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Monday, July 12, 2010
Updated: July 16, 12:10 AM ET
Off the wire

BP chokes off the oil leak; now begins the wait
NEW ORLEANS — BP finally choked off the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday — 85 days and up to 184 million gallons after the crisis unfolded — then began a tense 48 hours of watching to see whether the capped-off well would hold or blow a new leak.
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

After days of progress, BP freezes work in Gulf
NEW ORLEANS — BP's work to cap its Gulf of Mexico gusher was in limbo Wednesday after the federal government raised concerns the operation could put damaging pressure on the busted well and make the leak worse.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the government didn't want potentially dangerous pressure tests on a new, tighter cap that has been placed on the well to go ahead until BP answers questions about possible risks.
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

Ill. governor floats plan to catch, eat Asian carp
CHICAGO — Diners in China could soon help control the Asian carp that are infesting Illinois waterways and threatening the Great Lakes.

Gov. Pat Quinn announced an agreement Tuesday between a Chinese meat processing plant and an Illinois fish company that is expected to pull 30 million pounds of Asian carp from Illinois rivers by the end of next year. Illinois is investing $2 million in capital funds so Big River Fish in Pearl can expand its facilities and increase production capacity.
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

Scientists say Gulf spill altering food web
NEW ORLEANS — Scientists are reporting early signs that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is altering the marine food web by killing or tainting some creatures and spurring the growth of others more suited to a fouled environment.

Near the spill site, researchers have documented a massive die-off of pyrosomes - cucumber-shaped, gelatinous organisms fed on by endangered sea turtles.
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

Bush's boat runs aground on beach in Maine
KENNEBUNK, Maine — Former President George H.W. Bush's fishing boat ended up high and dry on a beach near his Maine home after it ran aground in thick fog.

Fidelity IV became a curiosity for tourists as it sat stranded on Gooch's Beach at low tide on Monday. Hours later, his staff moved the boat to its dock in Kennebunkport.
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

Oil cap will be attached today, then tested
NEW ORLEANS — BP expected to attach a tight new cap Monday on its busted oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, putting the oil giant a few tantalizing steps closer to knowing whether the fix will be enough to finally stop crude from gushing into the Gulf.

The new cap, a 150,000-pound metal stack, was about 300 feet from where it's supposed to be installed on top of the leaking well, BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said in a Monday morning news briefing.
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

Scientists roll out mats to kill Lake Tahoe clams
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Scuba-diving scientists are unrolling long rubber mats across the bottom of Lake Tahoe coves in an attempt to quell a clam invasion that could cloud the world-reknown cobalt waters.

The half-acre mats are designed to smother dime-sized nonnative Asian clams that can reach populations of 5,000 per square yard.
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

NOAA: Gulf seafood tested so far is safe to eat
APALACHICOLA, Fla. — Shrimp, grouper, tuna and other seafood snatched from the fringes of the oil in the Gulf of Mexico are safe to eat, according to a federal agency inspecting the catch.

To date, roughly 400 samples of commonly consumed species caught mostly in open waters - and some from closed areas - have been chemically tested by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Officials say none so far has shown concerning levels of contaminants. Each sample represents multiple fish of the same species.
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

Britain's Conservatives, back in power, look to overturn fox hunting ban
CHIPPENHAM, ENGLAND — After queen and country, nothing was more dear in this region of elegant rural estates than the tallyho tradition of mounted riders chasing hounds chasing a fox.

So when the Labor Party pushed through a ban on fox hunting in 2004, die-hard Conservatives such as Ian Farquhar, a 64-year-old country gentleman with a Sean Connery smile, broke down and cried.
Read the complete story from The Washington Post.

Gulf oil spill panel to look at root causes
WASHINGTON — The new presidential oil spill commission will focus on how safety, government oversight and the ability to clean up spills haven't kept up with advances in drilling technology, the panel's leaders say.

The commission will also dig into what it calls the root causes of the April 20 BP oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, looking deeper than just equipment failures.
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

Amazon river dolphins being slaughtered for bait
RIO DE JANEIRO — The bright pink color gives them a striking appearance in the muddy jungle waters. That Amazon river dolphins are also gentle and curious makes them easy targets for nets and harpoons as they swim fearlessly up to fishing boats.

Now, their carcasses are showing up in record numbers on riverbanks, their flesh torn away for fishing bait, causing researchers to warn of a growing threat to a species that has already disappeared in other parts of the world.
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.

Alligator bites 18-year-old's hand off; gator caught and hand recovered
GOLDEN GATE ESTATES — An 18-year-old Golden Gate Estates man, who lost his hand after an alligator attack in the Estates on Sunday night, may be getting back what he lost.

Timothy J. Delano, 18, was swimming in a drainage canal called "The Chrystal" near the intersection of Everglades Boulevard and 42nd Avenue when a 10-foot alligator bit his left hand off, said FWC spokeswoman Gabriella Ferraro.
Read the complete story from Naples News.

Striped bass could shatter state record
Republic angler J.J. West has only caught one striped bass in his life in Missouri. But his cast Thursday night into rain-soaked Bull Shoals Lake was well worth the wait.

"I was fishing in the rain at 9:45 at night and was about ready to go home," West recalled Friday. "I was cursing the weather."

But his final shoreside cast produced a 58-pound, 10.4-ounce monster that likely will shatter Missouri's current striper record — a 56-pound 5-ounce. fish landed two years ago by Bradleyville fisherman Greg Blair.
Read the complete story from News-Leader.