Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Adobe today shipped a critical Reader/Acrobat patch

Logo of Adobe Systems IncorporatedImage via Wikipedia
Adobe today shipped a critical Reader/Acrobat patch to cover a total of 17 documented vulnerabilities that expose Windows, Mac and UNIX users to malicious hacker attacks.

The update, which affects Adobe Reader/Acrobat 9.3.2 (and earlier versions), includes a fix for the outstanding PDF “/Launch” functionality social engineering attack vector that was disclosed by researcher Didier Stevens.
As previously reported, Didier created a proof-of-concept PDF file that executes an embedded executable without exploiting any security vulnerabilities.


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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Britain needs a green bank to meet its 2020 goals to slash carbon emissions and curb use of fossil fuels

Illustration: Different types of renewable energy.Image via Wikipedia
Britain needs a green bank to meet its 2020 goals to slash carbon emissions and curb use of fossil fuels, a report commissioned by the Conservative Party said on Tuesday.

Britain is lagging European Union targets to cut carbon emissions and deploy renewable energy, and it also wants to upgrade its grid infrastructure and help roll out electric cars.
A "green bank" funded by new consumer levies; the sale of emissions permits to industry; and institutional and retail interest in new investment products will help plug the gap, according to the Green Investment Bank Commission.
"The scale of the investment required to meet UK climate change and renewable energy targets is unprecedented," said the report, called "Unlocking investment to deliver Britain's low carbon future."
The report is an independent, not a government, study that was commissioned by the Conservative Party when they were in opposition. They are now the larger party in a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats.
"Low carbon investment is a vital part of our economic recovery, and the Green Investment Bank is part of ensuring that UK PLC (business) can lead the world," said Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker, responding to the report.
"Detailed proposals on the creation of a UK Green Investment Bank will be brought forward following the Spending Review (on October 20)," he added.
The bank could take control of existing government grants and loans, such as those currently managed by the Carbon Trust, raise up to 10 billion pounds ($15.1 billion) a year in cash by issuing green bonds, the report suggested.
It also could offer tax-free products to retail investors, which would pay a yield based on returns from investments such as in wind farms, which could be underwritten by government cash or assets.
The Commission, chaired by Bob Wigley, chairman of Yell Group, cited estimates that Britain may need up to 550 billion pounds ($828.5 billion) in investment through 2020 to fund a low-carbon shift.


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Monday, June 28, 2010

MSpot, the latest service to promise free and unlimited streaming

Streaming music from the cloud to your computer or mobile device is nothing new, but doing so with your own library is something that's on the brink of becoming an everyday occurrence with upcoming efforts by Google, HP, and possibly even Apple.

Enter MSpot, the latest service to promise free and unlimited streaming from the cloud to your computer or Android device. The company on Monday is finally opening up this service to everyone following a month-long private beta.


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Sunday, June 27, 2010

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Friday, June 25, 2010

iPhone 4 has a few problems

Now that the iPhone 4 has been out for more than a day (at least in some parts of the world), it’s only logical that a number of bugs have popped up. It seems the biggest one has to do with reception. Apple’s response? It’s you’re probably holding the phone the wrong way.
Yesterday, a number of new iPhone owners reported dropped calls and bad reception when holding their shiny new smartphones in their left hands. Apple has responded to some of the glitches already, saying to “avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band.”
I thought the new exterior antenna design was supposed to actually reduce reception issues rather than make them more confusing. After spending $200-$300, now they’re trying to re-teach customers how to hold a mobile phone? I don’t own an iPhone 4, but I think if/when I buy one, I should only be worried about blocking the speaker and microphone considering the most basic purpose of this device is to act as a telephone.
Or maybe the reason behind this is that Apple just doesn’t like lefties.


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Thursday, June 24, 2010

The company that oversees Web addresses is expected to give the go-ahead on Friday for the creation of a .xxx suffix for websites with pornographic content

ICANN LogoImage via Wikipedia
The company that oversees Web addresses is expected to give the go-ahead on Friday for the creation of a .xxx suffix for websites with pornographic content, company officials indicated on Thursday.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which oversees the Internet on behalf of the U.S. government, has in the past resisted creating a .xxx generic domain name system akin to those for .com and .net.
It has in recent years repeatedly rejected a request by U.S. company ICM Registry Inc. to sign off on the .xxx domain.
But members of ICANN's board have argued that in order to maintain neutrality in dealing with domain name assignations, it should create .xxx and allow websites with sexually explicit content to start using the suffix on a voluntary basis.
"If expedited due diligence results are successful, then staff will proceed into contract negotiations with ICM (over .xxx)," ICANN's general counsel John Jeffrey told delegates at a week-long ICANN meeting in Brussels on Thursday.
Online pornography is a vast industry. Figures collated by Internet Pornography Statistics suggest more than $3,000 is spent on Internet pornography every second, with "sex" the number one search term in the world, accounting for 25 percent of all Internet searches.
With an estimated 370 million pornographic websites on the Internet, .xxx could become one of the largest domain name repositories, as big if not bigger than .com.
But some members of the adult entertainment industry oppose .xxx, saying it will invite censorship and harm their business. Members of the American religious right also oppose its creation on moral grounds.
ICANN is expected to make a formal announcement on its decision on Friday.


