(Update 9:13 p.m.) EPA administrator Lisa Jackson said Friday there is a chance that workers will be able to stop the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, but warned that the EPA is preparing for the worst.
"There is still the opportunity and the possibility that they would be able to shut it down," Jackson told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. "Of course as responders we have to look at the worst case, and keep planning for that."
Jackson's comments come as the federal government is ramping up the pressure on BP to do more to stop well leaks gushing thousands of barrels of oil into waters off Louisiana. The government is also pushing BP to beef up its response as a giant oil slick approaches the Louisiana coast.
In the interview on CNN's John King USA that aired Friday, Jackson responded to questions about the level of trust the Obama administration had in BP immediately following the April 20 oil rig explosion that also resulted in 11 presumed deaths.
"I don't think it was ever a question of trust in the company, I think it was a question of responding to the set of facts as we came to understand them," Jackson said. "The situation has certainly worsened. It began as a human tragedy, it is now what I think is an environmental challenge of the highest order."
(Update 7:42 p.m.) Sen. David Vitter announced the closure of several oyster beds in eastern Louisiana, but kept the western parts open, CNN affiliate WDSU reports.
The director for Rouses Supermarket, which has stores across the Gulf Coast, including southern Louisiana and Mississippi, said all seafood on the shelves is safe, according to WDSU.
"Everything that is coming into the markets and restaurants is coming from the west part of the Mississippi River," Seafood Director James Bruel told WDSU.
"Everything we get is traceable. Anything that comes through our back doors has an invoice of where it came from. Everything right now is 100 percent safe to eat," he said.
(Update 6:48 p.m.) U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has approved Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's request to mobilize 6,000 National Guard troops in response to the massive oil spill expanding in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a Defense Department spokesman.
[Updated at 11:00 p.m.] A sheriff's deputy in central Arizona was shot Friday afternoon by a suspected drug trafficker, authorities said.
The Pinal County deputy, who was not immediately identified, contacted authorities after being wounded in the desert, saying he had been shot by an illegal immigrant with an AK-47, said Lt. Tammy Villar, a sheriff's spokeswoman.
[Posted at 9:05 p.m.] A sheriff's deputy in central Arizona who was shot Friday afternoon by an alleged illegal immigrant has been found after authorities lost contact with him, according to CNN affiliate KPNX.
The report came from a KPNX reporter on board a chopper at the scene.
[Posted at 8:41 p.m.] A sheriff's deputy in central Arizona was shot Friday afternoon by a member of an alleged group of illegal immigrants, authorities said.
There are a lot of uncertainties right now about the Gulf oil spill. But one thing is clear: In addition to the intangible loss of wildlife, it's going to cost BP a lot of money.
Under current law an oil well's owner is responsible to foot the bill for the entire cost of clean up in the event of a disaster. In this case that includes BP and minority partners Anadarko and Mitsui.
Clean up costs are currently running about $6 million a day, according to BP. Those include the cost of running the remote submarines that are trying to close the well, the drilling rig that's needed to permanently cap the well, and the boats corralling and removing the oil from the water.
A huge oil spill oozing toward the Gulf Coast on Thursday threatens hundreds of species of wildlife, some in their prime breeding season, environmental organizations said.
One in eight to cut cable and satellite TV in 2010: Despite rising cable and satellite TV prices and easy access to streaming TV and movies on the Internet, few consumers have cut the cord. But that looks like it's about to change.
‘Pink dress’ student becomes celebrity: A college student, expelled for wearing a short, pink dress, is now a celebrity in Brazil. CNN's Rafael Romo reports.
Cops: Son beheads mom: Cops allege that 21-year-old Jumar Henry beheaded his mother, then went to a local church.
Dead man riding: Dead man's body rides motorcycle at his funeral. CNN's Jeanne Moos reports.
Shakira protests new Arizona immigration law: Grammy Award-winning singer Shakira has joined the growing chorus of opposition to Arizona's new immigration law.
A look at highlights from the day's business news:
Dow breaks 8-week winning streak
Stocks tumbled Friday after reports that Goldman Sachs is facing a criminal probe sparked analyst downgrades and a selloff in the financial sector. Worries about Greece's lingering debt problems also weighed.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 159 points, or 1.4 percent, according to early tallies. The S&P 500 index lost 20 points, or 1.7 percent. The Nasdaq composite lost 50 points or 2 percent.
Stocks had seesawed in the early going but soon turned lower after ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgraded Goldman Sachs following reports it is the target of a criminal investigation by federal prosecutors.
Military contractors are a fact of life in Iraq - doing everything from protecting diplomats and those involved in the reconstruction process to delivering supplies.
In September of 2008, there were some 160,000 of them working for the Department of Defense alone, today that number is closer to 100.000. Just over 50,000 are Iraqi nationals - but nearly 28,000 are U.S. citizens. And their service comes at a high price.
I'm not talking about the monetary cost of contracting out, (on which there has been a protracted debate over whether hiring them is more cost efficient than having troops do the same work.) I'm talking about the price that's paid in blood.
(Updated at 9:26 a.m.)
BP hiring fishing boats to help
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Protection posted this notice:
"BP is looking to contract with vessels for hire (shrimp boats, oyster boats, etc.) to deploy boom in the Gulf of Mexico. The response contractors for this program are already collecting information on vessels. Specifically, they need the name, owner, dimensions, characteristics (including length, draft, horsepower, etc) and other pertinent information you can provide. Direction and training will be provided and determined by area response plans based on the highest priority areas on down.
