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From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Disaster looms as oil slick reaches US coast

by Erica Berenstein, AFP

21 mins ago

VENICE, Louisiana (AFP) – Oil from a giant Gulf of Mexico slick washed onto Louisiana shores Friday, threatening an environmental calamity as President Barack Obama called for a “thorough review” of the disaster.

With up to 200,000 gallons of oil a day spewing into the Gulf of Mexico from a ruptured well, the accident stemming from a sunken offshore rig may soon rival the Exxon Valdez disaster as the worst oil spill in US history.

Strong southeast winds blew the first oily strands of the slick directly onto the coastal wetlands of South Pass near the mouth of the Mississippi river late Thursday, Billy Nungesser, president of Plaquemines Parish, where oil washed ashore, told AFP.

2 Disaster looms as oil slick closes on US coast

by Allen Johnson, AFP

Thu Apr 29, 6:04 pm ET

VENICE, Louisiana (AFP) – A giant oil slick threatened economic and environmental devastation Thursday as it closed in on Louisiana’s vulnerable coast, prompting the US government to declare a national disaster.

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency and called for urgent help to prevent fragile wetlands and vital fishing communities along the coast from pollution on a massive scale.

The wind started to strengthen and blow the 600-square-mile (1,550-square-kilometer) slick directly onto the coast, where a rich variety of wildlife were at risk in the maze of marshes that amounts to 40 percent of the US wetlands.

3 Greek PM urges sacrifice as social tensions mount

by John Hadoulis, AFP

2 hrs 4 mins ago

ATHENS (AFP) – The Greek prime minister urged his country to accept unpopular spending cuts Friday, warning that the nation’s survival was at stake as the government closed in on an international debt bailout.

Prime Minister George Papandreou made his appeal hours after fresh protests over austerity measures demanded by creditors in return for a European Union-IMF rescue deal which officials expect to conclude this weekend.

Amid mounting social tensions expected to surge during labour day parades on Saturday and a general strike on Wednesday, Papandreou told the Greek parliament: “Today what is most important is the survival of the nation.

Remember, this is not a bailout of Greece but of the banks and bond holders.

4 Clashes erupt as Greek bailout deal nears

by John Hadoulis, AFP

Thu Apr 29, 3:35 pm ET

ATHENS (AFP) – Greek police clashed with protesters Thursday as the troubled nation came under intense pressure to force through extra cuts in return for a giant bailout deal said to be just days away.

Police fired tear gas at hundreds of demonstrators trying to approach the finance ministry in Athens in protest at austerity cuts aimed at reducing Greece’s budget deficit, which has ignited Europe-wide fears.

“Around 500 people were demonstrating and some of them tried to break through a police cordon guarding the ministry,” a police source told AFP. Further clashes erupted outside parliament, an AFP photographer said.

5 EU’s Barroso says confident Greece will contain crisis

by John Hadoulis, AFP

Fri Apr 30, 3:54 am ET

ATHENS (AFP) – European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Friday he was confident Greece’s debt crisis could be contained, a day after Athens police battled protesters objecting to austerity plans.

Greece is in negotiations with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund on a financial bailout that its government says is desperately needed by May 19 in order to avoid a devastating debt default.

“I’m confident that the talks will be concluded soon, meaning in the next days,” Barroso told a press conference at the end of a visit to Beijing.

6 Spain jobless rate tops 20%, adding to debt worries

by Daniel Silva, AFP

Fri Apr 30, 10:19 am ET

MADRID (AFP) – Spain’s jobless rate topped 20 percent in the first quarter, official data showed Friday, fuelling fears over the country’s public finances which have rattled global financial markets.

The number of unemployed jumped by 280,200 to 4.61 million, more than in Germany which has nearly twice Spain’s population, for a jobless rate of 20.05 percent, said national statistics institute INE.

The unemployment rate rose from 18.83 percent in the fourth quarter.

7 Thai protesters storm Bangkok hospital

by Anusak Konglang, AFP

2 hrs 35 mins ago

BANGKOK (AFP) – A hospital in the Thai capital evacuated most of its patients Friday after it was stormed by “Red Shirt” protesters who mistakenly believed troops were hiding there following recent violence.

Chulalongkorn Hospital also stopped receiving outpatients following the Thursday night incident, in which some 100 Red Shirt guards searched its buildings for troops they feared were preparing for a crackdown.

Tensions are high in Bangkok following the worst political violence in almost two decades which has left 27 people dead and almost 1,000 injured this month in a series of bloody confrontations.

