August 19th, 2010
02:23 PM ET

Roger Clemens indicted

[Updated at 5:49 p.m.] Roger Clemens has released the following via Twitter:

"I never took HGH or Steroids. And I did not lie to Congress. I look forward to challenging the Governments accusations, and hope people will keep an open mind until trial. I appreciate all the support I have been getting. I am happy to finally have my day in court."

[Posted at 2:23 p.m.] Major league pitcher Roger Clemens was indicted for obstruction of Congress and other charges Thursday related to statements he made to a congressional committee in 2008.

READ THE INDICTMENT

The charges stem from a 2008 appearance by Clemens and his former trainer, Brian McNamee, before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. In their sworn testimony, the two contradicted each other, with Clemens denying that he used performance-enhancing drugs.

McNamee's testimony, as well as a report by former Sen. George Mitchell, stated that Clemens had in fact used banned substances at points in his career.

Clemens has not pitched since 2007. He had a stellar career playing for the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Houston Astros and New York Yankees. He was the first pitcher to win seven Cy Young awards. Clemens posted a record of 354-184 over 24 seasons.

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SI.com: How Clemens will defend himself against perjury charge

SI.com video: Clemens indicted

SI. com photo gallery: Clemens through the years

SI.com photo gallery: Clemens on Capitol Hill

SI.com photo gallery: Sports figures who were prosecuted by the feds


Filed under: Baseball • Congress • Gulf Coast Oil Spill • Sports
August 19th, 2010
10:31 AM ET

Allen: 'Bottom kill' could be complete by week after Labor Day

If all goes as planned, the "bottom kill" operation to permanently plug the ruptured underwater well in the Gulf of Mexico should be complete by the week after Labor Day, Thad Allen, the government's point man for the oil disaster, told CNN Thursday.

In the last 48 hours, a sequence of actions has been agreed upon, Allen told CNN's "American Morning." Those include flushing out the current blowout preventer, looking for material that may cause a problem, then put a new blowout preventer on and conduct the "bottom kill" operation.

"This will ensure that we can withstand any pressures that may be generated," Allen said. "If all that lines up, we should be looking at the week after Labor Day."

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Filed under: BP • Gulf Coast Oil Spill
August 19th, 2010
06:48 AM ET

Thad Allen: 'Bottom kill' could come after Labor Day

Adm. Thad Allen, the government's point man for the oil disaster, has authorized BP to replace the existing blowout preventer with a new one. The changes will come prior to the completion of a relief well and the eventual "bottom kill" operation intended to permanently plug the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Earlier, Allen told CNN the "bottom kill" operation should be complete by the week after Labor Day.

The forecast comes as scientists, professors and members of seafood organizations prepare to testify at a hearing on the safety of Gulf seafood before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

The spill began after an April 20 explosion on the offshore drilling platform Deepwater Horizon that killed 11 men. Two days later, the platform sank and oil started gushing into the Gulf. The broken well was temporarily capped July 15, but a bottom kill, to be carried out by way of a relief well, is considered the final solution.

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Filed under: Gulf Coast Oil Spill • U.S.
August 18th, 2010
10:53 AM ET

On the Radar: Dr. Laura, kids' deaths, Blagojevich verdict

Dr. Laura to call it quits - Embattled radio talk-show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger says she will not renew her contract that is up at the end of the year, telling CNN's "Larry King Live" she wants to "regain my First Amendment rights."

Schlessinger, 63, has been under fire for using the N-word repeatedly during an on-air conversation last week with a caller.

FULL POST

August 18th, 2010
09:48 AM ET

BP to stop handling most Gulf claims

BP has picked Wednesday as the deadline for accepting claims from people and businesses affected by the Gulf oil disaster.

After that, the oil giant will direct people to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, led by attorney Kenneth Feinberg.

"Effective August 23, GCCF will be the only authorized organization managing business and individual claims related to the Deepwater Horizon Incident," the British energy giant said in a statement.

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Filed under: BP • Gulf Coast Oil Spill
August 17th, 2010
12:06 PM ET

Reports focus on lingering effects of Gulf oil spill

Two reports published Tuesday express concern about the lingering effects of oil spilled from the ruptured BP well into the Gulf of
Mexico.

A team from the Georgia Sea Grant and the University of Georgia released a report that says nearly 80 percent of the oil that gushed from the well "has not been recovered and remains a threat to the ecosystem," the university said in a statement.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of South Florida have concluded that oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill may have settled to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico further east than previously suspected - and at levels toxic to marine life. Their study is to be released Tuesday, as well, but CNN obtained a summary of the initial conclusions Monday night.

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Filed under: Gulf Coast Oil Spill
August 17th, 2010
11:59 AM ET

Scientists: Toxic organisms, oil found on Gulf floor

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.

