Wednesday: BP Delays Test on New Cap; Eight Americans Killed in Afghanistan

BY Jason M. Breslow  July 14, 2010 at 9:31 AM EST

Oil continued to flow into the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday as the plan to start slowly shutting off valves on the new cap over the well was suddenly halted. Government officials and BP said further analysis must be done before the critical tests can proceed.

Meantime, the Associated Press reports that scientists are seeing the first signs that the oil spill disaster “is altering the marine food web by killing or tainting some creatures and spurring the growth of others more suited to a fouled environment.”

The Washington Post finds similarities to the Exxon Valdez spill:

“Exxon Valdez…offers striking parallels to today’s events in the Gulf of Mexico — including a central role played by a consortium led by British Petroleum, now known as BP…. History is repeating, say officials who investigated the Valdez, because the lessons of two decades ago remain unheeded.”

The Atlantic’s Kate Sheppard lists possible targets of the Department of Justice’s probe into the leak.

The New York Times profiles New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who even before the spill had a lot on his plate.

“‘The oil spill’s much worse than we ever thought,’ Mr. Landrieu said. ‘The budget’s much worse, the dysfunction is much worse, the N.O.P.D. is much worse. But, you know, that’s why I signed up.’”

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports on a “war of words” between the administrations of President Obama and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Eight Americans Killed in Afghanistan

Eight American troops died in separate attacks in southern Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday. So far in July, 45 international troops have died in Afghanistan, 33 of them Americans.

Elsewhere, the BBC reports “a major manhunt is under way in Helmand province for the rogue Afghan soldier who killed three British soldiers.”

Panel to Vote on Safety of Diabetes Drug Avandia

A federal advisory panel will vote Wednesday on whether Avandia, a diabetes medicine, is safe enough to remain on the market. The group will vote on a range of recommendations, including possible withdrawal of the drug. The FDA will make a final decision in coming months.

Obama Administration: Stimulus Creating Jobs

A report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers says last year’s $862 billion stimulus law has “saved or created” between 2.5 million and 3.6 million jobs. Those numbers are up from 2.2 million to 2.8 million in the last quarterly report.

Meantime, the Wall Street Journal reports that business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and the National Federation of Independent Businesses, will air a list of concerns about government policy at a “Jobs for America Summit” at the Chamber’s offices Wednesday.

The Chamber will issue an open letter to President Obama asking that the administration cut taxes, act on pledges to expand export markets and streamline government rules.

New Orleans Officers Charged in Bridge Shootings

Four current and two former New Orleans police officers were charged in a federal grand jury indictment Monday that accuses four of the men of shooting unarmed civilians on the Danziger Bridge several days after Hurricane Katrina and all six of them of plotting to cover up what they knew was an unjustified attack.