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More whales are being killed by chemical and noise pollution

International Whaling Commission LogoImage via Wikipedia
More whales are being killed by chemical and noise pollution, entanglement in nets, climate change or collisions with ships than by whaling itself, delegates to the world's main whaling body said this week.

Harpooning whales for their meat and oil pushed many species close to extinction in the last century. Stocks have begun to recover under a moratorium on whaling agreed in 1986, although Japan, Norway and Iceland still hunt the giant mammals.
But climate change now means it is harder for whales to find food, ship collisions are growing, pollution is disrupting their reproduction, and fishing nets can kill or wound them, according to delegates at the International Whaling Commission's (IWC) annual meeting in the Moroccan Atlantic city of Agadir.
"If you put all these threats together, whaling pales in comparison," U.S. IWC Commissioner Monica Medina told Reuters. "These issues are so much more problematic and we really need to change the focus of the Commission onto these things."
A proposal to replace the whaling moratorium with a limited cull failed at the IWC meeting because it was opposed by many anti-whaling nations as well as by Japan, which refused to stop hunting for whales in the southern ocean.


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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

ability of a chip implanted in a human body to infect and be infected

New research that points to the ability of a chip implanted in a human body to infect and be infected by other systems and devices, may potentially have serious implications for implanted medical devices, which are becoming more pervasive. British researcher Mark Gasson found that a virus-infected chip implanted in his hand was able to contaminate external systems, as well as devices that connected to those systems, Xinhua News Agency reported last month. In response to e-mail queries from ZDNet Asia, Gasson said the aim of the research was to draw attention to the lack of security in implantable devices, including medical ones.

According to the senior research fellow at the University of Reading's School of Systems Engineering, the chip implanted in his left hand near the base of his thumb allowed him to gain access to a building, as well as to operate a designated mobile phone. It was in his body for over a year before a vulnerability in the technology was deliberately exploited. The computer virus was then able to infect the building access system, as well as devices that connected to that particular system.


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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Center for Science in the Public Interest said Tuesday that it has served McDonald's notice

The Center for Science in the Public Interest said Tuesday that it has served McDonald's notice of its intent to sue over what it says is unfair and deceptive marketing.

"McDonald's is the stranger in the playground handing out candy to children," CSPI's litigation director, Stephen Gardner, said in a prepared statement. "It's a creepy and predatory practice that warrants an injunction."
In its notice letter, CSPI says that McDonald's toy-related promotions violate state consumer protection laws in four states and the District of Columbia. The letter gives McDonald's 30 days to agree to stop the practice before a suit is filed.
The nutrition group claims that using toys to entice children instills bad eating habits and puts kids at higher risk of risk of developing obesity, diabetes, or other diet-related diseases over the course of their lifetime.
McDonald's disagreed with the CSPI's criticism, saying that its U.S. advertising campaign is focused on low-calorie Happy Meals.


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And now from the Grandstand

A judge on Tuesday overturned the Obama administration's six-month ban on deepwater drilling, complicating its efforts to improve oil industry safety after the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
The White House said it would appeal the judge's ruling, issued in a court case in New Orleans.
It came as a new Reuters/Ipsos poll found that most Americans still support offshore drilling, despite watching a huge oil slick from BP Plc's Gulf of Mexico oil spill devastate fragile wetlands and communities along the U.S. Gulf coast over the past two months.
The judge in Louisiana granted a request by more than a dozen oil services companies for a preliminary restraining order to prevent the Obama administration's six-month deepwater drilling moratorium from going into effect.


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when mass market retailers are getting in on the game.

Image representing Sonic Solutions as depicted...Image via CrunchBase
Here's how you know streaming video has gone mainstream: when mass market retailers are getting in on the game.

