NEW CASTLE, Colo. (AP) — Four in 10 new oil and gas wells near national forests and fragile watersheds or otherwise identified as higher pollution risks escape federal inspection, unchecked by an agency struggling to keep pace with America's drilling boom, according to an Associated Press review that shows wide state-by-state disparities in safety checks.
Four in 10 oil and gas wells drilled between fiscal years 2009 and 2012 escaped federal inspection even though they are near national forests, fragile watersheds or otherwise identified as higher pollution risks. Here are the states with wells on federal or Indian lands that were deemed "higher priority" for drilling inspection by the Bureau of Land Management, and the number that were not checked:
Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia) (AFP) - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday opened a Group of 77 plus China summit in Bolivia, with developing countries calling for a more fair new world economic order. Dignitaries at the event include the presidents of Venezuela, Ecuador, Cuba and host nation Bolivia. China, which is not a G77 member, is participating in the summit, partly in a nod to its expanding trade ties in Latin America, although President Xi Jinping will not attend. Leaders at the summit are pressing a "fight for fair and sustainable economic growth, and for a new world economic order," said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
The detained US soldier convicted of leaking a trove of secret documents to WikiLeaks made a rare foray into public life Saturday to warn Americans they were being lied to about Iraq once more. Chelsea Manning is serving a 35-year prison sentence on espionage charges and other offenses for passing along 700,000 secret documents, including diplomatic cables and military intelligence files, to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks in the largest-scale leak in US history. However, the concerns that motivated me have not been resolved," the soldier formerly known as Bradley Manning wrote in a New York Times editorial. "As Iraq erupts in civil war and America again contemplates intervention, that unfinished business should give new urgency to the question of how the United States military controlled the media coverage of its long involvement there and in Afghanistan."
Tony Blair hit out on Sunday at critics who linked the 2003 invasion of Iraq with the current violence in the country, blaming instead the West's failure to act in Syria. The former prime minister, who led Britain into the US-led war to remove Saddam Hussein and is now a diplomatic envoy in the Middle East, also criticised the sectarianism of the government in Baghdad. He condemned the sectarianism of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government, who he said had "snuffed out what was a genuine opportunity to build a cohesive Iraq". But he said the Syrian conflict had provided the Islamic militants seizing swathes of territory in northern Iraq with battle experience and a base from which to launch their attacks across the border.
By Dave Warner PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Saturday intervened to end a transit strike in the greater Philadelphia area, establishing an emergency board to force the two sides to negotiate. The move, at the behest of Republican Governor Tom Corbett, came hours after about 440 engineers and electricians who operate trains that connect Philadelphia and its suburbs walked off the job. The strike is over," said Arthur Davidson, spokesman for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, one of the two unions on strike. The strike began at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, when a mandatory 30-day cooling off period expired in contract talks between the workers' unions and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.
The White House welcomed Afghanistan's presidential run-off election Saturday as a "significant step" for the country's democracy, but emphasized the need for electoral commissions to legitimize the vote. "The work of the electoral commissions in the weeks ahead will be particularly important," the White House said in a statement, commending "the voters, electoral bodies and security forces for their commitment to the democratic process." Millions of Afghans cast their votes despite Taliban threats to decide whether former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah or ex-World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani will lead the country into a new era of declining international military and civilian assistance. "These elections are a significant step forward on Afghanistan's democratic path, and the courage and resolve of the Afghan people to make their voices heard is a testament to the importance of these elections to securing Afghanistan's future," the White House said.