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Today's programming highlights...
8:30 am ET - Casey Anthony trial - Testimony resumes in the trial of Casey Anthony, the Florida woman accused of killing her young daughter.
The U.S. ambassador to Malta and former legal aide to President Ronald Reagan resigned Saturday following a State Department report that his devotion to his religion was hindering his ability to do his job. In 2008, Kmiec, a devout Catholic, was publicly denied communion from his own priest for his support of Barack Obama in the2008 presidential election. Kmiec told CNN that he resigned, and was not pushed out of his position.
The Rand, Louisiana, mother of six, who is married to a Gulf oil worker, will protest at BP's Washington offices today to call attention to unresolved cleanup and compensation issues in that region from the 2010 oil spill. Foytlin walked 34 days and 1,243 miles from New Orleans to the capital last week, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported. She claims that oil continues to wash ashore and Gulf residents are suffering from breathing in fumes from oil and dispersants. Her family took blood tests which she says show high levels toxins also found in crude, the New Orleans newspaper said. The compensation fund is not providing fair settlements to many Gulf residents, Foytlin said, and her family is in financial ruin. See CNN's coverage of the Gulf oil spill, one year later.
The former New York Times columnist shocked many when he resigned earlier this year from the newspaper. The Poynter Institute, a journalism think-tank, as well as New York Magazine, report that Rich has launched a second career as producer of the upcoming HBO comedy series "Veep." The program about the first female vice president will star Julia Louis-Dreyfus of "Seinfeld" fame.
Several "specific and preventable human and engineering failures were the immediate causes" of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster last year, the presidentially appointed Oil Spill Commission said in its much-awaited report Tuesday .
The event "was almost the inevitable result of years of industry and government complacency and lack of attention to safety. This was indisputably the case with BP, Transocean, and Halliburton, as well as the government agency charged with regulating offshore drilling - the former Minerals Management Service," said commission co-chairman William K. Reilly.
"As drilling pushes into ever deeper and riskier waters where more of America's oil lies, only systemic reforms of both government and industry will prevent a similar, future disaster."
The report, "Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling," proposed "comprehensive" government and industry actions "to overhaul the U.S. approach to drilling safety and greatly reduce the chances of a similar, large scale disaster in the future."
Scientists have found evidence of "dramatic" damage to deep-sea coral near the site of the Gulf oil disaster that¬†one biologist called a shocking find that "slapped you in the face."
"This was the first time that anyone has seen a visually compelling indication of impact to deep sea animals in the vicinity of this deep-sea event," said Charles Fisher, a Penn State University biologist and the leader of a government-funded research expedition.
The research team encountered an apparently "unhealthy" colony of Madrepora - a hard coral species - on November 2 at a depth of 1,400 meters. While some in the coral colony appeared normal, others were covered in a "brown material" and were producing "abundant mucous," he said.
Read the full story on CNN.com
BP's former CEO has won a couple yachting trophies in his day. But displaying his latest trophy probably won't fly with him.
According to the Center: "Under Hayward's leadership, BP secured the right to drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico by submitting documents to the U.S. government falsely claiming that a major spill could not happen. It also submitted a false and ludicrous spill-response plan claiming it could capture spilling oil before the oil caused any environmental or economic damage."
U.S. officials formally declared an end to the worst oil spill in U.S. history Sunday, a milestone that followed nearly five months of dashed hopes and blistering criticism of nearly everyone involved.
Well owner BP began final cementing operations to permanently plug the blowout on Friday. Pressure tests conducted early Sunday confirmed the cement was holding, and the Interior Department agency that regulates offshore drilling pronounced the well dead at 5:54 a.m. (6:54 a.m. ET), former Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said in a statement issued Sunday morning.
The Justice Department expects to sue BP for damages from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to a filing made Monday night with the U.S. District Court in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Justice Department attorneys told the court it might seek claims under the Oil Pollution Act, which was enacted in 1990 after the Exxon-Valdez oil spill, and the Clean Water Act, which gives the government the right to seek potentially huge penalties.
– From CNN's Alan Chenoff
Islamic center imam speaks – The imam at the center of the controversy over an Islamic center near New York's ground zero is speaking out as a broad coalition of Christian, Jewish and Islamic leaders this week denounced what they described as a rising tide of anti-Muslim bigotry across the United States.
CNN's Soledad O'Brien has an exclusive interview with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf on "Larry King Live" at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday. Submit questions for the imam via iReport here.
Scientists have found a decline in oxygen levels in the Gulf of Mexico following the BP oil spill but have found no "dead zones" as a result, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration reported Tuesday.
