June 15th, 2010
11:58 PM ET

Strong quakes jolt Indonesia

Two powerful earthquakes struck near the coast of Papau, Indonesia, on Wednesday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

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June 15th, 2010
11:45 PM ET

How the oil-disaster flow estimates have evolved

U.S. government officials on Tuesday said they now estimate the ruptured BP well in the Gulf of Mexico is spewing 35,000 and 60,000 barrels (1.5 million gallons to 2.5 million gallons) per day; that's significantly more than the first estimate of 1,000 barrels per day in late April.

Below is a recap of the different estimates that officials have made, and when they made them, since the disaster began with the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20.

- April 23: Three days after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, and one day after the rig sank, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry said crews were cleaning up a 1- by 12-mile-long oil slick spreading through Gulf waters. She said crude oil did not appear to be leaking out of the wellhead but that remote vehicles would survey the scene. BP officials had said a day earlier that BP they did not know whether oil or fuel was leaking from the rig. But BP Vice President David Rainey said: "It certainly has the potential to be a major spill."

- April 24: Landry said oil was leaking from two places - later to be clarified as two places on the riser pipe extending from the well's blowout preventer - at a preliminary estimate of about 1,000 barrels (42,000 gallons) a day. Officials later said that the two leaks were found within 36 hours of the April 20 explosion.

- April 28: Landry said the estimated amount of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico has increased to 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons) a day, five times the initial estimate. The new estimate was based on analysis from the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, she says. Also, BP official Doug Suttles said the company has found a third leak in the riser pipe.

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June 15th, 2010
07:46 PM ET

Obama: We'll fight spill with everything we've got

[Updated at 8:45 p.m. ET] BP issued the following statement after the president's Oval Office speech:

"We share the president's goal of shutting off the well as quickly as possible, cleaning up the oil and mitigating the impact on the people and environment of the Gulf Coast. We look forward to meeting with President Obama tomorrow for a constructive discussion about how best to achieve these mutual goals."

Read the transcript of Obama's speech

Read the full CNN.com story

[Updated at 8:25 p.m. ET] The president ended his Oval Office speech by saying that what sees the nation through tough times "is our strength, our resilience, and our unyielding faith that something better awaits us if we summon the courage to reach for it."

"Tonight, we pray for that courage," Obama said. "We pray for the people of the Gulf.  And we pray that a hand may guide us through the storm towards a brighter day. "

[Updated at 8:19 p.m. ET] The president said the oil disaster "is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean-energy future is now."

"I am happy to look at ... ideas and approaches from either party, as long they seriously tackle our addiction to fossil fuels," he said. "Some have suggested raising efficiency standards in our buildings like we did in our cars and trucks. Some believe we should set standards to ensure that more of our electricity comes from wind and solar power. Others wonder why the energy industry only spends a fraction of what the high-tech industry does on research and development, and want to rapidly boost our investments in such research and development.

"All of these approaches have merit and deserve a fair hearing in the months ahead. But the one approach I will not accept is inaction. The one answer I will not settle for is the idea that this challenge is somehow too big and too difficult to meet."

[Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET] President Obama said he knows the government's six-month moratorium on deepwater oil drilling "creates difficulty for the people who work on these rigs."

"But for the sake of their safety, and for the sake of the entire region, we need to know the facts before we allow deepwater drilling to continue," Obama said.

[Updated at 8:13 p.m. ET] President Obama says he's asked the secretary of the Navy to "develop a long-term Gulf Coast restoration plan as soon as possible."

"The plan will be designed by states, local communities, tribes, fishermen, businesses, conservationists, and other Gulf residents. And BP will pay for the impact this spill has had on the region," he said.

[Updated at 8:11 p.m. ET] President Obama said he will tell the chairman of BP to "set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed as a result of his company's recklessness" during their meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

"This fund will not be controlled by BP," Obama said. "In order to ensure that all legitimate claims are paid out in a fair and timely manner, the account must and will be administered by an independent, third party."

[Updated at 8:07 p.m. ET] The president says that despite best efforts, "oil has already caused damage to our coastline and its wildlife."

"And sadly, no matter how effective our response becomes, there will be more oil and more damage before this siege is done. That's why the second thing we’re focused on is the recovery and restoration of the Gulf Coast," Obama said.

[Updated at 8:04 p.m. ET] President Obama has begun to address the nation, saying that the oil spill "is the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced."

