World News Brief, Friday January 7

US commission blames management at three companies for Gulf oil spill (+ analysis and timeline); South Korea rejects North's offer of talks; al-Sadr returns to Iraq after three years in exile; Republicans take over US Congress promising budget cuts; and more

Top of the Agenda: Whitehouse Blames Industries for Deepwater Blast

In advance of its full report on last year's Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a US presidential commission cited a "failure of management" at British Petroleum, Transocean, and Halliburton as the overarching cause of the disaster. The inquiry found the blowout to be preventable and recommended fundamental reforms in the face of existing "systemic risks" (WashPost). The explosion at the Deepwater Horizon rig and the ensuing catastrophe killed eleven workers and led to the largest offshore oil spill in history. Despite the adverse ruling, analysts suggest BP's overall liability (FT) could ultimately be reduced because culpability is spread over several actors. In European markets, shares of both BP and Transocean (Reuters) traded up on Thursday.

The Obama administration imposed a bevy of new industry safety measures (WSJ) since the accident last spring, but rising gas prices and a new Republican majority in the US House of Representatives may alter the regulatory landscape.


Industry expert Jack Coleman said the Obama administration overreacted to the Gulf spill by suspending most new offshore drilling and moving to expand liabilities for future accidents, with implications for US energy security.

This New York Times editorial supports the Obama administration's response to the drilling disaster and suggests the oil industry has yet to learn its lesson.


Explore the critical events surrounding the Deepwater explosion in this timeline from the Guardian.

The Gulf spill was the most recent instance of an industrial disaster pitting companies from one country against citizens and governments of another. This CFR slideshow provides a chronology of ten major instances in which multinational corporations were involved in industrial incidents.


PACIFIC RIM: South Korea Dismisses Pyongyang Overture

Seoul rejected North Korea's most recent offer of détente talks (Yonhap), citing a "lack of sincerity." Officials said the offer didn't acknowledge responsibility for the North's sinking of a South Korean warship or its artillery barrage on Yeonpyeong Island.

China: Laying the groundwork for the US-China presidential summit (Xinhua) scheduled for later this month, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton met with China's foreign minister in DC. They exchanged views on common concerns, including the crisis on the Korean Peninsula and the Iranian nuclear issue.



- Anti-US Cleric Back in Iraq
- Boehner Pushes Budget Cuts


This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on