Hurricane Alex –– Heavy rains pelting northeastern Mexico left at least one person dead and thousands more in shelters as Hurricane Alex moved inland, Mexican emergency officials said early Thursday. Alex made landfall along the northeast Mexican coastline late Wednesday as a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of about 100 mph, the National Hurricane Center reported. Forecasters downgraded it to a tropical storm early Thursday morning and said it would continue to weaken as it moved inland. Residents on both sides of the border braced for additional flooding and tornadoes as the storm moved west with 85 mph maximum sustained winds. You can follow the storm's path here.
Gulf oil disaster - Even though tropical storm Alex is headed away from the site of the BP oil spill, it is affecting containment and collection efforts on multiple fronts, Coast Guard officials say. A massive oil skimmer, however, has arrived in the Gulf of Mexico. Coast Guard officials will conduct an aerial survey to assess the storm's impact Thursday, Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft said.
The storm has already disrupted the containment booms meant to limit the amount of oil reaching shore, Zukunft said in a press briefing Wednesday. More than 500 oil skimming ships had to return to shore, and efforts to burn oil on the surface and break it down through dispersants were put on hold, along with efforts to position a third ship to collect oil at the spill site, he said.
Kagan nomination hearings - Critics and supporters of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan will get their say Thursday as her confirmation hearing moves to its final phases. Kagan faced a barrage of questions Wednesday but ended the day smiling and hugging supporters. Her part of the confirmation hearing ended Wednesday.Â On Thursday witnesses for and against her nomination will speak.
Kagan spent much of Wednesday, the third straight day of hearings, portraying herself as someone who would be an independent voice on the high court.
Obama and immigration reform - Immigration reform has been something of an albatross around the necks of politicians for years. The lack of a comprehensive federal policy has not only angered those in Congress, but the public as well.
And with President Obama's push Thursday to get immigration reform passed this year, analysts said the stakes are high even if it's not a top issue facing the country. We take a look at what's behind Obama's push for reform.
Russia spy case - Several accused Russian spies are scheduled to appear in federal court on Thursday. The hearings are scheduled for about 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. in courts in Boston; Massachusetts, Alexandria, Virginia, and New York, respectively.