Scheduled for a holiday release is a new digital video service that will be available on TVs and Blu-ray players sold at Sears and Kmart. It's called Alphaline Entertainment, and will be available on devices from Sharp, LG, Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, and RCA by the end of the year. Customers will be walked through the set-up inside the store by customer service representatives so that they can just take it home and begin watching movie content at once.
The service is similar to what Best Buy and Wal-Mart have started offering. Sears and Kmart's service is powered by the same back-end technology as Best Buy's: Sonic Solutions' RoxioNow streaming and content architecture. There are about 5,000 new-release movies available on the service, according to Sonic.


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Monday, June 21, 2010

United Arab Emirates sits on a sweltering desert coast with rapidly diminishing freshwater resources.

This is a photo of a public space in the cente...Image via Wikipedia
Driving along brand new highways with medians of lush trees and manicured grass, one could easily forget the United Arab Emirates sits on a sweltering desert coast with rapidly diminishing freshwater resources.

The Gulf Arab nation's oil income has allowed it to subsidize extravagant water use for Emiratis, either those in gated communities sporting pristine pools and evergreen golf courses or for farmers clinging to ancient irrigation practices.
Environmentalists warn the country, already reliant on costly desalination plants powered by its lucrative fossil fuels, must cut consumption by its 8.2 million people or risk depleting groundwater resources in 50 years.
"We need to convince them that water here isn't a free resource. It's not even a natural resource, it's manmade. It is costly, and it has a big environmental impact," said Mohamed Daoud of the state-run Environment Agency in Abu Dhabi.
But that is not an easy task in a country where billboards encouraging conservation compete for space and attention with promotions for waterparks, an indoor ski slope and a famous dancing fountain.
Abu Dhabi, seat of the seven member UAE federation and the wealthiest of its emirates, consumes 550 liters of water per person per day, Daoud said -- two to three times the world average of 180-200 liters. Analysts say per capita water use in the UAE overall is roughly four times that of Europe.


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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Residents of the Gulf Coast braced for more oil from a ruptured BP

Residents of the Gulf Coast braced for more oil from a ruptured BP Plc well to hit their beaches on Sunday as oil washed ashore at Panama City, a popular Florida tourist destination.
The city's beaches remained open after clean-up crews removed the tar balls from shore, authorities said. Even so, the sight is a worry for a state with an annual tourism industry worth $60 billion.
"The vast majority (of tar balls) disappeared with the tide. Our beaches are open and clean," said Valerie Lovett, spokeswoman for Florida's Bay County.
The largest spill in U.S. history threatens the coastal economies of four states including hard-hit Louisiana. It has also severely dented the British energy giant's finances and reputation and tarnished President Barack Obama's popularity.


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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Kobo reading app is now available as a free download from the Android Market

Android MarketImage via Wikipedia

BaseEbook lovers with Android devices will be glad to know that the Kobo reading app is now available as a free download from the Android Market.

Existing Kobo users can sign in to their account and begin reading immediately; their library and all existing bookmarks will be synchronized across devices. Users can also browse the Kobo online bookstore from within the Kobo app and purchase additional titles.

The new Kobo reader application for Android joins previously available applications for Blackberry, iPhone, and iPad. The Windows and Mac Kobo Desktop application that comes with the standalone Kobo Reader ebook device will also be available for free download this summer.

Kobo offers more than two million ebooks for eReading "anytime and anyplace" with thousands of free titles and classics in addition to current bestsellers, many selling for $9.99 or less.
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Friday, June 18, 2010

Campbell Soup recalls 15M pounds of SpaghettiOs

Some instant soup come in tins (or cans). They...Image via Wikipedia
Campbell Soup recalls 15M pounds of SpaghettiOs


WASHINGTON - Campbell Soup Co. is recalling 15 million pounds of SpaghettiOs with meatballs due to possible underprocessing.
The Agriculture Department announced the recall late Thursday.
The company is recalling certain lots of three varieties of the pasta product often consumed by children: SpaghettiOs with Meatballs, SpaghettiOs A to Z with Meatballs, and SpaghettiOs Fun Shapes with Meatballs (Cars).
The recall dates back to December 2008.