8 Shanghai kicks off World Expo with lavish show

by D’Arcy Doran, AFP

2 hrs 56 mins ago

SHANGHAI (AFP) – Fireworks illuminated the Shanghai skyline in a blaze of colour as China kicked off the six-month World Expo late Friday with a lavish star-studded opening gala attended by a host of world leaders.

Still basking in the glow of its successful staging of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, China is treating the Expo as an equally important showcase for its growing political and economic clout.

From the United States to North Korea, a total of 189 countries will take part in the six-month display of ideas, culture and technology expected to attract at least 70 million visitors — the vast majority of them Chinese.

9 Farmer sets himself ablaze in China school attack

by Dan Martin, AFP

Fri Apr 30, 6:24 am ET

BEIJING (AFP) – A farmer attacked children with a hammer at a primary school in eastern China on Friday before fatally setting himself on fire in the latest in a wave of apparent copy-cat attacks, state media said.

The rampage in Shandong province left five children and a teacher hurt but in stable condition, Xinhua news agency said, as China ordered stepped up security at schools nationwide to prevent further attacks.

Before the incident, China had seen three stabbing frenzies at schools in the past month, including two this week alone, by mentally disturbed adults that left eight children dead and nearly 50 injured.

I wouldn’t normally cover this, but with 3 attacks in 3 days this is not a tragedy, it’s a trend.

10 Curtain call for Japan’s premier kabuki theatre

by Shigemi Sato, AFP

1 hr 36 mins ago

TOKYO (AFP) – Hundreds of people swarmed Tokyo’s Kabukiza, the celebrated home of Japan’s traditional kabuki drama, as it closed its doors Friday to be demolished and rebuilt into a high rise tower.

Many were unable to get inside the 60-year-old landmark theatre for sold-out closing ceremonies with all-star dance dramas, including a story about a young woman who is possessed by unrequited love and turns into a serpent.

For decades, the Kabukiza has been the premier venue to see the 400-year-old stylised performing art whose all-male actors perform in extravagant costumes and mask-like facial makeup.

11 Brown fails to win back voters in last British debate

by Guy Jackson, AFP

Thu Apr 29, 6:35 pm ET

LONDON (AFP) – British Prime Minister Gordon Brown sought to recover from a major gaffe by trumpeting his economic credentials in the final pre-election TV debate Thursday, but polls showed he failed to convince voters.

Two snap surveys after the debate revealed that David Cameron, the leader of the main opposition Conservatives, had won the debate just a week before the election.

Brown was fighting for his political life after he described a widowed voter as “bigoted” when she challenged him about immigration during a campaign visit on Wednesday, but he slumped to last in both polls.

12 NATO troops raid Afghan MP’s home, kill relative

by Samoon Miakhail, AFP

Thu Apr 29, 2:28 pm ET

SURKH ROD, Afghanistan (AFP) – NATO troops raided the home of a prominent Afghan lawmaker, killing a relative, police and the MP said Thursday, as the French military admitted accidentally killing civilians.

NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed an overnight operation in eastern Nangarhar province’s Surkh Rod district and said troops killed an “individual” because he was carrying a gun.

The soldiers were “pursuing a Taliban facilitator” in the area, ISAF said in a statement, without mentioning the MP.

13 Belgian lawmakers vote to ban wearing of Islamic burqa in public

AFP

Thu Apr 29, 3:30 pm ET

BRUSSELS (AFP) – Belgian lawmakers voted overwhelmingly Thursday to ban the wearing of the Islamic burqa in public, paving the way for the first clampdown of its kind in Europe.

In the lower house of federal parliament, 136 deputies voted to ban nationwide clothes or veils that do not allow the wearer to be fully identified, including the full-face niqab and burqa.

There were two abstentions. No one voted against.

14 Battle on to protect shore from massive oil spill

By Carlos Barria, Reuters

2 hrs 34 mins ago

VENICE, Louisiana (Reuters) – A huge spreading oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico washed up to coastal Louisiana wildlife and seafood areas on Friday and the U.S. government and military struggled to avert what could become one of the nation’s worst ecological disasters.

With leading edges of the slick lapping up to outlying marshes and waterways on the fringes of the Mississippi Delta, the Coast Guard deployed protective equipment called booms along the coast in a bid to stop oil from soiling the shore.

Oil is pouring out of a blown-out undersea well off Louisiana at a rate of up to 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons or 955,000 liters) a day. Forecasters say the spill could affect Mississippi, Alabama and northwest Florida in coming days.

