NYT: U.S. Said to Allow Drilling Without Needed Permits

The federal Minerals Management Service (M.M.S.) allowed dozens of oil companies, including BP, to drill in the Gulf of Mexico without required permits from the agency that assess threats to endangered species. This occurred despite strong warnings that drilling would likely have a negative impact to the environment.

The M.M.S. also frequently overruled staff biologists and engineers who raised concerns over the drilling proposals in the Gulf and Alaska.

The scientists also reported that agency officials often pressured them to change their findings on internal studies if the findings were negative.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration accused the M.M.S, in a September 2009 letter, of a pattern of minimizing the chance and potential consequences of a major gulf spill.

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AP: Suicide car bomb kills 10 in north Iraq

10 were killed and 120 injured when a suicide attacker ignited a car bomb outside a sports stadium Friday in Tal Afar, a predominantly Shiite town in northern Iraq.

The attacker detonated the car bomb by a crowd that was gathered at the entrance to the stadium.

The town, located between the Syrian border and the city of Mosul, has been a frequent target for suicide bombers with dozens killed last October and July in attacks. The deadliest attack was in March 2007 when at least 152 people were killed by truck bombs that hit crowded markets.

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USA Today: Gulf oil spill could be larger than U.S. estimates

The Gulf oil spill, originally reported at 5,000 barrels a day, is now estimated at 70,000 barrels following scientific analysis of video footage released by BP Wednesday.

Government scientists produced the 5,000 barrels a day number using a method not specifically recommended for major oil spills.

Ian R. MacDonald, an oceanographer at Florida State University with expertise in the analysis of oil slicks said that rough calculations using satellite imagery suggested the leak could easily be four or five times larger than the original estimate.

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Washington Post: Pakistan arrests man with militant ties who says he aided Times Square bomb suspect

The Pakistani government arrested a suspect who claimed he was an accomplice to Faisal Shahzad, the man accused in the failed Time Square bombing.

Determining if the Pakistani Taliban played a part in the attempted bombing has significant consequences. A definite link would put the group on a select list of organizations who pose an express threat to the U.S.

Investigators gained further insight into the Times Square plot by comparing the story of the man arrested with that of Shahzad. Although the outlines of both stories align, officials are quick to point out inconsistencies in the details of the suspects’ accounts.

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