Tonight we’re following breaking news out of West Virginia, where an underground mine explosion has killed at least seven miners and injured 21. Another 21 are missing.
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We’re following breaking news out of West Virginia, where an underground mine explosion has killed at least six miners and injured 21. Another 21 are missing. The blast happened around 4:30 p.m. EST at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine in Raleigh County. At least 20 ambulances and three helicopters have been dispatched to the scene.
After the Sago mine disaster in West Virginia four years ago, Congress mandated new safety equipment–including high-tech communications and tracking gear–for underground mines nationwide. But according to the Charleston Gazette, just 34 of the 415 mines required to meet the new requirements have installed the equipment. That’s just over 8 percent.
It’s not clear yet if the Upper Big Branch mine had installed the new equipment – or even if such equipment will be a factor in this story. As we prepare for air, our reporters and producers are scrambling to nail down the facts of today’s accident. We’ll have the latest on the rescue efforts underway.
There’s also important news out of Haiti, where aid workers are racing to prevent another potential disaster. The rainy season is a grave threat to camps for homeless Haitians. A U.N. worker in Port-au Prince told the Washington Post, "The rainy season is a freight train headed right at us." Actor Sean Penn joins us tonight from Haiti, where his aid group is scrambling to help relocate homeless quake survivors ahead of the worst of the rains.
Tiger Woods today held his first news conference since reports of his infidelity surfaced. He talked to reporters for 35 minutes at the Augusta National Golf Club where he’s preparing for the Masters Tournament. But he didn’t answer all their questions. Woods told reporters that he’s emerged from rehab a better man. "I'm trying as hard as I possibly can each and every day to get my life better and better and stronger, and if I win championships along the way, so be it," Woods said. Asked what the rehab was for, he replied, "That's personal, thank you." He did say he’s continuing treatment, which is widely thought to be for sex addiction. Tonight you’ll hear from Tiger in his own words.
In raw politics, the Republican National Committee’s top aide is resigning. This as Michael Steele, the group’s chairman, is under increasing pressure to step down. Steele is accused of allowing excessive spending, including $2,000 in party funds to entertain young donors at a Hollywood bondage club. Now, he’s given his critics new ammunition by bringing race into the political equation. Tonight, what he said, how the White House responded and more.
See you at 10 p.m. eastern.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/WORLD/americas/03/12/recovery.dangers.haiti/t1larg.recovery.gi.jpg caption="Haitians desperately try to enter the police station where an aid distribution point has been set up in Port-au-Prince." width=300 height=169]
Tonight we have a report on the situation on the ground in Haiti. Sean Penn will talk to Anderson about how relief is reaching Haitians and whether or not the situation has improved. Penn has been working in Haiti since the earthquake with his organization, the J/P Haitian Relief Organization.
The mission of J/P HRO is to “save lives and bring relief to the Haitian people quickly and effectively.”
Learn more about what the organization is doing in Haiti here..
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/US/10/07/coal.river/art.coal.mtn.cnn.jpg caption="West Virginia: the site of a mine explosion today, leaving 20 unaccounted for."]
An explosion occurred Monday in a West Virginia mine, leaving more than 20 people unaccounted for, said Jimmy Gianato, director of homeland security for the state.
West Virginia's state mine director reported that six coal miners were dead and 21 were missing after the explosion in Raleigh County, according to CNN affiliate WCHS.
The explosion happened at about 4:30 p.m. at Massey Energy's Performance Coal Co. mine in Whitesville, 30 miles south of Charleston, it said.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/US/01/10/tilghman.woods/art.tigerwoods.gi.jpg caption="Woods spoke to the media today on his return to golf after his recent scandal."]
Golfer Tiger Woods spoke to the media and took questions Monday at the Augusta National Golf Club as he prepares to return to golf at the Masters Tournament this week. In his first news conference since scandal broke, Woods said the six weeks he spent in rehab for sex addiction changed him.
The following is the full transcript.
TIGER WOODS: Well, today I got a chance to play with Craig there - I'm sorry - Craig - Freddie. And then Jim joined us on the 13th hole. And it was - just, what a great day today.
Coming into today, I didn't know what to respect with regards to reception. And I'll tell you what, the galleries couldn't be nicer. I mean, it was just incredible.
