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In brief: Arctic spill response plan approved

SEATTLE – Federal authorities have approved an oil spill response plan that could allow drilling to commence this summer in the Beaufort Sea, the first major offshore drilling in the Arctic since the early 1990s.

Though Shell Alaska still needs several final permits, the oil spill plan has been the most debated aspect of the upcoming drilling program.

“We have conducted an exhaustive review of Shell’s response plan for the Beaufort Sea,” James A. Watson, director of the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, said in a statement. “Our focus moving forward will be to hold Shell accountable and to follow up with exercises, reviews and inspections to ensure that all personnel and equipment are positioned and ready.”

Shell, which has spent nearly $4 billion and five years preparing to drill exploratory wells in the Beaufort and nearby Chukchi seas, said it hopes to begin drilling as early as July 10 and continue until just before the onset of ice in the fall.

Anti-Semitic graffiti found after shooting

CHICAGO – Anti-Semitic words spray-painted at a synagogue and Jewish school early Wednesday were covered with tarps and later blasted from bricks and sidewalk in an effort to shield students from the hate-filled phrases, officials said.

The graffiti appeared a little more than a week after a rabbi and three children were gunned down at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, an incident that Senior Rabbi Michael Siegel of Anshe Emet Synagogue said he thinks inspired the graffiti.

“The connection is unmistakable,” Siegel said. “Actions lead to more actions, words to more words.”

Surveillance video appears to indicate that one person, believed to be a woman, is responsible for graffiti that was found in at least five spots around the synagogue and school, Siegel said.

Pilot charged with interference

RICHMOND HILL, Ga. – JetBlue Airways Capt. Clayton Osbon, who sprinted through the cabin of a Las Vegas-bound flight screaming about terrorists, Jesus and 9/11 on Tuesday, was charged Wednesday with interfering with a flight crew, federal authorities said.

The charges against Osbon, 49, were filed in Texas. He was being held Wednesday at a hospital in Amarillo and remains under a medical evaluation.

Under federal law, a conviction for interference with a flight crew or attendants can bring up to 20 years in prison.

JetBlue spokeswoman Allison Steinberg said earlier Wednesday that Osbon had been suspended pending a review of the flight.

Osbon has been a pilot for JetBlue since 2000.


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