Special Reports

U.S. accepts international assistance

WASHINGTON — The United States is accepting help from 12 countries and international organizations in dealing with the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The State Department said in a statement Tuesday that the U.S. is working out the particulars of the help that’s been accepted.

The identities of all 12 countries and international organizations were not immediately announced. One country was cited in the State Department statement — Japan, which is providing two high-speed skimmers and fire containment boom.

More than 30 countries and international organizations have offered to help with the spill.

Jimmy Buffett show on Gulf postponed, hits tourism

GULF SHORES, Ala. — Tourism is taking another hit on Alabama’s coast following the postponement of a free Jimmy Buffett concert that was scheduled this week.

But organizers had to postpone the show until July 11 because of the threat of high surf from Tropical Storm Alex. The storm is approaching the coast of Texas and Mexico.

Phones at hotel front desks and condominium reservation offices began ringing almost immediately after organizers announced the delay. Many people are putting off their trips until later, but some are canceling altogether.

Feds, Gulf states to use 1 standard for seafood

NEW ORLEANS — Vice President Joe Biden says the federal government has reached an agreement with Gulf Coast states to set safety levels for seafood coming out of the Gulf of Mexico.

Biden visited the region Tuesday. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Food and Drug Administration say the effort designed to reopen closed fishing areas as soon as possible.

Facebook briefly disables ‘Boycott BP’ page

HOUSTON — BP PLC says it had nothing to do with Facebook’s decision to briefly take down a page set up by users that advocates boycotting the oil giant over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

BP spokesman Toby Odone told The Associated Press on Tuesday that BP did not complain to Facebook about the “Boycott BP” page. Facebook says its automated systems disabled the profile of the page’s administrator, which removed all the content created. Facebook reinstated the content after determining the profile was mistakenly removed.

Court to hear deepwater drilling ban appeal July 8

NEW ORLEANS — A federal appeals court in New Orleans will hear the government’s appeal of a ruling overturning the deepwater drilling ban in the Gulf of Mexico on July 8.

The six-month moratorium was ordered in late May by the Barack Obama’s administration after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. A group of offshore petroleum service companies sued, saying the government had not justified the widespread ban and would inflict long-term economic damage.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman agreed with the companies and barred enforcement June 23.

— Herald wire services