shell moves one step closer to alaska drilling
The Obama administration has given permission to Shell Oil to begin what it calls "preparatory work" in its controversial effort to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean off the coast of Alaska. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Thursday the permission will allow Shell to install a blowout preventer ahead of exploratory oil drilling. The preparatory work involves drilling to install the needed equipment, but the drilling will avoid pockets of oil and gas, Salazar said.
Priest sorry for sex abuse remarks
A priest has apologized after coming under criticism from church officials and advocates of sex abuse victims for saying priests accused of child sex abuse are often seduced by their accusers and that a first-time offender shouldn't go to jail. The Rev. Benedict Groeschel of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal made the comments in an interview with the National Catholic Register published this week. Editor in chief Jeanette De Melo apologized for publishing his comments "that seem to suggest that the child is somehow responsible for abuse. Nothing could be further from the truth."
Denver: James Holmes tried unsuccessfully to call his university psychiatrist nine minutes before allegedly opening fire during a Batman movie premiere, defense attorneys revealed in court Thursday.
Pennsylvania: Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky has been recommended for designation as a sexually violent predator, which would require lifetime registration with officials, the Associated Press reports.
Pakistan: Intelligence officials confirmed Thursday a U.S. drone strike last week killed the son of the founder of the Haqqani militant network, one of the most feared groups fighting American troops in Afghanistan.
Australia: At least 90 people were missing Thursday after a boat carrying some 150 migrants trying to reach Australia sank off Indonesia.
Illinois: Jurors in the Drew Peterson murder trial heard final testimony Thursday and are expected to begin deliberating next week.
Maryland: Trial for Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of giving classified documents to the WikiLeaks website, will take place between Feb. 4 and March 15, officials said Thursday.