Obama said his administration has directed BP to "mobilize additional equipment and technology."

"In the coming weeks and days, these efforts should capture up to 90 percent of the oil leaking out of the well," Obama said. "This is until the company finishes drilling a relief well later in the summer that's expected to stop the leak completely."

"Make no mistake: We will fight this spill with everything we've got for as long it takes," he added. "We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused. And we will do whatever's necessary to help the Gulf Coast and its people recover from this tragedy."

[Posted at 7:46 p.m. ET] President Obama will detail plans for dealing with the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in an address to the nation tonight at 8 ET.

Check this post for updates on the president's speech as he gives it.

The 18-minute speech, Obama's first from the Oval Office, will emphasize the government's containment strategy in conjunction with oil giant BP, which owns the broken well, to capture as much as 90 percent of the leaking oil in coming weeks, two senior administration officials said.

Watch it live on CNN, CNN.com/Live and the CNN iphone app.

June 15th, 2010
07:28 PM ET

Flaming engine forces Alitalia flight to return to Boston


An Alitalia flight en route from Boston, Massachusetts, to Rome, Italy, made an emergency landing at Logan International Airport shortly after takeoff due to a report that flames were coming from one engine, according to a Massport spokesperson.

The pilot of Flight 615, which took off shortly before 6 p.m., shut down the left engine and returned the plane to the Boston airport where it landed safely, spokesman Phil Orlandella told CNN.

He says flames and smoke were spewing from the engine, and crews were able to put out the fire once it had landed.

All 258 people on board the Airbus 330 were taken off the plane and taken to the terminal by bus, Orlandella said.

He had no comment on whether the fire was caused by a bird or a flock of birds, as speculated by some witnesses on the ground.

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June 15th, 2010
03:06 PM ET

Day 57: Oil disaster latest developments

[Updated at 9:07 p.m.] Here are the latest developments on the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, which unfolded after the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20:

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

- President Barack Obama vowed Tuesday to unleash whatever resources may be needed to contain oil and clean up from the biggest environmental disaster in the nation's history.

- Obama predicted that, "in the coming days and weeks," efforts to stop the leak "should capture up to 90 percent of the oil leaking out of the well." By later in the summer, a relief well is expected to stop the leak completely.

- BP's response: "We share the president's goal of shutting off the well as quickly as possible, cleaning up the oil and mitigating the impact on the people and environment of the Gulf Coast. We look forward to meeting with President Obama tomorrow (Wednesday) for a constructive discussion about how best to achieve these mutual goals."

- Oil containment efforts were suspended twice on Tuesday, the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command said on its website.

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June 15th, 2010
03:04 PM ET

Trains collide in Mexico killing at least 10

Two trains collided head-on Tuesday morning in northwestern Mexico, leaving at least 10 dead and five injured, state news agency Notimex reported.

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June 15th, 2010
02:29 PM ET

Petraeus escorted from hearing after apparent fainting

[Updated at 2:28 p.m.] Gen. David Petraeus "is feeling much better," spokesman Col. Erik Gunhus said. "It appeared that he fainted."

Read full CNN.com story

[Updated at 11:11 a.m.] Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, is doing better after being escorted from a congressional hearing, he told CNN's Dana Bash.

"I'm going ok. I just got a little dehydrated," Petraeus told Bash after the congressional hearing was adjourned. "I ate a couple of bananas and drank some water. I ddn't eat breakfast this morning."

Petraeus was smiling, holding what looked like a cup of water.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morell told Bash that Petraeus had looked pale, but after he began to eat and drink the color returned to his face.

Petraeus was appearing at a congressional hearing on progress on the war in Afghanistan, but it was adjourned for the day after the incident.

[Updated at 10:57 a.m.] Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, was escorted from a congressional hearing room after apparently choking, but later returned to the hearing to applause.

The hearing, however, was called off for the day.

[Updated at 10:36 a.m.] The commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan was escorted from a congressional hearing room after apparently choking during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday.

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June 15th, 2010
02:04 PM ET

Exxon blogs: BP spill a 'dramatic departure' from industry norm

Exxon started a blog called "ExxonMobil's Perspectives" and wrote in it that the disaster in the Gulf is "far from the industry norm."

On the eve of oil executives appearing at a congressional hearing on disaster planning, ExxonMobil launched a blog with a post calling the Gulf oil disaster “a dramatic departure from the industry norm in deepwater drilling.”

