Gulf of Mexico: disaster by BP

With the ink barely dry on the record-breaking $4-billion check BP wrote to settle criminal charges stemming from its Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster, the energy giant now faces a protracted court battle that could cost it billions more.


The civil trial could expose BP to $17 billion in fines for violating the Clean Water Act. If imposed, the fine would be the largest environmental penalty in U.S. history.

Federal District Court Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans will decide whether BP's actions on the drilling rig were negligent – as has already been determined in the criminal case – or grossly negligent, which could force the company to pay significantly higher fines.

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Portuguese caravels: first to touch Australia

The Portuguese explorers were the first Europeans to discover Australia, according to a 16th century maritime map found in a library vault.

History tells that Dutch sailors discovered Australia in 1606, but a new secret document proves that Portuguese adventurers marked geographical sites along Australia's east coast, in 1522.

The new discovery is unveiled in "Beyond Capricorn", a book written by Peter Trickett, an Australian historian. He found the copy of Vallard Atlas, a collection of 15 hand drawn maps, in a Canberra book shop.

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Martin's Beach: surfer-friendly

A judge granted the County of San Mateo District Attorney's motion to dismiss the trespassing charges filed against five surfers accessing Martin's Beach, in California.


In October 2012, the surfers entered Martin's Beach Road - the access road to the beach - on foot when the property manager informed them they were trespassing.

Upon exiting the water, Jonathan Bremer, David Pringle, Austin Murison, Tyler Schmid and Kyle Foley were issued a citation from a San Mateo County Sheriff.

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