A salvage expert prepares to board a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter for a day assessing the Kulluk conical drilling unit near Kodiak, Alaska. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis)

Officials close to towing grounded drilling rig

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Salvagers are preparing to try pulling Shell’s grounded Arctic drilling rig from a rocky Alaskan island’s coast as soon as critical equipment arrives on the scene and weather permits _ possibly before the weekend’s end.

Shots fired during Belfast flag protest

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Police are probing reports that shots were fired at them during Loyalist rallies about restrictions on the flying of the Union flag at city hall
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Drumbeat: January 5, 2013

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Exports of American Natural Gas May Fall Short of High Hopes
HOUSTON — Only five years ago, several giant natural gas import terminals were built to satisfy the energy needs of a country hungry for fuels. But the billion-dollar terminals were obsolet…
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Commander Mark Vislay, an MH-60 Jayhawk pilot, briefs a salvage team before it leaves for the grounded Kulluk conical drilling unit.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis)

Salvage crews plan to rescue grounded drilling rig

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Salvagers are preparing to pull Shell’s stranded Arctic drilling rig from the rocky coast of an Alaska island, drawing on visits to the beached vessel and five flyovers conducted on Friday.

Indian police accused of fatal delay

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Television interview with victim’s companion likely to reinforce widespread perception that police are indifferent and unprofessional
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Waves crash over the drilling unit Kulluk where it sat aground on the southeast side of Sitkalidak Island, Alaska, Jan. 1, 2013. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class/Jonathan Klingenberg.)

Rig grounding could put Shell’s Arctic drilling plans on ice

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Even if Shell is able to free its grounded Kulluk drilling rig from a rocky Alaskan island shore, it may be too damaged to resume hunting Arctic oil this summer. The 29-year-old conical drilling unit is uniquely designed to weather floating ice, and replacements aren’t readily available. Even if Shell Oil Co. could find an Arctic-ready rig, it almost certainly would not secure air pollution permits for a different vessel in time to resume drilling wells this July.