From NPR News in Washington, I am Nora Raum.
President Obama's chief of staff says there is a political opportunity for the White House to pass a robust new energy bill following the Gulf Coast disaster. NPR's Neda Ulaby reports.
Rahm Emanuel, never known for mincing words, says there is a chance down for the president to act upon campaign promises to pass an energy bill with the support of industry and environmentalists. And he made it clear he believes the Republicans have fumbled badly by defending BP in the face of government demands for accountability. Emanuel said on ABC's This Week that the attitude displayed by Texas Republican Joe Barton who had retracted an apology to BP last week was indicative of a larger party philosophy.
"Other members of the Republican leadership have come to the defense of BP and attacked the administration for forcing them to set up an escrow account and fund it to the level of $20 billion. These aren't political gaffes."
Emanuel said it would be "dangerous" if such viewpoints came to control Congress after the fall election. Neda Ulaby, NPR News.
The man, who is overseeing the compensation fund for people damaged by the Gulf oil spill, is urging anyone affected to come forward. Kenneth Feinberg says the program would provide relief within weeks rather than going to court which could take years. He told NBC he will make sure every eligible, legitimate claim will be paid.
"The president of the United States has instructed me, 'Get these claims paid, get them paid quickly.' When I met with Governor Barbour, he told me frankly, 'Ken, time is the enemy.' And he's so right here."
Feinberg also rejected Republican Congressman Joe Barton's characterization of the fund as a "government shakedown". Barton later backed away from that statement.
A California man is under arrest for a wildfire burning near downtown Flagstaff, Arizona. NPR's Allison Keyes reports that crews continue to battle the 350-acre blaze and have managed to get half of it under control.
Flagstaff city spokeswoman Kimberly Ott says there is positive news today - first, the fire has only consumed half the area officials first thought; secondly, she says cooler temperatures and reduced winds are making it easier to fight the blaze.
"We have three aircraft - one fixed-wing, two helicopters - that will be working to fire today, along with a number of personnel on the ground, and we do have access-barrier tankers if we needed."
Ott says officials strongly urged people in the 170 household in the fire's path to evacuate. And most did, though a few remained in their homes. The fire started yesterday near the Little America Hotel, sending billowing smoke through parts of the city and backing up traffic on a nearby highway. So far, Ott says, the fire is not contained, but no buildings have been destroyed. Allison Keyes, NPR News.
The National Hurricane Center is monitoring tropical storm Celia in the Pacific off southern Mexico. It's expected to strengthen into the first hurricane but is not expected to threaten land.
This is NPR News.
Israeli officials announced today a loosening of the land blockade of Gaza. They said "effective immediately". All goods will be allowed into Gaza except those items that could have a military use. Through past three years, Israel permitted only basic humanitarian supplies. The situation in the Middle East is likely to come up at the White House June 29 during a visit by Saudi King Abdullah. That visit was announced today.
Britain's new government will be announcing its first budget this week, and widespread cuts are expected. As Larry Miller reports from London the British are braced for the worst.
The David Cameron-led coalition government says its inherited public spending is so out of control. Drastic measures are necessary. Giving Britain the budgetary bad news on Tuesday will be the head of Treasury, George Osborne.
"I don't see it as badness. I see it as decisive action to deal with Britain's record budget deficit ... the country in Europe with the largest budget deficit of any major economy at a time when markets and investors and businesses are looking around the world at countries that can't control their debts."
Among the likely measures are multibillion-dollar tax on banks, national sales tax above 18%, capital gains tax at 40%, a cut in welfare benefits, a public sector pay and pension's freeze and the elimination of thousands of government jobs. For NPR News, I am Larry Miller in London.
France's World Cup team refused to train today to protest the expulsion of a player who'd been booted off the team for springing profanities at the coach. Now today, the team director has quit in disgust. Today, Paraguay beat Slovakia 2-0. New Zealand and Italy tied 1-1, and Brazil was ahead of Ivory Coast 3-0 after 78 minutes.
I am Nora Raum, NPR News in Washington.