Levels of dissolved oxygen in deep water have dropped about 20 percent below their long-term average, according to data collected from up to 60 miles from the well at the center of the massive oil spill. But much of that dip appears to be the result of microbes using oxygen to dissolve oil underwater, and the decline is not enough to be fatal to marine life, said Steve Murawski, the head of a NOAA-led group examining the spill's impact.
"Even the lowest observations in all of these was substantially above the threshold," Murawski said.
It has been an interesting week to say the least regarding the Gulf oil disaster. I watched the headlines respond to the decidedly rosy perspective of the feds and BP that only last week claimed that the worst was behind us and that most of the oil has been cleaned up or naturally dissipated.
As many of us warned, those predictions were premature at best, and this week, new science is emerging that suggests this is only the end of the beginning. The whole debacle reminds me of the Aesop's Fable of the tortoise and the hare. You know, the one where the arrogant hare who can easily outrun the tortoise ends up losing the race because, confident he will outrun the tortoise, he takes a nap, oversleeps and loses.
Attributed to a Greek slave who lived in the mid-sixth century BC in ancient Greece, this fable is one of hundreds that have stood the test of time. They have been translated throughout the millennia into countless languages and still hold true today.
John Paul says, at first, he couldn't believe his own scientific data showing toxic microscopic marine organisms in the Gulf of Mexico. He repeated the field test. A colleague did his own test. All the results came back the same: toxic.
It was the first time Paul and other University of South Florida scientists had made such a finding since they started investigating the environmental damage from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The preliminary results, the scientists believe, show that oil that has settled on the floor is contaminating small sea organisms.
Paul is a marine microbiologist with the University of South Florida. He and 13 other researchers were in the middle of a 10-day research mission that began August 6 in the Gulf of Mexico when they made the toxic discovery.
On his fifth visit to the Gulf Coast since the start of the BP oil disaster, President Obama on Saturday reminded Americans that the cleanup effort has been successful and that the region's beaches "are clean, safe and open for business."
"That's one of the reasons Michelle, Sasha, and I are here," Obama said
in Panama City, Florida.
Fashion or offensive? - What does an oil-drenched supermodel blowing black feathers out of her mouth mean? Controversy, baby.
Vogue has apparently attempted to interpret the BP oil spill. A spread called "Water & Oil" in Vogue Italia has hit the stands and struck a chord. Some call it insulting, others¬†deem it high art. A video shows famous photographer Steven Meisel¬†capturing¬†a gunk-covered Kristen McMenamy lying like a dead bird on black rocks. Newsweek doubts the tastefulness of the spread.¬† Forbes¬†reminds¬†of Vogue's previous¬†stabs at political art. Miami New Times says Vogue¬†is out of line, while¬†The Huffington Post¬†writes that the pics are beautiful.
Which Jodie, again? – No, this isn't about actress Jodie Foster. Stop making that mistake. We're going to tell you about actress Jodie Fisher, the woman whose sexual harassment claim led to HP CEO Mark Hurd's downfall last week. Fisher¬†had¬†been¬†employed as a contractor for HP working on customer and executive events. She and Hurd, who is married,¬†both say they didn't have sex. The company maintains that Hurd, a major figure in corporate America, did not¬†violate its sexual harassment policy, but that he¬†violated its standards of conduct policy.¬†HP says Hurd¬†filed inaccurate expense account reports to keep his relationship with Fisher secret. Hurd¬†probably won't starve. He walked away with $12 million in severance. Fisher, on the other hand, is having her acting chops examined on Jezebel.com.
Moscow smog - The pictures say it all: It's hell to be in Moscow, which is choked¬†with smog, toxic gases and smoke¬†from wildfires.¬†The¬†mortality rate in Russia's capital has doubled, according to the¬†head of the city's health department.¬†Out of 1,500 slots in city morgues, 1,300¬†are occupied, the official said. A CNN iReporter who fashioned a face mask out of a dish towel and coat hanger¬†takes viewers on a tour through¬†the city. He got crafty out of desperation; there's been a run on conventional face masks.
Missourians travel to Gulf Coast – While the worst oil spill in U.S. history is over, its effects will be felt for a long time. A caravan from Missouri will head south to boost businesses that the BP oil spill has hurt. The caravan raised money from donations across the nation and will spend the cash while traveling across the Gulf Coast.
Obama talks education - Monday afternoon in Austin, Texas, President Obama will outline his plan for the U.S. to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. America will need to increase graduates by more than 10 million over the next 10 years to make that happen, according to the administration.
Blood diamonds - Actress Mia Farrow's testimony has contradicted that of supermodel Naomi Campbell in the war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor. Taylor allegedly gave Campbell a diamond after a 1997 dinner party in South Africa at which Farrow, Taylor and the model were guests. Prosecutors say Taylor paid for ¬†a brutal civil war in Sierra Leone using blood diamonds, which are mined in war zones and used to fund rebels and warlords. The stones have fueled bloody conflicts in Africa for more than a decade. Farrow said Campbell told her Taylor gave her a diamond. But Campbell testified last week that she had no idea who had given her the diamond.
