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News Wrap: Oil Leak Will Continue Through Tuesday, BP Says

May 21, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT
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JIM LEHRER: Still to come on the “NewsHour” tonight: the big art robbery in Paris; an Afghan opposition leader; the disputed U.S. Marine base on Okinawa; and Shields and Brooks — but first, the other news of this day.

Here’s Hari Sreenivasan in our newsroom.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Wall Street battled back today, as bargain-hunters bought up stocks after yesterday’s huge sell-off. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 125 points to close at 10193. The Nasdaq rose 25 points to close at 2229. But, for the week, the Dow lost 4 percent; the Nasdaq fell 5 percent.

It will be Tuesday, at the earliest, before engineers try to stop the spate of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. BP said today it needs more time before trying to pump heavy drilling mud and cement into the wellhead a mile deep. The company also reported a sharp drop in how much oil it siphoned from the well in the last 24 hours. And debate continued over how much is gushing into the sea.

In Louisiana, Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry announced, a scientific team will address that very question.

REAR ADMIRAL MARY LANDRY, U.S. coast guard: This team will put together a very important report about what we think the actual estimate is of the oil emitting from this well, from this damaged riser.

And, in the course of that work, they are going to have it peer-reviewed, and it is going to be given rigorous oversight and rigorous attention by the federal government and by academia, so that we can have a very, very accurate estimate of what the flow rate was emitting from the well.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Meanwhile, heavy oil kept coming ashore, forcing Grand Isle, Louisiana, to close its public beach. Some local officials complained, the federal government should take over the spill and push BP aside.

In Iraq, a car bomb killed 23 people and wounded more than 50 in a Shiite town north of Baghdad. The blast shattered part of an open-air market crowded with shoppers. Many of the victims were sitting in a cafe in the center of the market.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Asia today with a warning to North Korea. At her first stop in Japan, she said there’s overwhelming evidence the North torpedoed a South Korean warship in March, killing 46 sailors. Clinton called for making it clear there will be consequences. She did not, however, say what those consequences might be.

President Obama has begun the process of finding a new director of national intelligence. Aides said today he’s spoke with a number of well-qualified candidates. Retired Admiral Dennis Blair resigned the post under pressure yesterday, after just 16 months. He had been criticized over the airliner bombing attempt over Detroit last Christmas and the Times Square bomb plot in New York.

Presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs:

ROBERT GIBBS, White House press secretary: There is no doubt that we continue to have, as a result — and we saw this that the president identified on the attempted Christmas Day bombing — that there are still coordination issues that we have to work through. The president simply believed that it was — it was time to transition to a different director of national intelligence.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Gibbs also commended Blair for his service in overseeing the nation’s 16 intelligence agencies.

Big rigs and other work trucks in the U.S. will have to start meeting gas mileage and emissions standards. President Obama signed a directive today ordering federal agencies to develop the standards. They would be phased in over four years starting 2014. Cars and light trucks are already under a mandate to increase gas mileage nearly 10 miles a gallon by 2016.

Those are some of the day’s major stories — now back to Judy.