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NATION IN BRIEF: BP spends $2.65B on spill, denies CEO quitting

Photo by Carlos Osorio

Photo by Carlos Osorio

NEW ORLEANS -- BP's mounting costs for capping and cleaning up the Gulf of Mexico spill have reached $2.65 billion, it said Monday, but the oil giant denied reports out of Russia that CEO Tony Hayward is resigning.

The company's expenses climbed $100 million per day over the weekend, according to an SEC filing Monday, as engineers eyed a tropical storm headed for the Texas-Mexico border. It was expected to miss the oil spill area but could still generate disruptive waves and winds.

British-based BP rushed to deny the report by Russia's state RIA Novosti news agency, which said a senior Russian Cabinet official had said Hayward was expected to resign as chief executive.

BP spokeswoman Carolyn Copland in London said the report ''is definitely not correct.'' Sheila Williams, also in London, said, ''Tony Hayward remains chief executive.''

Oprah considered for Senate by Blagojevich

CHICAGO -- Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich called Oprah Winfrey a kingmaker who could influence voters as he mulled naming the talk show host to President Barack Obama's former Senate seat, according to an FBI tape played Monday at his corruption trial.

''She made Obama, she's up there so high nobody could assail this pick,'' Blagojevich is heard telling his chief of staff, John Harris, who is now a prosecution witness.

Blagojevich had mentioned in TV interviews last year that Winfrey's name had come up in discussions about the seat. Winfrey said last year that she was ''amused'' by the revelation and that she was unaware at the time that she was under consideration.

Rampage suspect sent to therapy

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- A convicted murderer charged in the weekend stabbing deaths of four people was released from prison in 2006 but was put back behind bars two years ago for failing to complete anger management therapy.

Michael Ballard, 36, who is charged with four counts of homicide in Saturday's rampage in Northampton, was paroled again on April 19. He was living at a halfway house in Allentown when authorities said he attacked his former girlfriend, her father, her 87-year-old grandfather and a neighbor who ran over to help after hearing screams.

Ballard fatally stabbed 56-year-old Donald Richard in Richard's Allentown apartment in 1991, when Ballard was 18 years old. He pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, theft and fraud and was sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison.

Reputed mobsters plead not guilty

MORRISTOWN, N.J. -- Nearly three dozen alleged members and associates of the New York-based Lucchese crime family have pleaded not guilty to state racketeering, conspiracy and money laundering charges in New Jersey.

Among the defendants who appeared in court in Morristown on Monday was Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., son of former Philadelphia crime boss Nicodemo ''Little Nicky'' Scarfo.

Also charged are Joseph DiNapoli of Scarsdale, N.Y., and Matthew Madonna of Seldon, N.Y., alleged members of the Lucchese family's three-man ruling panel.

Tornado hits Mich. camp area

CLYDE TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado hit an eastern Michigan campground, leaving in its wake one person dead, four injured and massive damage.

Meteorologist Steve Freitag of the weather service's White Lake Township office says the tornado struck shortly after 7 p.m. Sunday at the Fort Trodd Family Campground in St. Clair County's Clyde Township. The relatively weak tornado contained estimated wind gusts of 95 mph.

Authorities say 75-year-old James Anderson of Mount Clemens was killed but declined to release details.

US arrests alleged Russian spies

WASHINGTON -- Ten Russian intelligence officers have been arrested for allegedly serving as illegal agents of the Russian government in the United States, the Justice Department said Monday.

Eight of 10 were arrested Sunday for allegedly carrying out long-term, deep cover assignments in the United States on behalf of Russia.

Two others were arrested for allegedly participating in the same Russian intelligence program within the United States.

Each of the 10 was charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison on conviction.