ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The Obama administration has sided with energy developers over environmentalists, approving the use of underwater blasts of sound to pinpoint oil and gas deposits in federal Atlantic Ocean waters.
ROZSYPNE, Ukraine (AP) — World leaders demanded Friday that pro-Russia rebels who control the eastern Ukraine crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 give immediate, unfettered access to independent investigators to determine who shot down the plane.
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The only American identified so far as a victim of the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine lived in New Jersey as a child and returned to the Netherlands when he was 5.
By Jeff Mason WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will meet with the leaders of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador next week to discuss cooperation on the influx of child migrants from Central America into the United States, the White House said on Friday. The meeting comes as the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border into the Rio Grande Valley in Texas has begun to drop off, senior administration officials said, seeking a victory in a crisis that has consumed significant attention from the White House and the Obama administration in recent weeks.
By Rory Carroll SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California on Friday said it would review wells where oil drilling waste water from the process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is disposed to ensure they are not contaminating drinking water. The move comes after the state ordered oil companies to shut down 11 wells on July 1 in Kern County, an area in the state’s Central Valley that is home to the bulk of its crude oil production. Like the rest of the state, Kern County is being ravaged by a severe drought that has led to mandatory water restrictions. The agency said there is no direct evidence that any drinking water has been affected and said the stop orders were issued out of "an abundance of caution." The companies operating the 11 wells are Longbow, Macpherson Operating Co, Race Diversified Corp, R&R Resources, Redbank Oil Co, SOC Resources Inc and CMO Inc. Since the initial orders were issued, two of the wells have been authorized to resume operations, the agency said on Friday.
(Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration's informal email orders enforcing its drone policy are not legally binding, a federal court ruled in a case filed by a Texas group. A Texas search-and-rescue group, Texas EquuSearch, had challenged the FAA's drone policy against using unmanned aerial vehicle for search-and-rescue operations in a case filed in April. Texas EquuSearch, which is a privately funded not-for-profit organization, uses sonar boat, an unmanned aircraft, foot searchers, ATVs, horses and helicopters to find missing persons, according to information available on its website. The FAA had argued in a June letter to the court that anyone wishing to operate an aircraft in the United States - other than hobbyists operating model aircraft - must obtain FAA approval.
By Jeff Mason WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will sign an executive order on Monday barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, the White House said on Friday. The order does not include new exemptions for religious organizations, a fact that was cheered by gay rights activists. Some religious leaders had pressed Obama for added flexibility in executing the rules, but senior administration officials said that had not been granted. Religious organization would be barred from making hiring decisions based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but exceptions would be allowed for ministers, and groups would be allowed to favor individuals of a particular religion.