Friday, April 23, 2010

Notes From All Over

Search Ends For 11 Missing Oil Rig Workers Off Louisiana

Coast Guard officials on Friday suspended the three-day search for 11 workers missing since an explosion rocked an offshore oil rig, saying they believe the men never made it off the platform that erupted into a giant fireball.

Coast Guard Capt. Peter Troedsson said he spoke with all the workers' families about the decision to suspend the search before announcing it to the media.

"I'm a father and husband, and I have done this a few times before. It's never easy. Your heart goes out to these people," Troedsson said.

The Coast Guard says it will resume the search if any ships in the area see anything, but the workers' chances of survival had seemed slim well before Friday afternoon's announcement. "The time of reasonable expectation of survivability has passed," Rear Adm. Mary Landry said.

What caused Tuesday's massive blast off the Louisiana coast is unknown. As the search was ending, oil company crews were trying to clean up the environmental mess created by the Deepwater Horizon, which finally sank Thursday. The other 115 crew members made it off the platform, though four were critically hurt.

Federal regulators did not need this week's explosion aboard the state-of-the-art rig to know the offshore drilling industry needed new safety rules: Dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries over the last several years had already convinced them that changes were needed.

The U.S. Minerals and Management Service is developing regulations aimed at preventing human error, which it identified as a factor in many of the more than 1,400 offshore oil drilling accidents between 2001 and 2007.

Global Financial Leaders Cheered By Recovery Signs

Despite a deepening Greek debt crisis, global financial leaders declared Friday that the world's economy is recovering faster than expected from the worst recession in decades.

Finance ministers and central bank governors of the world's 20 major economies credited the massive amounts of government stimulus that have been provided. Their joint statement did not address the Greek debt crisis directly, but it did say the countries were committed to continue efforts to ensure a sustained worldwide rebound from the recession.

"The global recovery is better than anticipated largely because of unprecedented efforts of the G-20 countries," Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters at a news conference with South Korean Finance Minister Yoon Jeung-hyun at the conclusion of the talks.

The G-20 is composed of the world's wealthiest industrial countries plus major emerging economies such as China, Brazil, India, South Korea and Russia. The United States was represented by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

The G-20 leaders papered over sharp differences over proposed new taxes on banks to keep taxpayers from being saddled with the cost of future financial bailouts. The proposed new taxes would also be aimed at restraining the kind of excessive risk taking that led to the crisis.

Hair-Pulling NM Soccer Player Gives Back

Embattled University of New Mexico soccer player Liz Lambert is working to improve her public image after the game against BYU last season that shocked people around the world, Albuquerque TV station KOAT reported.

Lambert was suspended from the UNM soccer team last November after video showed her yanking her opponent to the ground by her ponytail. She had also elbowed another player many times.

Since her absence, Lambert has been participating in community service, including Thursday's "Locks Of Love" event.

Lambert donated some of her own hair to the charity that makes wigs for young cancer patients.

"Well it's always been in my life... my family has done it before, I've done it before," she said. "It's a good cause, and I have hair to give to children that don't have the availability."

Lambert said she's looking forward to playing in the upcoming season.

Wiggling Package Gives Away Mailed Ferret

Postal workers at an office in Lynchburg recently found a live ferret in a package scheduled for next-day delivery to Puerto Rico. Officials said they knew something wasn't right when the package started wiggling. They tried tracking down the sender, but were unsuccessful.

The following day, a postal inspector and animal control officers obtained a search warrant to open the box and found the ferret with a cage and toys.

The animal was put up for adoption by the Roanoke Valley SPCA, where he was dubbed "Stamps." Earlier this week, Craig Bradley and his wife adopted Stamps

"What really surprised me is he's so well taken care of, obviously, but that was kind of a cruel thing to do you know, no air holes, no water," Bradley said. "They had food in there, which is good, but ferrets have very fast metabolisms and eat and drink a lot every day."

It's not known whether the postal inspector is still looking for Stamps' sender.

AP; Reuters; Wall Street Journal; KOAT-TV, Albuquerque.

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