And the encouragement that I got, and - it was just - it blew me away, to be honest with you. It really did.
And, you know, the people here over the years have been extremely respectful. But today was just something that really touched my heart pretty good.
I would also like to, I guess, make another little comment before we start.
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Foreign Policy in Focus
Lately, the news from Mexico has not been particularly positive. Every day the number of victims of the ongoing turf wars in the northern border area of the country grows. In 2009, Mexico reported 7,724 drug war-related deaths,1 while in January of this year alone, the number of people killed in Ciudad Juárez reached a stunning 227. Recently, over the weekend of March 13, 2010, nearly 50 people were killed in that bloody city, including employees and family members of the U.S. Consulate. Most scholars and politicians believe that these deaths are all related to drug gang activity, implying that they are the result of in-gang struggles for control of businesses and territory; fights amongst gangs for routes, and because of clashes with the military.
Much of the discussion and debate regarding the sad situation along the U.S.-Mexican border has been centered on analyzing drug policy and immigration laws. No doubt failed drug policies and practices are fueling much of the violence across the American border. More recently, however, and for the purposes of this essay, a focused discussion on the guns that fuel such violence is taking shape.
Mexico has very strict gun-ownership laws. While the country’s constitution allows for citizens to bear arms, the conditions it places on this ownership—through amendments to the constitution—are much more limiting. Indeed, only one entity is permitted to sell weapons, and it is run by the army. This does not imply that the situation is perfectly controlled, however; there are certainly ways around any law or institutional arrangement. Yet the violence in the northern border states of Mexico seems to be nurtured not only by weapons acquired illegally from Mexico, but also by those trafficked illegally from the United States.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/04/02/democrats.tea.party/t1larg.teadems.jpg caption="Tea Party supporters, whose party affiliation is not known, rally in Grand Junction, Colorado." width=300 height=169]
Julian E. Zelizer
Special to CNN
As he stood before the delegates of the 1964 Republican Convention in San Francisco, California, Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, the party's presidential nominee, said, "I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."
The delegates, who had booed New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller when he called for the party to respect moderation, were thrilled. Many of Goldwater's supporters were determined to push their party toward the right wing of the political spectrum. They felt that their party leaders, including President Eisenhower, had simply offered a watered-down version of the New Deal.
Yet Goldwater soon learned that extremism could quickly become a political vice, particularly to a party seeking to regain control of the White House. The right wing of the Republican Party in the early 1960s inhabited a world that included extremist organizations, such as the John Birch Society, that railed against communism.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/LIVING/03/25/cnnheroes.how.to.nominate/t1larg.nomform.jpg caption="Nominations for 2010 CNN Heroes are being accepted through August 1 at CNN.com/Heroes." width=300 height=169]
Great things can happen to those nominated as CNN Heroes:
• Anne Mahlum's Philadelphia running program is now helping the homeless get "back on their feet" in Baltimore and Washington.
• Doc Hendley's 'Wine to Water' organization, which works in three continents, is building sustainable water filtration systems in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.
• Jordan Thomas, 20, has raised more than $500,000 to provide prosthetics to underserved children - including Haiti.
Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:
U.S. President Barack Obama prepares to blow a whistle and start the Easter Egg Roll at the White House April 5, 2010 in Washington, DC. About 30,000 people are expected to attend attended the 132-year-old tradition of rolling colored eggs down the South Lawn of the White House.
Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/10/art.steele0110.gi.jpg caption="Steele: 'slimmer margin for error.'"]
CNN Ticker Producer
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele defended his leadership of the organization amid recent reports he has engaged in excessive spending, and says he has a "slimmer margin for error" because he is African-American.
"Barack Obama has a slimmer margin," Steele said in an interview on ABC's 'Good Morning America.' "We all – a lot of folks do. I mean, it's a different role for me to play and others to play. And that's just the reality of it. It's more of because you're not somebody they know. I am not a Washington insider even though I grew up in DC. My view of politics is much more grassroots-oriented. It's not old-boy-network-oriented."
The interview was Steele's first since reports surfaced that the RNC paid for a night out at a risqué Hollywood nightclub. Steele has also come under criticism for the costs associated with his use of private jets, limousines, and five-star hotels.