Daily Dispatches
Workers drop booms into Galveston Bay to prevent more oil from reaching shore.
Associated Press/Photo by Mayra Beltran (Houston Chronicle)
Workers drop booms into Galveston Bay to prevent more oil from reaching shore.

Midday Roundup: Thick, sticky oil clogs one of the nation’s busiest ports

Newsworthy

Oil spill. Cleanup efforts are continuing in Texas after a barge collision on Saturday spilled 170,000 gallons of oil into Galveston Bay. The U.S. Coast Guard reopened part of the Houston Ship Channel this morning, allowing up to 80 stranded ships to leave one of the nation’s busiest ports. Officials say strong north winds that blew over the area drove most of the oil out of the bay and into the Gulf of Mexico, where its damage would be minimized. But a change in the weather and the currents could push the oil back on shore on Galveston Island and farther down the Texas coast. Officials are using booms to keep the oil off beaches and cannons to drive away birds that likely would die if they got immersed in the sticky crude.

Hope fades. Rescue teams in Washington state are losing hope of finding survivors buried in the mud and debris left behind by Saturday’s massive landslide between the towns of Oso and Darrington. The death toll stands at 14, and no survivors have been found since Saturday. Another 176 people are listed as either missing or unaccounted for, but authorities do not believe all of those are victims. Some people might simply not have checked in with local officials or worried relatives. Heavy rain in the area over the last month caused high levels of groundwater, which eventually sparked the landslide. Rescue efforts have been hampered by continued rain and the instability of the debris field, which rescuers describe as like quicksand or wet cement.

Security announcement. President Barack Obama plans to ask Congress to consider legislation that would end the National Security Administration’s collection of bulk phone records data. Later this week, the president will announce a plan that would keep that data out of government hands until it needs it. The White House has not released details of the plan, including where or who would store the data for future use. Security experts have proposed phone companies be required to hold the data, although privacy experts say that still leaves Americans vulnerable to government snooping.

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Justified shooting. Florida prosecutors say a man being questioned about the Boston Marathon bombing suspects threatened the FBI agent who shot him in May. State Attorney Jeff Ashton said today the agent was justified in shooting Ibragim Todashev. Agents claim the 27-year-old friend of bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev had just admitted to his involvement in a triple murder and agreed to write down his statement when he suddenly grabbed a pole and threatened the officers. The FBI believes Tsarnaev and Todashev killed three people in Waltham, Mass., in 2011, about two years before Tsarnaev and his brother Dzhokhar planted bombs that killed three people and injured almost 200 others. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a shootout with police several days after the bombing. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is awaiting trial.

Base shooting. Navy officials are trying to figure out why a civilian visiting Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia boarded a guided-missile destroyer, disarmed a guard, and killed a sailor. The incident happened late Monday night. Investigators have released few details but confirmed the attacker, who was not armed when he boarded the ship, was himself shot and killed. Officials so far have declined to name either the suspect or the sailor who was killed. They did confirm the suspect was authorized to be on base, but would not say for what reason. Civilians with permission to come on base can include Department of Defense employees, contractors, and military family members.

Leigh Jones
Leigh Jones

Leigh lives in Atlanta and is the managing editor of WORLD's website.

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