15 BP CEO says will pay oil spill claims

By Tom Bergin, Reuters

Fri Apr 30, 10:45 am ET

LONDON (Reuters) – BP Plc will compensate all those affected by an oil spill from one of its wells in the Gulf of Mexico, its chief executive said, accepting the disaster could hit plans to open new areas off the U.S. coast to drilling.

“We are taking full responsibility for the spill and we will clean it up and where people can present legitimate claims for damages we will honor them. We are going to be very, very aggressive in all of that,” Tony Hayward told Reuters in an interview on Friday.

The massive spill, which started when an oil rig caught fire and sank last week, washed up to wildlife refuges and seafood grounds on the Louisiana coast on Friday.

16 Germany sees private sector helping Greece

By Dina Kyriakidou, Reuters

2 hrs 33 mins ago

ATHENS (Reuters) – European banks will contribute to a multi-billion euro Greek bailout, Germany said on Friday, as talks to secure European Union and IMF aid to Athens in return for draconian budget cuts edged toward a deal.

Negotiations on the aid package could be wrapped up by Saturday, the European Commission said, and private sector involvement could make it easier for EU governments to persuade skeptical taxpayers to rescue Greece from its debt crisis.

German Vice Chancellor Guido Westerwelle compared the need for the private sector to support Athens with Berlin’s planned levy on banks to insure against future bank crises.

17 Thai protesters on defensive after storming hospital

By Ambika Ahuja, Reuters

Fri Apr 30, 6:53 am ET

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thai anti-government protesters were apologetic on Friday a day after a clumsy storming of a hospital that raised questions over whether the movement is losing direction in a two-month crisis that has killed 27 people.

Protest leaders apologized after more than 200 “red shirts” forced their way into Chulalongkorn University Hospital late on Thursday to look for soldiers they accused of preparing an attack, forcing the hospital to evacuate some patients.

They didn’t find any and left after roaming for an hour through the grounds, the lobby and car parks, some carrying wooden staves.

18 Democrats unveil immigration reform plan

By Thomas Ferraro and Tim Gaynor, Reuters

Thu Apr 29, 9:15 pm ET

WASHINGTON/PHOENIX (Reuters) – Senate Democratic leaders unveiled on Thursday an outline for overhauling the country’s “broken” immigration system as protests mounted against Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigrants.

With an estimated 10.8 million people in the United States illegally, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and fellow Democrats said the first step toward reform must be bolstered U.S. border security.

Also on Thursday, the first legal and political challenges to Arizona’s new controversial law were filed in the state, and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa endorsed an economic boycott of Arizona by the second-largest U.S. city.

19 Iraq’s Maliki rejects rival’s call for intervention

By Rania El Gamal, Reuters

Fri Apr 30, 10:15 am ET

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq’s prime minister on Friday criticized his main rival in last month’s inconclusive election for wanting outside intervention, and denounced what he said was the foreign powers’ desire to stage a ballot box coup.

Nuri al-Maliki’s angry words added to a political crisis stirred up by attempts by Shi’te-led groups, including the premier’s bloc, to overturn a slim lead in a March 7 vote posted by a cross-sectarian alliance that won strong Sunni support.

The Sunni-backed list led by secular ex-premier Iyad Allawi called this week for an internationally monitored caretaker government after its two-seat election lead was threatened by a recount of votes in Baghdad and a bid to disqualify candidates.

20 After TV win, Cameron tries to win UK voters’ trust

By Estelle Shirbon, Reuters

Fri Apr 30, 9:19 am ET

LONDON (Reuters) – Energized by a clear win in a final TV debate, Conservative leader David Cameron sought on Friday to convince waverers in a tight election race they could trust him with Britain’s future.

With a week to go before an election, snap viewer polls judged Cameron, 43, the victor of the third and final TV debate on Thursday night. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, 43, was second while Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown, 59, came last.

“This election is far from over. We are now entering the most energetic and the most important stage of this campaign … I’m taking nothing for granted,” Cameron said during an upbeat campaign stop at a school in Derby in central England.

21 Japan PM renews vow to resolve U.S. base row

By Isabel Reynolds, Reuters

Fri Apr 30, 7:36 am ET

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on Friday reiterated his pledge to resolve a row over moving a U.S. Marine base, though he has yet to formally reveal a plan a month ahead of a self-imposed deadline.

