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Administration criticized over oil spill estimates
(CNN) – The Obama administration vastly underestimated the tens of thousands of barrels of oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, despite contrary information from scientists using better methodologies, a report from a national panel investigating the response said Wednesday.
And, the report said, the White House Office of Management and Budget squelched higher worst-case estimates once government officials accepted them, preventing the public from hearing them.
The staff also sharply criticized later White House estimates that 75 percent of the oil had been scooped up, burned or naturally dispersed, saying an operational tool - known as the oil budget - used by responders failed to accurately account for biodegradation and was not peer-reviewed by scientists. FULL STORY
Afghanistan starts peace council
(CNN) – Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday launched a council to help negotiate with the Taliban and find a way for peace.
Karzai told the group, made up of about 68 Afghan clerics and elders, that it can help establish peace in Afghanistan.
The peace council meeting is one of several addressing the war in recent days.
Political figures from Pakistan and Afghanistan were also sitting down this week in Kabul for a dialogue aimed at ending the nine-year-old Afghan war, in what one Afghan official called a "new phase" in building bridges and making peace with the Taliban
But a Taliban spokesman told CNN that the group was not interested in peace talks. FULL STORY
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