Archive for June 15th, 2010

15
Jun
10

Obama Appoints Lawyer to Overhaul Oil Drilling Agency

NEWS
Obama Appoints Lawyer to Overhaul Oil Drilling Agency

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

U.S. President Barack Obama announced Tuesday his selection of Michael Bromwich to lead the Administration’s efforts to accelerate reforms in the regulation and oversight of offshore oil drilling.

A former Assistant U.S. Attorney and Justice Department Inspector General, Bromwich will lead the effort to reform the Minerals Management Service (MMS), restoring integrity and rigor to the relationship between federal regulatory officials and oil companies.
Bromwich will develop the plans for a new oversight structure, replacing long-standing, inadequate practices with a gold-standard approach for environmental and safety regulation.

“For a decade or more, the cozy relationship between the oil companies and the federal agency was allowed to go unchecked. That allowed drilling permits to be issued in exchange not for safety plans, but assurances of safety from oil companies. That cannot and will not happen anymore,” Obama said in a statement.
Bromwich will also oversee the reorganization of the MMS to eliminate conflicts among the different missions of the agency which include establishing safety standards, regulating industry compliance, and collecting royalties. These actions will ensure that there is no conflict of interest, real or perceived, in oil industry oversight.
U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has announced plans to split MMS into three new divisions – the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and the Office of Natural Resources Revenue – the most significant in a series of Interior Department reforms launched since January 2009.
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15
Jun
10

Microsoft Office 2010 goes on sale worldwide

NEWS
Microsoft Office 2010 goes on sale worldwide

Friday, June 11, 2010

••• Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday announced that the latest version of its Office software is now available for consumers worldwide.

Starting from Tuesday, consumers can purchase Microsoft Office 2010 at more than 35,000 retail stores across the globe, through online retailers or from Microsoft website.

Office 2010 can also be purchased with desktops and laptops from leading personal computer (PC) makers including Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and Sony, Microsoft said in a press release.

The software giant predicted that in the next year, more than 100 million PCs will ship with Office 2010 preloaded.

Microsoft said it has made considerable enhancements to Office 2010, a suite of applications including the popular Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint.

For example, improvements to Word 2010 can help users add extensive text effects and table formatting options.

Microsoft also announced that a free, Web-based version of the Office programs is becoming available to consumers.

The Office Web Apps, which includes Web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote that enable users to edit and share documents online, is seen as Microsoft’s answer to Google Inc.’s Web-based applications.
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• Source(s): Microsoft Corporation
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15
Jun
10

Obama tours disaster zone to set stage for national address

NEWS
Obama tours disaster zone to set stage for national address

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

U.S. President Barack Obama labelled the Gulf oil spill an environmental 9/11 as he made a fourth disaster zone trip.

The London-based energy giant’s shares meanwhile slumped 10 percent, amid deep investor anxiety about the costs it will bear for America’s worst ecological catastrophe and investor fears for the firm’s lucrative dividend.

Obama sought to engineer a pivot point following sharp criticism of his handling of the two-month Gulf of Mexico disaster.

He set off on a two-day, three-state tour of areas fearing a devastating ecological and economic blow from the massive oil slick coating a vast swathe of the Gulf, and threatening tourist resorts and teeming fishing stocks.

The visit to Mississippi, Alabama and Florida was set to bolster Obama’s message in his first Oval Office address to the American people on Tuesday night, focusing on the disaster.

He also hoped to set the stage for his showdown with BP’s chairman at the White House the next day.

Obama also apparently sought to defuse claims that he has shown insufficient empathy with local people who fear their way of life will be destroyed by the disaster unleashed by the Deepwater Horizon explosion in April.

The president munched on shrimp and mini crab cakes to show local seafood was safe and implored Americans to visit the dazzling white sands of the southern coast, aiming to boost the fishing and tourism sectors.

‘There’s still a lot of opportunity for visitors to come down here. There are a lot of beaches that have not been affected and will not be affected,’ Obama said in Gulfport, Mississippi.

White House deputy spokesman Bill Burton meanwhile said the administration was confident it had legal authority to prod BP to set up an escrow account to compensate those pitched into economic hardship by the disaster.

BP met a 48-hour ultimatum on Sunday to present a new plan to roughly triple the amount of oil it is capturing from the ruptured undersea well by the end of June, to more than 50,000 barrels, 2.1 million gallons, a day.

The company is currently siphoning up about 15,000 barrels of oil a day to a ship on the surface, about half the amount believed to be streaming into the Gulf from a well it has repeatedly failed to plug.

In London, BP’s already pummelled shares plunged more then 10 percent to 351 pence in late afternoon trade.

Earlier reports suggested BP would bow to massive U.S. pressure and decide to suspend dividend payments as its potential liability over the oil spill soars.
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15
Jun
10

5.7 earthquake rattles U.S. – Mexico border region

NEWS
5.7 earthquake rattles U.S. – Mexico border region

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Earth••• An earthquake has rocked Southern California, shaking the Los Angeles area and forcing a halt to the Toronto Blue Jays-San Diego Padres baseball game in San Diego.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude-5.7 quake was 5 miles southeast of Ocotill, near the U.S. – Mexico border.

It struck on Monday at about 9:26 pm PDT.

The quake was initially reported as a magnitude-5.9 temblor.

It was felt as a gentle rolling motion in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Orange County.

San Diego’s Petco Park swayed during the earthquake, and the public address announcer asked that everyone at the ball game remain calm. The crowd cheered.

The Padres’ David Eckstein had just grounded out in the bottom of the inning when the stadium began shaking.

The next batter, Chase Headley, stayed out of the batter’s box for a few seconds, then stepped in.

San Diego Sheriff’s dispatch supervisor, Becky Strahm, said some of her colleagues reported things falling off their shelves, but there were no immediate reports of significant damage or injury.

The quake follows a series of temblors that struck Southern California over the weekend, including a pair of moderate earthquakes that rattled a desert area east of San Diego.

Residents in downtown San Diego could feel the ground rumbling during at least one of the Saturday quakes.

There are no immediate reports of damage or injuries from Monday night’s earthquake.
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• Source(s): USGS
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