Thursday, April 29, 2010

FP morning brief 4/29

Gulf of Mexico oil spill five times larger than previously thought

Top story: U.S. Coast Guard officials say the amount of oil seeping from a sunken rig in the Gulf of Mexico has increased to as much as 5,000 barrels a day, five times more than was originally thought. The 100-mile wide oil slick caused by the leak is now only 16 miles off the coast of Louisiana.

A third leak has also been discovered in the pipeline connecting the sunken rig to the oil well. The first two were discovered a few days after the explosion on the Deep Horizon on April 20. The Coast Guard also attempted a controlled burn of part of the oil slick on Wednesday, an operation they say was successful.

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal has requested emergency help from the federal government as the oil slick nears the coast. If large amounts of oil reach the shore, it could be devastating to the state's coastal wetlands as well as its fishing industry.

The chief operating officer of oil giant BP, which owns the leaking well, says the company would welcome the help of the military in containing the spill.

Greek crisis: The I.M.F. has agreed to increase its aid package to Greece to 120 million euros over three years.

  • Thailand's pro-government yellow-shirt protesters marched to demand a return to order in Bangkok and a crackdown on the anti-government red-shirts.
  • Intelligence officials now believe that Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, believed to have been killed in a drone strike earlier this year, is actually alive.
  • The Pentagon is downbeat in its latest report on Congress on the situation in Afghanistan, noting increasing violence and decreased support for President Hamid Karzai's government.
Middle East
  • Egypt pumped gas into a Gaza smuggling tunnel, killing four.
  • Hezbollah strongly criticized Egypt's courts for jailing 26 of its members on terrorism charges.
  • Ultranationalist Israeli settlers attacked a neighboring Palestinian village in retaliation for recent arrests by the Israeli police.
  • Acting Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan removed the country's much criticized election chief.
  • A Rwandan militant rebel group denied ties to an opposition leader under investigation by the government for links to them.
  • A new Nigerian oil law will give preference to local service companies.
  • Sixteen people were killed in shootings in Mexico's Ciudad Juarez on Wednesday.
  • Venezuela's opposition has put together a unified lineup for upcoming legislative elections.
  • Military prosecutors reportedly offered a 5-year plea bargain to Guantanamo inmate and Canadian citizen Omar Khadr, who is accused of killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan.

  • Europe
  • U.S. and Russian officials are meeting in Moscow to discuss a new draft treaty on child adoptions.
  • The U.S. has extradited a former Bosnian Serb soldier suspected of participation in genocide.
  • Britain is holding its final televised debate today, giving Prime Minister Gordon Brown a chance to recover from an embarrassing campaign trail gaffe.
-By Joshua Keating

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

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