"This devastating chain of events is far from the industry norm," wrote Exxon’s chief blogger Ken Cohen, who's also the oil giant's vice president of public and government affairs.

He wrote that what occurred in the Gulf did not “occur on the 14,000 other deepwater wells that have been successfully drilled around the world."

Exxon’s spokesman Karen Matusic told CNN.com that the idea of the blog was conceived before the Deepwater Horizon disaster and that the company hopes it will create a dialogue about the “biggest issues” in the energy industry.

“It would be strange to start a blog and not mention about the rig,” she said.

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June 15th, 2010
01:18 PM ET

Oklahoma man killed by flash flooding

A man whose car stalled in a road covered by rushing water drowned in Lawton, Oklahoma, on Monday night, a county spokesman said Tuesday.

Miguel Lopez, 50, got swept away into a creek after he exited his vehicle and tried to push it through the moving water,

Comanche County Public Information Officer Chris Killmer said. His death is the first reported in the flash flooding that struck Oklahoma on Monday.

Portions of Lawton, which is about 85 miles southwest of Oklahoma City, received 6-7 inches of rain over a 12-hour period as thunderstorms battered central Oklahoma. Comanche County is one of 59 Oklahoma counties covered by a state of emergency issued by the governor's office.

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June 15th, 2010
01:16 PM ET

North Korea rejects torpedo findings, threatens war

North Korea rejected Tuesday international findings that it sank a South Korean ship, warning at the United Nations that the dispute could lead to war.

"A war may break out any time," Ambassador Sin Son Ho said, accusing South Korea of "fabricating" the results of the investigation into the sinking of the Cheonan.

The loss of the ship and 46 sailors in March raised tensions on the Korean peninsula.

North and South Korea presented their cases to the U.N. Monday, and South Korea then urged the Security Council to take "timely and appropriate measures."

North Korea's envoy responded harshly Tuesday.

"If the Security Council releases any documents against us, condemning or pressuring us... then myself as diplomat, I can do nothing... the follow-up measures will be carried out by our military forces," he said.

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June 15th, 2010
12:28 PM ET

Sports Update: Texas and Big 12 drama, Celtics vs. Lakers

Texas has decided not to abandon the Big 12 for the Pac-10.

College football’s biggest offseason drama is over. Texas decided to turn down the Pac-10’s offer and is remaining in the Big 12. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M followed suit and will also stay in the conference. So how did the Big 12 go from near-extinction to being safe and sound? At the end of the day, it was all about Texas and money, writes SI.com’s Andy Staples. The Longhorns wanted to pave the way for their own TV network, which the Pac-10 wasn’t willing to allow.

With the biggest pieces of the realignment puzzle staying put, we turn our attention to a heavy sports schedule that includes the World Cup, the NBA Finals, baseball and tennis. Here are a few highlights (all times Eastern).

Celtics at Lakers (9 p.m., ABC). Paul Pierce turned back the clock to pull the Celtics within a win of an 18th title, says SI.com’s Lee Jenkins. With their backs against the wall, will Kobe Bryant and the Lakers force a Game 7? Recent history is on L.A.’s side, with the game being played at Staples Center, where the Lakers are 9-1 this postseason.

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June 15th, 2010
11:53 AM ET

Aruba, Peru to swap notes on Joran van der Sloot

Officials hope any details they share involving Joran van der Sloot, middle, and the murder of Stephany Flores, right, will help in the Natalee Holloway investigation.

Aruban and Peruvian authorities have agreed to "help each other" in the murder investigation of Stephany Flores - in which Joran Van der Sloot is the prime suspect, Aruban government spokesman Taco Stein told CNN Tuesday.

Investigators hope the cooperation will lead to new information about the disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway in 2005 in Aruba. Van der Sloot is also a suspect in that case.

Following a phone meeting with Peruvian judge Carlos Morales on Tuesday morning, Stein said Peruvian authorities have agreed to allow Aruban investigators into Peru once a formal request has been made. He did not indicate when that more formal request would take place or when Aruban investigators are expected to arrive in Peru, but described the meeting as a "positive start" to information sharing.

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June 15th, 2010
11:48 AM ET

Obama: U.S. will end Iraq combat mission on schedule

President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the U.S. military is on track to complete its roughly seven-year combat mission in Iraq - part of a redeployment of forces in response to changing needs at home and abroad.