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August 16th, 2010
04:02 PM ET

Permanent fix on hold for ruptured Gulf oil well

The permanent stifling of the ruptured Gulf of Mexico oil well won't start until the latest potential problem is evaluated, Thad Allen, the government's point man in the Gulf, said Monday.

The "timelines won't be known until we get a recommendation on the course of action," he said.

Allen told reporters that when it comes to giving a green light to the "bottom kill" of the well through the nearby relief well, "nobody wants to make that declaration any more than I do," but the process "will not start until we figure out how to manage the risk of pressure in the annulus."

The annulus is a ring that surrounds the casing pipe, which sits in the center of the well shaft. Unless the annulus is breached, it should be accessible only from the bottom of the well.

Scientists began new pressure tests last week to gauge the effects of the mud and cement poured into the well from above during the static kill procedure that started August 3 and ended a few days later. From those pressure readings, they believe that either some of the cement breached the casing pipe and leaked into the annulus or cement came up into the annulus from the bottom.

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Filed under: BP • Gulf Coast Oil Spill
August 15th, 2010
04:46 PM ET

Obamas take boat tour on Florida Panhandle trip

President Barack Obama toured the waters off Panama City Beach by boat on Sunday as he capped a weekend visit aimed at sparking a recovery in the region hard-hit by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The president, first lady Michelle Obama and their younger daughter Sasha stood at the bow of the excursion boat watching porpoises jump around them before heading back to shore. The family returned to Washington on Sunday afternoon.

Speaking before a Saturday afternoon dip with his daughter, Obama said his administration remains committed to ensuring a full cleanup and recovery for a region hard-hit by the disaster - and expressed hope that his holiday on the beach would change public perception and soften the economic blow of the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

"As a result of the cleanup effort, beaches all along the Gulf Coast are clean, safe, and open for business," he said. "That's one of the reasons Michelle, Sasha, and I are here."

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Gulf Coast Oil Spill
August 14th, 2010
01:29 PM ET

Obama: Gulf beaches 'clean, safe and open for business'

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.

FULL POST

August 12th, 2010
02:35 PM ET

Work on relief well resumes as storm dissipates

The dissipation of Tropical Depression Five in the Gulf of Mexico means that preparations are being made to resume drilling of a relief well intended to permanently seal BP's ruptured deepwater oil well.

Earlier, officials had said the storm would stall the crucial work for about four days.

As is currently stands, the Development Driller III, the rig that is drilling the relief well, is cleaning the area out ahead of drilling the remaining 30 to 50 feet to reach the Macondo well, BP spokesman Robert Wine said.

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Filed under: BP • Gulf Coast Oil Spill
August 12th, 2010
02:20 PM ET

BP to pay $50 million fine for fatal explosion in Texas

BP says it has agreed to pay a $50.6 million fine to settle some of the
citations related to the 2005 explosion at the Texas City, Texas,
refinery that killed 15 people.

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Filed under: BP • Environment • Oil disaster solutions
August 11th, 2010
12:24 PM ET

Weather that suspended relief well drilling closes in

The heavy rains and gusty winds associated with Tropical Depression Five moved closer to the site of BP's crippled well in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday.

In anticipation of the severe weather, crews suspended drilling Tuesday on the relief well that is expected to intercept with the damaged well.

The National Hurricane Center maintained a tropical storm warning Wednesday morning for the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico as the fifth tropical depression of the Atlantic hurricane season homed in on the Gulf Coast. That means tropical storm-strength winds of at least 39 mph are expected in the area within 36 hours.

FULL STORY

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Filed under: Gulf Coast Oil Spill
August 11th, 2010
11:13 AM ET

On the Radar: Remembering Stevens, cheering Slater

The DeHavilland DHC-Z3T Otter crashed into the side of a mountain in Alaska.

Alaska plane crash - Investigators are examining whether  former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens and four others may have initially survived their plane crashing into an Alaska mountainside, but died while waiting for rescue workers who battled rugged terrain and bad weather. A pilot who initially spotted the wreck near Dillingham said the crash looked so bad, it was hard for him to imagine anyone surviving.

There were nine people aboard, including at least two teenagers, all on a fishing trip. Sean O'Keefe, NASA's former chief, and his son are among the survivors. Friends say O'Keefe considered Stevens a mentor and they were longtime friends. Stevens' death hit D.C. and his home state hard. Until 2008, Stevens had served 40 years and 10 days in Congress, making him the longest-serving Republican senator in U.S. history. He was a legendary pork-barrel lawmaker, funneling billions of federal dollars to Alaska .