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Thursday, June 17, 2010

A new documentary purporting to expose the hazards of onshore natural gas drilling illustrates

Gulf of Mexico with shipImage via Wikipedia
A new documentary purporting to expose the hazards of onshore natural gas drilling illustrates its point with startling images of people setting fire to water flowing from faucets in their homes.
"GasLand," which premiers on cable's HBO on June 21, fuels the debate over shale gas and the extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing, which involves blasting millions of gallons of water, sand and diluted chemicals into shale rock, breaking it apart to free the gas.
It comes at a time of heightened environmental awareness and scrutiny of the energy industry due to the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
Advocates promote shale gas as an abundant and relatively clean source of energy within the United States but critics including "GasLand" director Josh Fox assert there are environmental and health risks.
Fox, a Pennsylvania playwright, calls the industry's contention that such drilling is harmless too good to be true. He started asking questions about when his family was offered $100,000 plus royalties to allow hydraulic fracturing, also known as "fracking," on their property.
"I don't think it's a gold mine. I think it's a trap," Fox said. He turned down the offer but many neighbors took the money.
The documentary traces Fox's cross-country journey and includes interviews with families who signed leases with the gas industry and now regret it.
In Colorado, Fox shows families setting tap water alight due to what they say is gas that entered the water during the drilling process. Colorado authorities ruled out that scenario at one of the homes where Fox filmed.
"The film started with just a basic inquiry into what was happening with gas drilling," Fox told Reuters in an interview. "Quickly, though, I found out that it was a complete disaster for all the places that I visited."
The film, Fox's first feature-length documentary, won the Special Jury Prize for documentaries at the Sundance Film Festival.


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The ACLU and other groups propose a six-point plan for Facebook

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBase
The ACLU and other groups propose a six-point plan for Facebook to follow to improve its privacy and security controls. But the social networking site appears unmoved, issuing a point-by-point refutation of the plan.
Facebook's privacy battles are not over at all. In an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, (PDF) privacy advocates June 16 released a six-point plan for the social network to follow to give users more control over the sharing of their information.
For the moment, Facebook does not appear to be budging, but said it was open to continuing a dialogue about privacy.


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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lowering the water table and destroying 1000s of acres a success?

Athabasca Oil Sands NASA Earth Observatory ima...Image via Wikipedia
A record of success in the Alberta oil sands and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are expected to whet investors’ appetite for a $1.25-billion initial public offering from MEG Energy Corp., the latest in a series of mega-deals from Canada’s oil patch.

After a decade of raising private money from blue-chip backers in Britain and China, along with his family and friends, MEG founder and chief executive officer William McCaffrey plans to take his company public this summer. MEG needs money to pay for a $1.4-billion expansion of its properties over the next two years that is expected to more than double the company’s oil production to 60,000 barrels a day.


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1.5 million PCs hunting for cancer

Image representing IBM as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase
IBM is supporting a program that uses the donated computing power of 1.5 million Web-connected PCs in 80 countries around the world to help hunt for proteins that researchers believe are related to life-threatening diseases such as cancer, AIDS and influenza.

Tapping the unused cycle time of 1.5 million PCs donated by hundreds of thousands of volunteers in more than 80 countries, the Help Conquer Cancer Project working with the IBM-supported World Community Grid has achieved a breakthrough in automating the process of finding potentially cancer-causing proteins.
The technology allows the viewing of six times as many images per protein in dramatically less time than is possible manually under human review, IBM reports.
As part of the Help Conquer Cancer project, began in November 2007 by the Ontario Cancer Institute and Buffalo, N.Y.'s Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, researchers have programmed the globally distributed computer grid to recognize when proteins have crystallized. Researchers can then use X-rays to identify proteins that may cause cancer, Dr. Joseph Jasinski, an IBM Distinguished Engineer and program director of IBM's Health Care and Life Sciences Institute, told eWEEK.


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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lightning Strikes BP Ship, Halts Oil Containment Efforts

Intercloud lightnings over Toulouse (France). ...Image via Wikipedia
Lightning Strikes BP Ship, Halts Oil Containment Efforts


There are reports that BP was forced to temporarily pause oil collection and containment efforts in the Gulf as a precautionary measure earlier. This was apparently because lightning struck one of the company's ships and resulted in a fire. [WSJ]


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Monday, June 14, 2010

BP plans to purchase 32 centrifugal oil-and-water separators built by a company backed by Kevin Costner

BP plans to purchase 32 centrifugal oil-and-water separators built by a company backed by Kevin Costner, the actor's business partner told the Los Angeles Times.

Ocean Therapy Solutions has increased production to get the devices to the Gulf of Mexico, the paper said. All the company needs now is money.
"Kevin has spent 15 years and $24 million of his own money on this technology, and we have spent over $1 million more than that on adjusting the machines and preparing them for testing," Costner's business partner and Louisiana attorney John Houghtaling told the paper. "We haven't gotten a check yet from BP. The sooner it comes, the sooner we can act."
Costner bought the technology in 1989 and called on scientists to help perfect it. The Times said the machines suck up water polluted with oil and spin it around at high speeds. One side spits out oil and the other side spits out water. Ocean Therapy's largest machine, which costs about $500,000, can clean 210,000 gallons per day.
Costner was on the Hill last week to testify before the House Committee on Science and Technology about Ocean Therapy's.