"As soon as you have gathered the relevant information on your vessel, please email that information to the managing contractor Vince Mitchell at email@example.com or 425-745-8017. As well, please copy BP's coordinator Grant Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org."
(Updated at 9:19 p.m.)
Floridians: What now?
For many residents and businesses along Florida's Panhandle, the oil spill has been met with uncertainty, CNN affiliate WALA reports.
The question for many Floridians bracing for the oil spill to head their way isn't why, or how, but simply, what to do now?
"I guess one thing about hurricanes is you know what you can do," Santa Rosa County Chamber of Commerce President Meg Peltier told WALA. "You go to the store, you shop, you buy all your goodies and you get ready. People want to get ready for this, but they don't know what to do," Peltier said.
Buddy Rogers, who operates a beach business, told WALA that "The phones have just about stopped ringing, and those that are calling, they're cancelling charters." Rogers said, "I've offered the boat [to authorities] in any way I can, pull booms, whatever they think we can do to help. Right now, all I can do is cut all my spending, save what little bit I can."
Gulf Coast residents worried
Mississippi Gulf Coast residents see their way of life imperiled as the oil slick sloths toward the shoreline.
Fisherman Harold Strong told WLOX, "We'll be out of business, basically, pretty much devastated. I see no recovery. If you lose two to three years, I can see absolutely no way to come back from it."
Marc Douroux Jr., who fishes for a pasttime rather than livelihood, said the oil spill is sure to change marine life.
"All the livestock is going to be killed, birds are going to die, crabs are going to die, fish are going to die, there's not going to be nothing to fish for no more," he told WLOX.
[Updated at 7:04 p.m.]
Tour boat captain says oil spill worse than Katrina
CNN All Platform Journalist Sarah Hoye and photojournalist Mark Biello are currently in Gulfport, Mississippi. They spent the morning with local tour boat captains, whose livelihoods – ferrying tourists around the barrier islands – are threatened by the approaching oil spill.
Louis Skrmetta is the operations manager of Ship Island Excursions, a family-owned business since 1926. He told CNN that the oil coming to shore is worse than Hurricane Katrina.
"At least with Katrina we had clean water and something to eat," he said. "I'd rather lose my house again than go through this."
With his three boats docked, Skrmetta says he is considering filing for bankruptcy if he cannot operate tours this summer, his busiest time of year.
Demonstrations in support of immigrants' rights are scheduled Saturday in at least 21 states, the District of Columbia and two Canadian provinces. In all, protests are planned for 47 cities.
The demonstrations come amid a swirl of controversy surrounding a new immigration law in Arizona that allows police to demand proof of legal residency. Arizona lawmakers say the law is needed because the federal government has failed to enforce border security with Mexico, allowing more than 450,000 illegal immigrants to move into in the state.
A former Pakistani intelligence official kidnapped by militants on his way to the tribal regions has been killed, sources told CNN Friday.
The victim, Khalid Khawaja, was kidnapped with a Pakistani filmmaker and another former intelligence official.
Call it a tragic irony.
BP, now under federal scrutiny because of its role in the deadly Gulf of Mexico explosion and oil spill, is one of three finalists for a federal award honoring offshore oil companies for "outstanding safety and pollution prevention."
The winner of the award - chosen before the April 20 oil rig incident - was to be announced this coming Monday at a luncheon in Houston. But the U.S. Department of Interior this week postponed the awards ceremony, saying it needs to devote its resources to the ongoing situation resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and fire.
The U.S. Coast Guard said Friday it was responding to an overturned oil rig in an inland canal near Morgan City, Louisiana.
The rig is not leaking fuel at this time, the Coast Guard said, but 500 feet of containment boom has been deployed around the rig as a precaution.
The mobile inland drilling unit overturned in the Charenton navigational canal, the Coast Guard said.
As the oil slick from the recent offshore oil rig disaster makes its way to Gulf Coast shores - expected to devastate the precious ecosystem and hurt struggling businesses - the seeds of political fallout for the Obama administration are beginning to sprout.
Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh said on his program that the oil slick disaster is "Obama's Katrina."
Not so, says Media Matters for America:
"Media conservatives have rushed to absurdly compare the Obama administration's response to a catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to the Bush Administration's botched response after Hurricane Katrina, a hurricane that left more than 1,500 dead," the liberal-leaning group said on its website. "This claim is undermined by a number of facts."
[Updated at 3:57 p.m.] Read the full CNN.com story
[Updated at 1:41 p.m.] The two suspects, identified as Wesam El-Hanafi and Sabirhan Hasanoff, both U.S. citizens, were indicted for allegedly conspiring to provide computer advice and assistance and other material support to al Queda, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement Friday afternoon.
They are expected to appear in federal court in Virginia at 3 p.m. Friday.
[Published at 1:13 p.m.] Investigators have arrested two New York men for allegedly providing material support to al Qaeda overseas, a federal law enforcement source said Friday.
[Updated at 2:05 p.m.] "This was not part of a terrorist attack," said Deputy Commissioner of Police Paul Browne. "He wanted to find a place in the tunnel where no one would find a body."
Subway workers saw the man walking on the tracks between Brooklyn's Borough Hall station and the Bowling Green station in Manhattan at 5:30 a.m. ET, Cavitolo said. They called police when they realized he was not an employee.
The man was carrying flares, water bottles, and a one-quart canister that contained sodium cyanide, he said.
Investigators believe he planned to drink the cyanide to kill himself, he said.