The feud over the Futenma base on Japan’s southern Okinawa islands has helped erode support for Hatoyama’s government, which slid to about 20 percent in a poll this week after a judicial panel said ruling party kingpin Ichiro Ozawa should be charged over a funding scandal.

Hatoyama also said that while the panel’s decision will likely have an impact on the upper house vote that is expected in July or August, he wants Ozawa to stay on as the Democratic Party’s secretary-general until the election.

22 Florida’s Crist launches independent Senate bid

By Robert Green, Reuters

Thu Apr 29, 8:31 pm ET

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Reuters) – Florida Governor Charlie Crist announced an independent bid for the U.S. Senate on Thursday, breaking ranks with his Republican Party and setting the stage for a close race in the battleground state.

The 53-year-old Crist announced his widely expected nonaffiliated Senate bid at a rally in a park in his hometown, St. Petersburg.

Accused by conservative Republicans of being too moderate, although he has been a party fixture in the state capital, Tallahassee, for more than 15 years, the first-term governor has lagged far behind conservative rival Marco Rubio in the race for the Republican nomination.

23 New drilling on hold as Gulf spill oil washes up

By CAIN BURDEAU, Associated Press Writer

58 mins ago

MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER – Oil from a massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico oozed into Louisiana’s ecologically rich wetlands Friday as storms threatened to frustrate desperate protection efforts. The White House put a hold on any new offshore oil projects until safeguards are in place to prevent rig explosions like the one that caused the spill.

Boats patrolled coastal marshes early Friday looking for areas where the oil has flowed in, the Coast Guard said, and the state of Louisiana diverted thousands of gallons of fresh water from the Mississippi River to try to flush out the wetlands, though that effort was being hampered by wind.

The Louisiana National Guard prepared to send communication equipment, boats, all-terrain vehicles and other equipment to help.

24 Obama: New oil leases will need safeguards

By H. JOSEF HEBERT and JULIE PACE, Associated Press Writers

33 mins ago

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Friday directed that no new offshore oil drilling leases be issued unless rigs have new safeguards to prevent a repeat of the explosion that unleashed the massive spill threatening the Gulf Coast with major environmental damage.

Obama ordered Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to report within 30 days on what new technologies are needed to tighten safeguards against oil spills from deep water drilling rigs.

“We are going to make sure that any leases going forward have those safeguards,” said Obama at a White House Rose Garden event.

Deepwater Horizon was state of the art and last inspected for safety on April 1st.  What other safeguards do you have in mind?

25 Higher consumer spending in Q1 still lacks vigor

By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer

12 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Consumers spent more and helped lift the economy last quarter but not enough to ignite the recovery and drive down unemployment.

Spending by consumers rose by the fastest pace in three years, the Commerce Department said Friday . That helped the economy grow at a 3.2 percent pace in the January-to-March quarter. It marked the third straight quarterly gain as the United States heals from the longest and deepest recession since the 1930s.

Still, growth was weaker than in the fourth quarter of last year, when the economy grew at 5.6 percent. The first-quarter’s performance would normally be considered respectable in normal times. Yet coming out of the severe recession, more robust growth is needed to drive down high joblessness, stimulate wage increases and lift consumer spending.

26 Britain’s candidates agree: This race is wide open

By RAPHAEL G. SATTER, Associated Press Writers

41 mins ago

LONDON – Divided over the country’s ballooning debt, the economy and the contentious issue of immigration, the three front runners in Britain’s general election can still agree on one thing: This race is anyone’s to win.

Conservative challenger David Cameron, fresh off what observers said was his best live televised debate performance to date, told BBC radio that next week’s national election was “still far from won.”

Nick Clegg, still riding higher in the polls than most political observers had ever expected, said the campaign was “wide open.”

27 Spain jobless rate over 20 pct, adding to woes

By DANIEL WOOLLS, Associated Press Writer

2 hrs 36 mins ago

MADRID – Spain’s jobless rate has risen over 20 percent for the first time since 1997, the government said Friday – more dismal news for a recession-plagued economy that is being dragged into Europe’s debt crisis.

The National Statistics Institute said the rate rose 1.22 percentage points in the first quarter to 20.05 percent.

While other major economies in Europe and elsewhere have posted at least tepid growth as they crawl out of recession, the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy is still contracting after the collapse of a construction boom that had fueled years of expansion.

28 China tightens school security after 3rd attack

By TINI TRAN, Associated Press Writer

20 mins ago

BEIJING – Armed police will patrol schools in China’s capital after a farmer attacked kindergarten students with a hammer, then burned himself to death Friday in the third classroom assault in as many days.

