Wednesday, May 26, 2010

FP morning brief 5/26

BP prepares for "top kill"; violence spreads in Kingston

Top story: BP is preparing to attempt a procedure known as "top kill" to plug its oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. The maneuver will pump 50,000 pounds of thick fluid into the well, and then try to seal it with cement. BP CEO Tony Hayward gives the plan, which has been used successfully on above-ground wells but never one 5,000 feet underwater, a 60 to 70 percent chance of success. BP had previously announced that it would shut off the live feed of the spill when it began the procedure, but has since reversed course under pressure from the Obama administration. The well has been gushing oil at a rate of 5,000 barrels a day since an unexpected explosion sunk the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20, claiming 11 lives.

The new maneuver to plug the leak comes amidst growing evidence that the Deepwater Horizon rig showed warning signs of an impending disaster in the hours leading up to the explosion. A memorandum released to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which is investigating the spill, detailed signs that gas was bubbling up into the well. An internal debate on the rig also arose regarding the removal of the drilling mud in the pipe going down into the well -- a decision that laid the groundwork for the subsequent explosion.

Chaos in Kingston: At least 29 people have died in the capital of Jamaica, as police launch an all-out assault to capture one of the country's most notorious druglords.

Speaking from Seoul, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for international action in response to North Korea's sinking of a South Korean warship.
North Korea severed almost all diplomatic ties with South Korea.
A car bomb exploded outside a NATO base in Kandahar City, wounding two civilians.
EU officials proposed to create a new fund, which would be financed by the banks, so that taxpayers would not have to pay the cost of future bailouts of the financial sector.
The United Nations expressed hope that a deal over the divided island of Cyprus could be reached within months.
Italy's bishops released the first ever statistics of clerical sex abuse in the country.
Middle East
The Iraqi government announced the closing of Iraqi airways.
Israel launched two airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on President Barack Obama to accept a nuclear fuel swap deal brokered by Brazil and Turkey.
Ethiopian opposition leaders call for new elections, criticizing Sunday's ballot as rigged.
The most wanted man in Mozambique has been shot dead in the country's capital.
The United Nations agreed to remove its peacekeeping force from Chad.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva announced the creation of Brazil's new international television station.
Two opponents of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez have been barred from holding office.
A Peru court paroled an American woman who had been imprisoned for 15 years for aiding leftist rebels.
-David Kenner
John Moore/Getty Images

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