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Watch Audi MedCup Marseille live at eComYachting

The Audi MedCup Marseille, starts Tuesday the 15th to Sunday the 20th – can the Kiwi’s make it three in a row? The coverage will be available live at eComYachting in English, Italian and Spanish.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

President Barack Obama will press BP executives this week to set up an escrow account

BP CEO Tony Hayward: "I'd like my life ba...Image by elycefeliz via Flickr
President Barack Obama will press BP executives this week to set up an escrow account to pay damage claims by individuals and businesses hurt by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster.

The move comes as Obama, who will address the nation about the spill on Tuesday night, faces questions on his handling of the disaster, which has now dragged on for 55 days. Millions of gallons of oil have poured into the Gulf since an April 20 offshore rig blast killed 11 workers and blew out the BP well.


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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Adobe has shipped a “critical” Flash Player update to fix a total of 32

Image representing Adobe Flash as depicted in ...Image via CrunchBase
Adobe has shipped a “critical” Flash Player update to fix a total of 32 documented vulnerabilities in the ubiquitous software product.

The Adobe Flash Player10.1.53.64 update comes on the heels of last week’s in-the-wild attacks against a zero-day hole in Adobe’s Reader and Flash Player product. This patch fixes that vulnerability along with 31 other serious security problems.
documented vulnerabilities in the ubiquitous software product.
The Adobe Flash Player10.1.53.64 update comes on the heels of last week’s in-the-wild attacks against a zero-day hole in Adobe’s Reader and Flash Player product. This patch fixes that vulnerability along with 31 other serious security problems.




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Friday, June 11, 2010

World Cup tournament will offset the carbon dioxide emissions

Football Globe of the Fifa World Cup 2006 in f...Image via Wikipedia
Over half of the soccer teams participating in the South African World Cup tournament will offset the carbon dioxide emissions they generate from travel and hotel stays, Swiss offsetter South Pole said on Friday.

The United Nations Environment Programme and the South African ministry of environment have launched an initiative to offset the emissions of the soccer teams, which are expected to generate 6,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per team, including coaching staff.
According to a study by the Norwegian and South African governments, the World Cup will result in 2.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. This is eight times as much as the World Cup 2006 in Germany.
This is mainly due to longer journey times by fans and players from around the world and the inefficient South African power grid, which still relies on coal.


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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

caviar poaching has decimated the species considered a national pride

KIBBUTZ DAN, ISRAEL - APRIL 22:  Yigal Ben Tzv...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
As glum Russian fishermen haul in their net, just two small sturgeon are splashing about among the daily catch.

The scene on the Volga River has become commonplace in modern Russia, where caviar poaching has decimated the species considered a national pride.
"In the old days, we would catch sturgeon each weighing 40 to 50 kg, or 60 kg (132 lb)," sighed Pavel Syzranov, the head of the once thriving Lenin fishery in southern Russia.
"Now there are no sturgeon left of that size," he said after the two immature fish, known as sterlets, were released back into the Volga.
The relentless hunt for the so-called "Czar fish" and its precious eggs has acquired such huge proportions in post-Soviet Russia that the prehistoric creature, which outlived the dinosaurs, has itself now been pushed to the edge of extinction.
Russia's wild capitalism and murky reforms of the 1990s dealt a severe blow to fisheries like the one in Zelenga, a tiny, once-flourishing town in the Volga Delta, where sturgeon come to spawn after maturing in the Caspian Sea.


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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

"whose ass to kick" over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill

President Barack Obama said he wanted to know "whose ass to kick" over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, adding to the pressure on energy giant BP Plc as it sought to capture more of the leak from its gushing well.

In an interview with NBC News' "Today" aired on Tuesday, Obama also said that if BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward worked for him, he would have fired him by now over his response to the 50-day-old spill, the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. It was triggered by an April 20 well blowout and rig explosion that killed 11 workers.
The U.S. president, who himself faces growing criticism that his administration was slow to react to the economic and ecological catastrophe hitting four U.S. Gulf states, said he did not want to prejudge the investigation into the incident.
"But the initial reports indicate there may be situations in which not only human error was involved, but you also saw some corner cutting in terms of safety," Obama said in some of his angriest public words yet about the catastrophe.
Hayward says a "series of failures" led to the accident but denies these resulted from BP efforts to save costs.


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How FCC Plans to Reverse Title II Action in December

How FCC Plans to Reverse Title II Action in December By:  Wayne Rash  |  November 21,2017 The FCC plans regarding net neutrality, set ...