Morning Links: BP Moves to Phase 2 of Mud-Pouring; No Cake for Birthday Obama; Naomi Campbell Talks Blood Diamonds

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• BP has gotten the okay to begin the next phase of the "static kill" (a/k/a, pouring cement into the well, part two), which is something that we never would have thought we'd be excited about 100-some days ago. Things change. Pumping operations are expected to start today. [BP]

• Despite that, and feds saying that only a quarter of the oil remains in the water, many Southerners are afraid this is still just the beginning of a long-term nightmare in the Gulf. [WP]

• Secret Service wouldn't let President Obama have a cake on his 49th birthday yesterday. [NYT]

• Elena Kagan is expected to be confirmed to the Supreme Court today as the 112th justice. [CNN]

• A Brooklyn federal judge ruled that the current test for firefighters is discriminatory, thereby blocking the city from from hiring 300 new firefighters yesterday. [NYP]

• Naomi Campbell, "wearing a cream-colored outfit," appeared today at the war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, where she testified that Taylor had given her some "very small, dirty-looking stones" after she met him at a charity dinner with Nelson Mandela in South Africa in 1997. When someone else identified the stones as diamonds, she said, "I guess so," and eventually passed them off to another friend. (Models!) Prosecutors are hoping to demonstrate that Taylor lied under oath when he said he never had any diamonds. [NYT]

• The guy behind the subway etiquette posters is spreading his clean-up-your-dog-poop message with more posters around the city, most recently in Washington Heights. They come with an attached roll of bio-degradable plastic baggies, making doing the right thing easy for even the laziest of dog owners. [NYC The Blog]

• Hot? Oh, yeah, it's just another heat wave, as the weather gods give us what's looking to be another month of above-average temps. Hang in there: A cold front is set to move in later today. [NBC NY]



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