Category:May 25, 2010

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Today on Wikinews : BP attempts a "top kill" on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; musician David Byrne sues Florida's governor over a campaign song; Slipknot bassist Paul Gray is found dead in hotel room in Iowa; and, in history - don't panic, it's Towel Day!

Today is Tuesday, May 25th, 2010. I'm Dan Harlow and this is Wikinews.


The British energy company BP will be attempting a "top kill" on the leaking Deepwater Horizon oil well by firing a mud and cement mixture into the blowout preventer on the sea floor later this week. If successful, the oil well will be closed off with cement. A backup plan in case of failure (there is an estimated 30–40% chance of failure) would be another containment apparatus.

BP has been using the oil dispersant corexit to disperse the oil film into small droplets which mix with the seawater. A riser insertion tube inserted into the largest oil leak site is collecting between 1,360 to 2,000 barrels of oil per day. Two relief oil wells are also currently under construction for what is hoped will be a permanent solution to the oil spill. This pair will take about 90 days to complete.

$500 million will be forthcoming from BP for the gulf spill's impact on the environment and damage to regional ecosystems as far as where water currents may spread the oil. BP also put forward a ten-year research plan to study the long-term effects of the oil spill on the environment.

Controlled surface oil burns and skimming have removed some of the oil spill. It is estimated that 5,000 barrels of oil a day are leaking from the ruptured pipe 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) below sea level. A Natural Resources Defense Council marine biologist, Lisa Suatoni, said that only about 7 to 10 percent of oil from the Exxon Valdez spill was cleaned up in 1989.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal wants an emergency permit for dredges which will contain the pollution and homeland security secretary, Janet Napolitano, is seeking viable options which may be more effective and better for the environment.

In a highly publicized statement, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar stated, "I am angry and I am frustrated that BP has been unable to stop this well from leaking and to stop the pollution from spreading. We are 33 days into this effort, and deadline after deadline has been missed”.

BP also released a statement saying, "This is a complex operation requiring sophisticated diagnostic work and precise execution. As a result, it involves significant uncertainties and it is not possible to assure its success or to put a definite timescale on its deployment."

The oil rig Deepwater Horizon suffered a gas explosion and sank April 22, 2010 off the coast of Louisiana resulting in 11 persons missing (and presumed dead) of the 126 on board. BP and its business vendors were completing a new oil well at the time, constructing a layer of cement in the well to reinforce it, which resulted in the blowout.

A 6.5 magnitude earthquake occurred in Acre, a Brazilian state 125 kilometers east-southeast of Cruzeiro do Sul, at 11:18am local time and at a depth of 565.3 kilometers, according to the United States Geological Survey.

A civil defense service spokesman in Cruziero do Sul reported to Times Live that the quake was unnoticed, adding, "This zone suffers a lot of earthquakes, but the last one we really felt was 20 days ago. We didn't register any disorder or damage on the surface,".

An official of Brazil's Seismological Observatory told the news agency AFP, "Generally speaking, quakes more than 500 kilometres deep don't leave signals in the surface, they are only detected by instruments,".

Former Washington Republican state legislator Dino Rossi is to announce on Wednesday that he is running for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Democratic Senator Patty Murray. The story broke Tuesday morning with reports that Rossi had begun hiring senior campaign staffers including Pat Shortidge, who most recently worked on Marco Rubio's Senate campaign in Florida.

While Rossi failed twice at winning the Washington State governor's office in 2004 and 2008, a poll by the University of Washington in early May 2010 showed that a Senate race between Patty Murray and Dino Rossi would be close. Meanwhile, several other Republicans in Washington State have already declared their intentions to run against Murray. A Rossi announcement this Wednesday could cause some turmoil within the Washington State Republican party, as other candidates have already gathered key endorsements and are moving forward with their campaigns.

Washington State will have a primary election on August 17, where the two candidates who get the most votes will advance to the general election in November.

Ukraine's basketball federation announced that Ukrainian basketball player Alexander Belostenny has died of lung cancer in Germany at the age of 51.

Belostenny was a key player on the Soviet Union basketball team and was both a European and Olympic medalist. He won gold in the 1979, 1981 and 1985 European championships and gold in the 1982 FIBA World Championship. He won an Olympic gold medal in 1988.

After retiring in 1994 he opened his own restaurant in Germany.

In America, bassist of the heavy metal band Slipknot, Paul Gray, was found dead in his hotel room in Iowa. His body was found around 10:50 Monday morning by a hotel employee.

Chris Diebel, the spokesman for the hotel where Gray was found, released a statement saying “Gray checked into the extended-stay hotel on Saturday and was scheduled to check out today”. He added that Gray had “stayed at the hotel before and was remembered as being a quiet and respectful guest.”

Gray started with Slipknot when it formed in 1995. In 1996, they released their first album, which sold over a million copies worldwide. Over the following years, the group received seven Grammy award nominations and won one in 2006 for “Best Metal Performance” with “Before I Forget”.

Slipknot became famous for its artistic live performances and the iconic masks that all band members wore in public. Gray was known by his fans by either his band number #2 or his nickname “The Pig”. Along with drummers Joey Jordison and Shawn Crahan, Gray was one of only three original members of Slipknot that still remained in the band.

An autopsy, including toxicology reports, is due later today, however, police investigating the death say that no foul play is suspected.

David Byrne, the former lead singer of 1980s art punk band Talking Heads, is suing Florida governor Charlie Crist over the latter's use of the Talking Heads song "Road to Nowhere" in an election commercial. Byrne alleges that Crist made use of the song in a campaign commercial without the artist's permission, and that if permission had been asked Byrne would have declined it.

Byrne told the BBC that the lawsuit, in which the musician is claiming $1 million in damages, is "not about politics, it's about copyright".

The lawsuit was filed early Monday afternoon in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Tampa and Byrne is represented by Lawrence Iser, the attorney who represented Jackson Browne when Browne successfully sued Arizona Senator John McCain in a similar lawsuit in 2008.

The advertisement, which premiered on January 12, attacked politician Marco Rubio over reversals in Rubio's public positions. The video has been been withdrawn from use and was blocked on the video hosting site YouTube "due to a copyright claim by Warner Music Group."

Governor Crist's campaign had no comment on the lawsuit.

On this day in history (8:11)

Today is Towel Day, a tribute to the late author Douglas Adams. Why a towel? According to Chapter 3 of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,

"A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have "lost". What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with."

— Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy


And those are the top headlines for Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

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