Oil leak is plugged on damaged ship
A fuel leak has been plugged in a container ship that struck another cargo vessel and spilled 500 tons of oil into the Arabian Sea, India's government said Tuesday. But the principal port of Mumbai — India's economic hub — will remain closed until at least today because of the nearby spill and 300 cargo containers that fell off the ship and pose a navigational hazard, the Defense Ministry said.
The Panamanian-registered MSC Chitra smashed into the St. Kitts-registered MV-Khalijia-II near Jawahar Lal Nehru port on Saturday. The Chitra, which is still tilted steeply in the water, is unlikely to sink because it ran aground on a large rock and the water in that area wasn't deep enough for the ship to submerge, said a Defense Ministry spokesman, Capt. Manohar Nambiar. At least 31 containers on the Chitra held hazardous chemicals and pesticides, but were well-packed and were not expected to cause environmental problems, officials said.
Swine flu pandemic is over, WHO says
The 2009-10 H1N1 influenza pandemic is officially over, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. "The new H1N1 influenza has largely run its course," WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said in a telephone news conference from Hong Kong. "We are now moving into the post-pandemic period." Worldwide, 18,449 people have died from laboratory-confirmed swine flu infections, according to the WHO.
U.S. military aid to Lebanon is blocked
Several members of Congress have moved to block United States aid to the Lebanese military, saying they are concerned that it may be working with Hezbollah, the militant Shiite movement, in light of last week's deadly skirmish between Lebanese and Israeli soldiers on the border between the two countries. Rep. Howard L. Berman of California, the Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, put a hold on $100 million in appropriations to the Lebanese army on Aug. 2. Others who have placed holds are Rep. Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., and two Republicans, Reps Howard P. McKeon of California and Eric Cantor of Virginia.
Montenegro: The government announced Tuesday that the tiny Balkan country was launching an "economic citizenship program" that will offer citizenship to people who invest more than $662,650.
Dominican Republic: More than 30,000 truck drivers began a 24-hour strike Tuesday to protest a government proposal to raise the fuel tax. The shutdown is expected to cause more than $16 million in losses for the Caribbean nation.
Vatican City: The Vatican plans to revamp its official website and is considering opening sections in Arabic and Russian, an official said Tuesday.