The government ordered schools across the country to tighten security, and anxious parents of students targeted in an earlier attack marched in protest Friday night, demanding a better government response to the crisis.

In the latest assault, Wang Yonglai used a motorcycle to break down the gate of the Shangzhuang Primary School in the city of Weifang and struck a teacher who tried to block him before hitting students with a hammer, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

29 Goldman shares plunge as feds open criminal probe

By MARCY GORDON, AP Business Writer

1 hr 4 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. plunged 9 percent Friday after word that the Justice Department had opened a criminal investigation of the Wall Street powerhouse over mortgage securities deals it arranged.

The criminal inquiry follows civil fraud charges filed by the government against Goldman two weeks ago and as Congress pushes toward enacting sweeping legislation aimed at preventing another near-meltdown of the financial system.

The investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan stems from a criminal referral by the Securities and Exchange Commission, a knowledgeable person said Thursday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the inquiry is in a preliminary phase.

30 Crist relies on the people, not GOP, in Senate bid

By BRENDAN FARRINGTON, Associated Press Writer

Fri Apr 30, 6:54 am ET

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Charlie Crist dubbed himself “The People’s Governor” as he brought a bipartisan spirit to Tallahassee.

Now that partisanship is at a peak, he wants to be “The People’s Senator,” vowing to change his registration to no party affiliation and abandon the Republican primary for a populist run for Senate.

In a short speech before hundreds of supporters in a park near his apartment, Crist on Thursday repeatedly referred to “the people” in explaining his decision to run on his own after falling far behind Republican Marco Rubio in a race most a year ago said was Crist’s to win.

31 Hawaii lawmakers OK civil unions, send bill to gov

By MARK NIESSE, Associated Press Writer

Fri Apr 30, 6:55 am ET

HONOLULU – Hawaii is a step closer to joining a small group of other states in allowing same-sex civil unions.

In a move that still needs the governor’s signature to become law, the House of Representatives Thursday night approved a measure that has drawn some of the state’s biggest protest rallies.

Republican Gov. Linda Lingle hasn’t said whether she’ll reject it or sign it into law but her office said later that she will carefully review the bill.

32 Obama takes immigration reform off agenda

By SUZANNE GAMBOA, Associated Press Writer

Fri Apr 30, 2:31 am ET

WASHINGTON – Immigration reform has become the first of President Barack Obama’s major priorities dropped from the agenda of an election-year Congress facing voter disillusionment. Sounding the death knell was Obama himself.

The president noted that lawmakers may lack the “appetite” to take on immigration while many of them are up for re-election and while another big legislative issue – climate change – is already on their plate.

“I don’t want us to do something just for the sake of politics that doesn’t solve the problem,” Obama told reporters Wednesday night aboard Air Force One.

Anyone who claims to be about electoral victory is a liar.  See you in November.

33 Activists hope Ariz. law opposition boosts rallies

By SOPHIA TAREEN, Associated Press Writer

39 mins ago

CHICAGO – Immigrant rights activists hope Arizona’s controversial immigration law will spark scores of people to protest in May 1 rallies nationwide and add urgency to pleas for federal immigration reform.

Dozens of marches are planned for Saturday in cities across the country from Los Angeles to Dallas to New York.

“What happened in Arizona proves that racism and anti-immigrant hysteria across the country still exists. We need to continue to fight,” said Lee Siu Hin, a coordinator with the Washington, D.C.-based National Immigrant Solidarity Network.

34 Ky. mine where 2 died had roof support problems

By BRETT BARROUQUERE and ROGER ALFORD, Associated Press Writer

Fri Apr 30, 2:32 am ET

PROVIDENCE, Ky. – The underground coal mine where two workers were killed in a roof collapse has been cited at least six times this year for using too few supporting bolts in the roof, state records show.

The rock fall that killed the men happened late Wednesday about four miles inside the Dotiki Mine and instability in the roof hampered rescue efforts, mining officials said Thursday.

Rescuers were “within an arm’s length” of the body of a miner trapped under rock when the roof became unstable and they had to retreat, said Gov. Steve Beshear, who traveled to the mine and met with families of the victims.

35 Navy to allow women to serve on submarines

By RUSS BYNUM, AP Military Writer Russ Bynum, Ap Military Writer   – Thu Apr 29, 11:44 pm ET

KINGS BAY NAVAL SUBMARINE BASE, Ga. – The first U.S. women allowed to serve aboard submarines will be reporting for duty by 2012, the Navy said Thursday as the military ordered an end to one of its few remaining gender barriers.

