe Calderon is being “duped” by advisers into believing that the government is making progress in eradicating the cartels. Zambada told the investigative magazine Proceso: “One day I will decide to turn myself in to the government so they can shoot me…. They will shoot me and euphoria will break out. But at the end of days we’ll all know that nothing changed.”

The Hill reports that conservative GOP Sen. Tom Coburn defended Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and criticized Fox News in audio released Tuesday. Coburn, of Oklahoma, spoke at a recent town hall meeting that was taped by KGOU Radio. When discussing the short-term unemployment benefits extension that he is stalling, Coburn said he is “180 degrees in opposition” to Pelosi but that “she is a nice lady.” After an audience member suggested that the government could jail people for not buying health insurance under the new health care law, Coburn said, “that makes for good TV news on Fox but that isn’t the intention.”

Talking Points Memo reports that “with Republicans poised for a strong showing in the November midterms, the Republican National Committee is reeling from a spending scandal that has now led to the resignation of top figures in the party and threatens to squander the political wind Republicans have at their backs.” The catalyst of the current crisis was the revelation just over a week ago in the Daily Caller that about $2,000 of RNC funds had been used at Voyeur West Hollywood, a bondage-themed club, at an event to court young donors.