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Need to Know, June 18, 2010

Two months after the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon, oil is still spewing into the fragile waters along the Louisiana coastline. The spill has threatened industry and wildlife, and posed a vexing political problem for the White House.

This week on Need to Know, we take a look at the spill from multiple vantage points. First, our medical correspondent Dr. Emily Senay examines what is known and what is not known about the effect of the Gulf crisis on human health. As cleanup workers fall ill and locals report strong smells, scientists are debating the health risks. But those on the front lines of this disaster want answers.

Then we travel to the 300-old-year community of Grand Isle, Louisiana, where residents have longed made their livelihoods from the Gulf. Now, all that has changed. Illustrator and satirist Steve Brodner helps us visualize the size of the spill, given how elusive facts have been. And finally, we take a look at how the British have reacted to criticism of one of their most successful corporations.

We also examine America’s renewed fascination with gold, and talk to Somali-Canadian hip-hop artist K’naan, whose song “Wavin’ Flag” was chosen as the theme for this year’s World Cup. Plus, Jon Meacham remembers a time when presidents could talk honestly and realistically about the nation’s problems.