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Tuesday, Oct 21st

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Report: BP audit detailed rig's flaws before spill

Report: BP audit detailed rig's flaws before spillA newspaper says it has obtained an internal audit conducted by BP PLC on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that details severe safety flaws months before the Gulf of Mexico spill. The Sunday Times said in its report that the audit details how the drilling rig, owned by contractor Transocean, did not fully comply with BP's standards.

The report says that seven months ahead of the April explosion, auditors found 390 maintenance tasks that were more than a month overdue on the rig.

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Massive ice island breaks off Greenland

Huge ice island breaks off GreenlandA piece of ice four times the size of Manhattan island has broken away from an ice shelf in Greenland, according to scientists in the U.S. The 260 square-kilometer (100 square miles) ice island separated from the Petermann Glacier in northern Greenland early on Thursday, researchers based at the University of Delaware said.

The ice island, which is about half the height of the Empire State Building, is the biggest piece of ice to break away from the Arctic icecap since 1962 and amounts to a quarter of the Petermann 70-kilometer floating ice shelf, according to research leader Andreas Muenchow.

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Climate change and illegal logging could wipe out rainforest wildlife by 2100

Climate change and illegal logging could wipe out rainforest wildlife by 2100Most of the plants and animals found in rainforests today could die out by the end of the century because of climate change and illegal logging, according to a new study. The colourful wildlife found in tropical humid forests makes up more than half of the animal and plant species on Earth.

But the first study to look into the combined effect of both global warming and deforestation found most species are in danger of extinction. The study by the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington predicted that by 2100 only 18 to 45 per cent of the plants and animals in tropical forests may exist as they are today.

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Well spilled 4.9M barrels, new numbers reveal

Oil well spilled out 4.9 million barrels, new numbers revealThe blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico gushed even more oil than the worst case scenario envisioned, a whopping total of 4.9 million barrels, or 205.8 million gallons, according to a new analysis by government scientists charged with estimating the flow rate.

BP's Macondo well spewed 62,000 barrels of oil a day initially, and as the reservoir gradually depleted itself the flow eased to 53,000 barrels a day until the well was finally capped and sealed on July 15, according to scientists in the Flow Rate Technical Group, supervised by the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Department of Energy.

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Everglades and Madagascar forests on Unesco danger list

Everglades and Madagascar forests on Unesco danger listA UN panel has added Florida's Everglades National Park and Madagascar's tropical rainforest to a list of world heritage sites at risk. Unesco's World Heritage Committee said development in the Everglades had caused water flow to fall 60% in the wetland, a major wildlife sanctuary.

The pollution level there was so high it was killing marine life, it added. Illegal logging and poaching following last year's military coup has meanwhile imperilled Madagascar's rainforests.

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Despite Directive, BP Used Oil Dispersant Often, Panel Finds

dispersants used by BPThe Coast Guard approved dozens of requests by BP to spread hundreds of thousands of gallons of surface oil dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico despite the Environmental Protection Agency’s directive on May 26 that they should be used only rarely, according to documents and correspondence analyzed by a Congressional subcommittee.

In some cases, the Coast Guard approved BP’s requests even though the company did not set an upper limit on the amount of dispersant it planned to use.

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Scientists Find Evidence That Oil And Dispersant Mix Is Making Its Way Into The Foodchain

Oil And Dispersant Mix Is Making Its Way Into The FoodchainScientists have found signs of an oil-and-dispersant mix under the shells of tiny blue crab larvae in the Gulf of Mexico, the first clear indication that the unprecedented use of dispersants in the BP oil spill has broken up the oil into toxic droplets so tiny that they can easily enter the foodchain.

Marine biologists started finding orange blobs under the translucent shells of crab larvae in May, and have continued to find them "in almost all" of the larvae they collect, all the way from Grand Isle, Louisiana, to Pensacola, Fla. -- more than 300 miles of coastline -- said Harriet Perry, a biologist with the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.

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