A Slater in all of us? – The JetBlue flight attendant who allegedly flipped out, swiped beer, then released the plane’s emergency escape chute and slid to employment freedom is now being hailed as a working-class hero. According to reports, after Slater got in his car at JFK Airport and sped home, authorities showed up at his house and charged him with several crimes. He posted $2,500 bail and was released - smiling for cameras.

Get 'em while they're hot -  "Free Steven" T-shirts and buttons are available. Someone has written a song about him. Thousands have "friended" a Facebook page that purports to be raising money for the flight attendant's legal defense. The lesson in all this? Be kind to your flight attendant.

But amid the movie buzz, there are a few people who aren't applauding. "He's a big zero," Cesar Miranda, 39, of the Bronx, who works maintenance in midtown, told the New York Daily News. "Every day I come to my job, I do the right thing.”

Drilling delay - The final 50 feet of drilling on the Gulf of Mexico relief well has been suspended as thunderstorms and strong winds are expected to pass over the area. The National Hurricane Center issued a tropical storm warning for the northern Gulf Coast as the fifth tropical depression of the Atlantic hurricane season formed in the southeastern Gulf. The storm - which would be named Danielle if, as expected, it reaches tropical storm status - grew from tropical wave status about 375 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and was headed in that direction at about 6 mph. Watch CNN for the latest weather updates and news about the oil disaster.


Filed under: Alaska • Gulf Coast Oil Spill
August 10th, 2010
02:12 PM ET

Tropical weather delays Gulf well-killing operations 2 to 3 days

Drilling on the final 30 feet of a relief well expected to intercept the crippled oil well in the Gulf of Mexico has been suspended
because of a tropical disturbance in the region, the government's national incident commander said Tuesday.

The weather may delay the process by two to three days, said retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen.

He said that would push the interception date - which had been expected Thursday or Friday - to sometime between Sunday and next Tuesday, weather permitting, at which point crews could begin the "bottom kill" procedure to permanently cement the well.

FULL STORY

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Filed under: BP • Gulf Coast Oil Spill
August 9th, 2010
03:31 PM ET

WebPulse: Vogue's oil, HP's actress, Moscow's smog

Vogue Italia's spread evokes the Gulf oil spill.

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.

August 9th, 2010
10:49 AM ET

'One more run' for relief well before moving in for kill, Allen says

The disaster of epic proportions in the Gulf of Mexico still is on track to be resolved at the end of this week, according to the federal point man in the region.

Now, the solution lies in precision calculations of minute proportion, retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said Monday.

Allen said the closer of two relief wells alongside the capped, formerly gushing BP well in the Gulf was 17,909 feet deep and less than 100 feet from intercepting the main well. Over the previous 72 to 96 hours, he said, crews had twice drilled for 30 feet at a time, then backed out and put wire down the pipe to gauge the exact location relative to the main well.

FULL STORY

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Filed under: BP • Gulf Coast Oil Spill
August 9th, 2010
09:56 AM ET

On the Radar: Gitmo trial and blood diamonds


Gitmo trial - A Canadian who is the youngest detainee at Guantanamo Bay is set to go to trial this week. Now 23, Omar Khadr was a teen when he was captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan and accused of killing of a U.S. Special Forces soldier. The case has divided those who believe Khadr, who once considered Osama bin Laden a grandfather figure, would be a danger if released and those who perceive him as an innocent who got wrapped up in a terrorist cause he didn't fully comprehend. A Pentagon-appointed lawyer is representing Khadr. It's unclear if the prisoner will actively participate in his defense.

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.

August 8th, 2010
05:35 PM ET

Oil spill 'still a disaster' for parts of Gulf, Allen says

The undersea gusher in the Gulf of Mexico has been brought under control, but the worst oil spill in U.S. history will continue to be felt along the Gulf Coast for some time, Obama administration officials said Sunday.

"If you're sitting in Barataria Bay, it's still a disaster. If the folks have not come back to the panhandle of Florida, it's still a disaster," former Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the administration's point man for the disaster, told CNN's "State of the Union."

FULL STORY

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Filed under: Environment • Gulf Coast Oil Spill
August 5th, 2010
08:54 PM ET

Allen: Static kill will 'virtually assure' no more oil leak

BP finished pouring cement down its crippled well in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday in an operation known as a "static kill," completing the job earlier than expected.

The government official overseeing the effort is sounding increasingly optimistic that the end is in sight in the drive to seal the well once and for all.

BP began pouring cement into its undersea well in the Gulf of Mexico at 9:15 a.m. ET Thursday, and it finished pouring it at 3:15 p.m. That followed 2,300 barrels of heavy drilling mud, poured down from a ship on the surface Tuesday.

Before word came that the cementing had been completed, retired Adm. Thad Allen said the development would amount to a "significant milestone" in the long-running fight against the BP oil spill.

FULL STORY

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