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June 15th, 2010
11:40 AM ET

Obama: Oil in Gulf is an 'unprecedented environmental disaster'

President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the Gulf oil spill "is an unprecedented environmental disaster" that will be met with an "unprecedented response."

"This is an assault on our shores and we're going to fight back with everything we've got," he said during a visit with military personnel at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida.

The administration "will do whatever it takes for as long as it takes" to deal with the spill, he promised.

Obama repeated a pledge to force BP to provide economic compensation for the economic damage caused by the spill.

June 15th, 2010
11:31 AM ET

Brother: U.S. man arrested looking for bin Laden 'not crazy'

[Updated at 11:30 a.m.] The 52-year-old American who was detained in Pakistan, where he said he was looking for Osama Bin Laden, is a Colorado man who works as an independent contractor.

"My brother is not crazy. He is highly intelligent and loves his country and he has not forgotten what Osama has done to this country," Scott Faulkner, brother of Gary Brooks Faulkner, told CNN.

[Posted at 8:53 a.m.] A 52-year-old American citizen who said he was searching for Osama bin Laden was detained in Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan this week, Pakistani police said Tuesday.

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June 15th, 2010
11:10 AM ET

Appeal denied for man set to die by firing squad

The execution of a Utah death-row inmate by firing squad moved a step closer Tuesday after the state's supreme court denied his latest appeal.

Unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes, Ronnie Lee Gardner is set to die early Friday for the 1985 slaying of attorney Michael Burdell. The killing took place during Gardner's attempt to escape from custody at a Salt Lake City courthouse.

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June 15th, 2010
10:36 AM ET

GOP lawmaker: Let's just discuss how to 'plug the well'

[Updated at 10:16 a.m.] Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, slammed Democrats at the start of a key House subcommittee hearing with oil executives Tuesday, arguing that the hearing was merely an "excuse for passing even more regulations" and increasing energy taxes "under the guise of clean energy."

We should just discuss how to "plug the well, stop the spill (and) clean the Gulf," he said. The Democrats are pushing an agenda that will further "cripple the economy," he said.

[Updated at 9:58 a.m.] Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, said during a key House subcommittee hearing Tuesday that four of the five largest oil companies have produced oil disaster response plans for the Gulf of Mexico that discuss how to protect walruses, even though there are no walruses in the Gulf.

These are "cookie-cutter plans" that, in reality, are little more than "just paper exercises," he said.

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June 15th, 2010
10:03 AM ET

Rep. Markey: 'Blind Faith' has led to disaster

Opening statement of Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee, at a hearing today with the CEOs of the top five oil companies:

"57 days ago, in the dead of night, the worst environmental nightmare in U.S. history began.

On a screen here and in homes across the country, we now see the live video of tens of thousands of barrels of oil billowing into the Gulf every day.

For years, the oil industry swore this could never happen. We were told that technology had advanced, that offshore drilling was safe.

BP said they didn’t think the rig would sink. It did.

They said they could handle an Exxon Valdez-sized spill every day. They couldn’t.

BP said the spill was 1,000 barrels per day. It wasn’t. And they knew it.

Now the other companies here today will contend that this was an isolated incident. They will say a similar disaster could never happen to them.

And yet it is this kind of Blind Faith - which is ironically the name of an actual rig in the Gulf - that has led to this kind of disaster.

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June 15th, 2010
09:19 AM ET

Man takes hostages at German store

[Updated at 9:19 a.m. ET] A man has taken a number of people hostage in a clothing store in central Leipzig, in eastern Germany, a police spokesman said.

It was unclear how many hostages the man was holding at the H&M store.

The Saxony State Office of Criminal Investigation told CNN it has sent in special forces to support the local police.

Read full story.

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June 15th, 2010
09:08 AM ET

On the Radar: Oil disaster, new controversial Arizona law

Gulf oil disaster - President Obama will continue his Gulf Coast visit Tuesday with a stop in Florida's panhandle, where beaches have started to see signs of oil as crude continues to gush from a ruptured deepwater well. Obama, on his fourth trip to the region since oil began spewing from the well in April, is scheduled to return to Washington later Tuesday and address the nation about the situation from the Oval Office. Before that, Obama will give a speech of support for oil-impacted communities and American troops while at Pensacola's Naval Air Station on Tuesday morning, an administration official said. His speeches may come at a crucial time: According to a USA Today/Gallup survey, 71 percent of the public says Obama hasn't been tough enough in dealing with BP.

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