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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Halliburton Employee Charged in Oil Spill

Anthony Badalamenti, former cementing technology director for Halliburton, has been charged with destroying evidence following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Halliburton was British Petroleum’s cement contractor on the drilling rig that exploded, killing 11 people and causing the largest oil spill ever off the coast of the United States. Halliburton was also fined $200,000, the maximum fine possible for for the misdemeanor charge of unauthorized destruction of evidence. Halliburton was indemnified from damages charges by a contract it held with BP, despite allegations that the cement mix used by Halliburton were the cause of the explosion.

Attorney General Eric Holder hailed the fine and charges, saying they “mark the latest steps forward in the Justice Department’s efforts to achieve justice on behalf of all those affected by the Deepwater Horizon explosion, oil spill, and environmental disaster.”

Activists Arrested by Russia in International Waters

Russia has arrested 25 members of the Greenpeace ‘Save the Arctic’ campaign. Activists aboard the Greenpeace vessel, Arctic Sunrise, were in the Barents Sea protesting the exploration of energy deposits by Russian oil firm, Gazprom, at the Prirazlomnaya oil rig, when their ship was boarded in international waters by armed Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) agents.

According to Russian officials, just yesterday the Russian Coast Guard fired ‘warning shots’ “due to the real threat to the security of the Russian oil and gas complex facility and insubordination to requests to abort the illegal activity.”

U.N. Forces Desert in Mali

Roughly 150 Chadian soldiers fled their U.N. peacekeeping posts in Tessalit, Mali in protest of the length of their deployment. The troops were in Mali as part of a largely successful French-led U.N. effort to drive Islamic secessionists out of Mali’s northern provinces. Samantha Buonvino, spokesperson for the U.N mission to Mali, said her organization is in talks with the troops and that other troops had stayed to secure the area.

French President François Hollande was in the Malian capital of Bamako today to attend the inauguration of Mali’s new president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Hollande gave a speech heralding the wartime success and Mali’s subsequent return to democratic government. “We have won this war, we have chased out the terrorists; we have secured the north and finally … we have – you have – organized an uncontested election and the winner is now the president of Mali,” Hollande told the gathered crowd. He went on, “If there had not been an intervention, today the terrorists would be here in Bamako.”

Abe Seeks Decommissioning for Nuclear Reactors

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) to scrap the two nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that survived the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. Abe said he gave the order so that Tepco and government employees might concentrate solely on dealing with Fukushima’s safety issues like continuing leaks of radioactive fluid into the surrounding area’s groundwater. After a tour of the facility, Abe told reporters that he has asked Tepco to set a time table for dealing with the leaking fluid, and pledged, “I will work hard to counter rumors questioning the safety of the Fukushima plant.”

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