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Suprise! BP wants to duck oil spill liability

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 5 (UPI) — BP wants to duck liability for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, but its gross negligence and willful misconduct caused it, the Justice Department alleges.

A 37-page memo submitted to the U.S. District Court in New Orleans alleges a “culture of corporate recklessness” at BP led to the 2010 sea-floor oil gusher that released 4.9 million barrels and may still be seeping in the largest accidental oil spill in history.

“The behavior, words and actions of these BP executives would not be tolerated in a middling-size company manufacturing dry goods for sale in a suburban mall,” the memo filed Friday said.

“Yet they were condoned in a corporation engaged in an activity that no less a witness than [BP Chief Executive Officer] Tony Hayward himself described as comparable to exploring outer space,” the memo said.

Gross negligence could raise BP’s penalties under the 1972 Clean Water Act to as much as $21 billion, the Financial Times said. Compensatory and punitive damages could be added to that sum.

The Wall Street Journal reported in May the department was also investigating whether BP executives lied to Congress about how much oil leaked. Read more…

GHENT, Belgium (AP) — Visit the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris and chestnut trees greet you as you wander among graves of luminaries such as Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison.

When Anne Frank was in hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam, the view of a monumental chestnut tree was one thing that cheered her up.

In Cambridge, England, the two-century-old chestnut standing outside King’s College chapel has become a beloved icon.

In all those places – and over much of Europe – the horse chestnut tree is under threat.

Sometimes they crash across boulevards and smash cars, unable to bear the weight of their own foliage. At other times, city officials move in and cut them down before they collapse.

In high summer, their leaves can become so rusty it feels like October. As autumn approaches, many stand naked while other trees still wear their crowns of green. More…

For sale: The American dream

The US’ housing bubble burst nearly six years ago, but the worst may be yet to come.

After a landmark settlement, the major banks have lifted a freeze on foreclosures and government relief has been too small to make a difference. Watch video…


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