The cramped quarters and scant privacy aboard submarines, combined with long tours of up to 90 days at sea, kept them off-limits to female sailors for 16 years after the Navy began allowing women to serve on all its surface ships in 1994.

There were some protests, particularly from wives of sub sailors, after the military began formulating a plan last fall. But it received no objections from Congress after Defense Secretary Robert Gates notified lawmakers in mid-February that the Navy intended to lift the ban. The deadline for Congress to intervene passed at midnight Wednesday.

36 Parents using text, IM, e-mail to avoid kid ears

By LEANNE ITALIE, Associated Press Writer

22 mins ago

Parents who want a way to talk so little ears can’t hear have moved beyond s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g in favor of a new kid-proof system: the text message.

E-mail, text and instant messaging have become the go-to technology for parents on family outings or at the end of a long day, when mom’s chilling on the couch in front of the TV and dad’s reading in the bedroom more than a whisper away.

“There was a time when I would get really upset if I was IMed from another room in the house. Now it’s a complete parental survival tool,” says KellyAnn Bonnell, whose kids are 10 and 15.

37 Tests of Army dirigibles to use drones, missiles

By MIKE STARK, Associated Press Writer

46 mins ago

SALT LAKE CITY – Proving the capability of high-tech military balloons will require buzzing drones, jets and an occasional unarmed surface-to-air missile.

Most of the tests will be conducted in military air space above the Snake Valley in Utah during the next several years. Some test flights are scheduled over the northern part of Great Salt Lake.

The military held a series of public meetings this week about the project.

38 Special graduations set 40 years after Kent State

By DAN SEWELL, Associated Press Writer

2 hrs 2 mins ago

CINCINNATI – Forty years later, Gary Lownsdale is still haunted by what he felt and what he saw in the last days of his senior year.

Shock and outrage over the May 4 National Guard slayings of four Kent State University students, on the other end of Ohio from his University of Cincinnati campus. Then fear and confusion as schools across the state and much of the country saw the demonstrations against the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia swell into angry, combative confrontations.

One by one, colleges closed and students were ordered to pack up and leave, some amid the acrid smell of tear gas as police and armed soldiers stood guard. TV helicopters buzzed overhead. Rumors and reports were rampant, of undercover FBI agents infiltrating students, or violent radicals converging to escalate the protests.

39 Many endangered turtles dying on Texas Gulf Coast

By RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI, Associated Press Writer

Fri Apr 30, 5:35 am ET

HIGH ISLAND, Texas – Flies buzz everywhere and the stench is overwhelming as biologist Lyndsey Howell stops to analyze the remains of yet another endangered sea turtle washed up from the Gulf of Mexico.

“It’s been on the beach for a while,” Howell says, flipping over the decomposing, dried-out shell.

More than 30 dead turtles have been found stranded on Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula south of Houston this month – an unusually high number that has puzzled researchers, in part because most are so decomposed that there are few clues left about why they died.

5 comments

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    • TMC on April 30, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    This oil spill is really an epic environmental tragedy. The timing could not have been worse for Obama but the Republican’s are no better, so what will voters do in November?  

    • Edger on April 30, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    by Jason Leopold, April 30, 2010

    British Petroleum (BP) has broken federal laws and violated its own internal procedures by failing to maintain crucial safety and engineering documents related to one of the firms other deepwater production projects in the Gulf of Mexico, a former contractor who worked for the oil behemoth claimed in internal emails and other documents obtained by Truthout.

    The whistleblower, whose name has been withheld at the person’s request because the whistleblower still works in the oil industry and fears retaliation, first raised concerns about safety issues related to BP Atlantis, the world’s largest and deepest semi-submersible oil and natural gas platform, located about 200 miles south of New Orleans, in November 2008. Atlantis, which began production in October 2007, has the capacity to produce about 8.4 million gallons of oil and 180 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

    It was then that the whistleblower, who was hired to supervise the company’s databases, discovered that Atlantis had been operating without a majority of the engineer-approved documents it needed to run safely, leaving it vulnerable to a catastrophic disaster that would far surpass the massive oil spill that began last week following a deadly explosion on a BP-operated drilling rig.

    BP’s own internal communications show that company officials were aware of the issue and feared that the document shortfalls related to Atlantis “could lead to catastrophic operator error.”

    read it all here…

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