News in Brief: Oil From Gulf Spill Enters Food Chain, and More

Friday, 02 July 2010 11:09 By Yana Kunichoff, t r u t h o u t | News in Brief | name.

The first indication of oil entering the Gulf seafood chain has been spotted, reported the Biloxi Sun Herald, with droplets of oil found in crab larvae. According to university scientists, the oil could have an effect on fisheries, which lasts "years, probably not a matter of months," affects many species and is expected to enter the food chain. The affected larvae of blue crabs and fiddler crabs were found in samples from Louisiana to Pensacola, Florida.

The BP oil spill is now the largest to hit the gulf, with the high end of government estimate at 140 million gallons, reported Democracy Now!.  On Thursday, the House passed its first major piece of legislation related to the oil leak - it voted to expand the allowance of the surviving family members of the 11 people killed in the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion to seek damages.

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In the latest of a string of Taliban attacks on foreign workers and compounds, six suicide bombers stormed the compound of an American contractor for the United States Agency for International Development in the north of Afghanistan, reported The New York Times. At least four people and all six militants were killed in the attack, which culminated in a six-hour-long firefight, according to Afghan officials. Twenty-three other people were wounded.

Gen. David Petraeus has landed in Kabul to take command of the US and international forces fighting in Afghanistan, reported The Associated Press. Petraeus, who flew in from Brussels, will be attempting to reassure NATO allies that the war against the Taliban is on track despite continuing casualties and difficulty regaining control over key parts of the country. He will succeed Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who resigned after being quoted in Rolling Stone magazine making disparaging remarks about the Obama administration.

Meanwhile, the House has approved a $30 billion spending measure to escalate the war in Afghanistan, reported Democracy Now!, combined with about $50 billion dollars for domestic initiatives. The war funding passed by a 215 to 210 vote, and would be added to the $130 billion dollars already earmarked for the Afghan and Iraq wars this year. Hours before the vote, the Out of Afghanistan caucus in the House challenged the approval of war spending while social programs were being cut to reduce deficit spending. Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-Arizona) called the continuing support for the war an "essential hypocrisy." The measure will now go to the Senate for approval.

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New York State has passed the nation's first domestic worker's labor protection law, reported CBS News, establishing a landmark set of working standards for housekeepers, nannies, and other domestic workers. Traditionally not protected by any labor laws, under the bill, domestic workers will now be entitled to overtime pay after a 40-hour workweek, at least one day off per week and at least three days off with full pay per year. New York Governor David Paterson said he "will be pleased to sign it into law."

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Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, had been given authority over church abuse cases in 1922, but did not take action until pressured from below by bishops from English-speaking nations. The story, confirmed by documents and canon lawyers, shows a previously unrevealed example of prelates from across the globe collectively pressing their superiors for reform, and places the pope's track record in a less flattering light, reported The New York Times.

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The US lost about 125,000 jobs in June, according to the Labor Department, the first time jobs were shed on a month-on-month basis since October. The drop was driven by the completion of US census jobs for 225,000 temporary employees, reported the BBC. However, the unemployment rate fell to 9.5 percent in June from 9.7 percent in May.

Yana Kunichoff

Yana Kunichoff is an assistant editor at Truthout.

Last modified on Friday, 02 July 2010 14:09