Tuesday: BP Tests New Cap; Cuba Frees 7 Political Prisoners; Steinbrenner Dies
BP on Tuesday will begin testing the new, tight-fitting cap on top of the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico to see if it will hold and stop oil from spilling for the first time in nearly three months. BP expects to know within 48 hours if the new cap will work.
BP said it expects no oil will be released into the Gulf during the tests, but remained cautious about the success of the system.
If it works, the cap solution is temporary. A permanent fix will come when one of two relief wells being drilled reaches the broken well, which will then be plugged with mud and cement. The timetable for that is mid-August.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune recaps the first hearing of the presidential commission investigating the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Commission members were “stunned” by a statement from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who said that he was looking to the commission for information that could inform the Obama administration’s position on halting deepwater drilling.
Cuba Frees 7 Political Prisoners
Seven Cuban political prisoners and members of their families arrived in Madrid on Tuesday, the first of a group of inmates the Cuban government has promised to release.
Raul Castro has pledged to free 52 Cubans who international human rights group say were jailed for their political beliefs. The decision is part of a deal brokered last week by Spain’s foreign minister between government authorities and Cuba’s Roman Catholic Church.
Yoani Sanchez, who blogs about Cuban issues for the Huffington Post, interviews Pedro Arguelles, one of the 52 political prisoners. Arguelles has been in prison for seven- and-a-half years.
Aging Cuban leader Fidel Castro made a rare appearance on Cuban television Monday night. Castro has stayed largely out of the public eye in recent months. The AP has this report:
Poll Shows New Low in Public’s Confidence in Obama
Fifty-seven percent of voters have just some confidence in President Barack Obama or no confidence at all, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll. The numbers are the president’s lowest confidence numbers to date.
The poll figures are explained here.
Iranian Scientist Seeks Refuge in Washington Embassy
Iran’s state TV claimed Tuesday that a missing Iranian nuclear scientist who was abducted by the United States, has taken refuge at the Pakistani embassy in Washington and is asking to return to his homeland.
The scientist, Shahram Amiri, disappeared while on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in June 2009, reports the Associated Press. Iran has repeatedly claimed that the United States abducted Amiri. The United States claims that Amiri defected and was assisting the CIA in efforts to undermine Iran’s nuclear program.
The Washington Post reports that it is unclear whether he sought refuge by himself at the embassy or was handed over by U.S. officials.
Last week, the New York Times reported on conflicting videos made by Amiri. In one, he says he was kidnapped and tortured last year by American agents. In a second video, Amiri says he is studying happily in the United States.
The Times reports Monday that Iranian officials were making arrangements for his return. It was not clear how or when the scientist would leave the country.
Yankees Owner Steinbrenner Dies
New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner has died, the New York Daily News reported on its website. Steinbrenner turned 80 on July 4. Reports say he died from a massive heart attack.
The Yankees won seven World Series titles and 11 American League pennants under Steinbrenner’s ownership. Steinbrenner purchased the Yankees in 1973 for $10 million. The franchise is now worth billions.
We’ll have more later on the Yankees owner.