Scientists charged with determining the flow from the leaking BP well said Monday that roughly 4.9 million barrels of oil have seeped into the Gulf of Mexico,. Previously, the same group had put the total estimate of oil leaked from the well prior to it being capped on July 15 at between 3 million and 5.2 million barrels.
The moment the well was capped, scientists said some 53,000 barrels of oil per day were leaking from the well, while roughly 62,000 barrels of oil were likely seeping per day from the oil well at the start of the spill.
Here‚Äôs a quick glance at the collective consciousness of the Web on Monday:
Putting a ring on it: It was quite the celebrity wedding weekend, with former first daughter Chelsea Clinton marrying longtime beau Marc Mezvinsky in a lavish ceremony in Rhinebeck, New York. (After midnight, late-night munchies stole the show.) Recording artist Alicia Keys married hip-hop producer Swizz Beatz at a private residence overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Atlanta rapper T.I. married longtime fianc√©e Tiny Cottle in a glitzy soiree in Miami Beach, Florida.
Gulf oil disaster: The spill continued to make news Monday, with the dispersants used by BP coming under increased scrutiny. The Environmental Protection Agency said tests prove that the oil, not the dispersants, remain "the No. 1 enemy." The oil disaster seems to have leaked into the real estate market as well. For many residents, discovery of oil on their land used to mean guaranteed big bucks (Black gold? Texas tea?). But because of the spill, waterfront residents say home sales may be especially cruddy. In fact, the BP oil spill could cost homeowners $68 million in lost property value over the next year, according to a report released Monday.
#jailbreak: The iPhone 4 ‚Äújailbreak,‚ÄĚ finally legal, is getting a lot of clicks. The hack - available at jailbreakme.com - installs a program that lets iPhone 4 owners and others purchase apps from stores other than Apple's. But be careful! It's still a risky proposition.
Lindsay's out: Speaking of jail, Lindsay Lohan has been released from prison after 13 days in the pokey. It‚Äôs on to rehab for the actress and singer.
Testing has found that eight dispersants, including one used in combating the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, are no more toxic when mixed with oil than the oil alone, the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday.
The tests prove that the oil itself, not the dispersants, is "enemy No. 1," Paul Anastas, EPA assistant administrator for research and development, told reporters on a conference call.
End of the oil? We might be at the end of a chapter in the long saga of the BP oil spill,¬†which began April 20. Officials say that on Monday night they'll begin¬†the first¬†of two efforts to seal the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico.¬†The "static kill" will happen first, followed five to seven days later by a "bottom kill."¬†¬†BP's CEO Doug Suttles says he's "confident" these¬†techniques will do the trick, but federal officials¬†caution that¬†nothing is guaranteed.
"We should not be writing any obituary for this event," said Thad Allen,¬†the retired Coast Guard¬†admiral who heads the government's response to the spill.
U.S. Iraq drawdown - According to a prepared speech President Obama is expected to give in Georgia, U.S. troops in Iraq will be reduced by 50,000 by the end of August. The U.S. military mission in Iraq will switch from combat to a support role in Iraq, including training of Iraqi national security forces, the speech says.¬†Want to see¬†a breakdown of U.S. resources in Iraq?¬†¬†Read CNN's Security Brief.
The U.S. and Iraq disagree on the level of violence in the war-torn country. While¬†the U.S. military¬†reports that¬†bloodshed has decreased,¬†data¬†Iraq released Saturday indicates that July¬†was the deadliest month for civilians since May 2008. Specifically, Iraq says 396 civilians, 50 Iraqi soldiers and 89 police officers were killed last month.
In July, there were 81,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and 87,000 in Afghanistan.
Pakistan disaster - Flooding in Pakistan has killed more than 1,100 people, government officials tell CNN.¬†At least¬†30,000 people were stuck on rooftops and other higher areas as they tried to escape rushing floodwaters. "We've got the government sending boats and helicopters to try to reach people and bring them to safety at the same time as trying to deliver emergency relief," said Nicki Bennett, a senior humanitarian affairs officer for the U.N.
C'mon, get happy! - After all that seriousness for your Monday morning, how about some good news? Yes, we said good news¬†– or at least several websites that will make you feel better this week. Try a site that compiles happy news, or todaysbigthing.com, which today features a kid who wasn't thrilled with his trip to the zoo.
It's been 100 days since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded off the Louisiana coast, resulting in an oil spill that has become the nation's worst environmental disaster. Here's how the numbers stack up so far.