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Katrina Disaster Blog: Sept. 1

This is a running list compiled by staffers of the latest developments in the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

10:32 p.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) Congress rushed to provide a $10.5 billion down payment in relief aid for Gulf Coast victims of Hurricane Katrina on Thursday as President Bush ordered new action to minimize disruptions in the nation's energy supplies. The Senate approved the measure Thursday night, and the House will convene at noon on Friday to speed the measure to Bush's desk.

10:15 p.m.
NASHVILLE (AP) Fats Domino has been rescued from his New Orleans home and is doing well. His longtime agent, Al Embry, says Domino's youngest son says his dad was helicoptered out to a safe, undisclosed place along with his family.

Embry says he last spoke to the singer Sunday, when Domino told him he planned to ride out Hurricane Katrina at his house in a low-lying area of the city with his wife and daughter.

9:35 p.m.
HOUSTON (AP) Some Hurricane Katrina refugees in Houston are getting food, a place to shower -- and a chance to go online. Companies and non-profit agencies are working to give thousands of evacuees at the Astrodome more access to the outside world.

Donated computers with high-speed Internet connections are planned as part of the effort by a non-profit group called "Technology For All.'' A center is being set up with 40 desktop computers loaded with office productivity software and connected to the Internet. The sprawling stadium already has a bank of telephones set up.

8:40 p.m.
Watch complete coverage of Hurricane Katrina from the CBS Evening News:

8:08 p.m.
(AP) Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Jimmy Field says about 800,000 people are without power and more than 800,000 phone lines are out of service.

8:00 p.m.
BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) Wal-Mart Stores president and chief executive Lee Scott contacted former President Clinton and committed $15 million to his Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

Clinton and his predecessor, former President Bush, were named today by current President Bush to lead fundraising efforts for victims in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

7:40 p.m.
A new CBS News Poll details the public's perception of Hurricane Katrina high gas prices and Iraq. More than eight in 10 Americans expect gas prices to rise because of the hurricane.

6:26 p.m.
CBS News Correspondent David Martin reports from the Pentagon that the army is preparing to send up to 10,000 combat troops from the active duty force. Forty-thousand National Guard troops have already been activated for duty.

6:10 p.m.
(AP) Far removed from the chaos and devastation of Hurricane Katrina, New Hampshire residents are helping any way they can - calling in to a telethon, giving cash at drop-off points and asking businesses to put out collection jars.

In Rindge, Franklin Pierce College offered 20 students affected by Katrina free tuition, room and board and fees for the fall semester, totaling about $16,000 per student.

5:40 p.m.
CBS News Business Correspondent Anthony Mason reports that 90 percent of oil production and 78 percent of gas production is still shut down in the Gulf today. According to the latest report from the government's Minerals and Mining Services Report, about half of platforms and rigs in the Gulf (487 platforms and rigs) are still evacuated.

The Colonial Pipeline has started operating again at about 40 percent of capacity. The Pipeline, which delivers a daily average of 100 million gallons of gasoline, home heating oil and aviation fuel to the Southern and Eastern U.S. is expected to be up to nearly 75 percent of capacity by Sunday.

5:13 p.m.
CBS News has now learned that the Congressional relief package will now be $10.5 billion. Ten billion would go to FEMA and $500 million would go to the Department of Defense.

5:11 p.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) On the subject of federal assistance for hurricane-devastated New Orleans, U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert says it makes no sense to spend billions of dollars to rebuild a city that's seven feet under sea level.

In an interview yesterday with the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, the Illinois Republican said, in his words, "It looks like a lot of that place could be bulldozed."

5:09 p.m.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) The police chief in New Orleans is describing a horrific situation at the city's convention center. He says at least 15,000 hurricane refugees are trapped there, and that beatings and rapes are taking place. The chief says he sent teams into the convention center, but that they were "beaten back" soon after they got inside.

4:31 p.m.
A government official tells CBS News that President Bush will ask Congress to approve $10 billion in funding for Hurricane Katrina relief and recovery operations.

4:00 p.m.
MOSCOW (AP) The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency has rejected a Russian offer to send rescue teams and other aid in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, a Russian emergency official said Thursday.

Russia offered to send two transport planes with rescue teams, helicopters and other equipment to help deal with Katrina's aftermath.

3:46 p.m.
The Times-Picayune published a five-part series in 2002 titled "Washing Away" that details the likely outcomes of a major hurricane blast in New Orleans. The articles are seeming more prophetic each day as New Orleans copes with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

3:31 p.m.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Fights and fires broke out, corpses lay out in the open, and rescue helicopters and law enforcement officers were shot at as flood-stricken New Orleans descended into anarchy Thursday. "This is a desperate SOS," the mayor said.

Anger mounted across the city as thousands of storm victims grew increasingly hungry, desperate and tired of waiting for buses to take them out.

3:08 p.m.
A BBC article says the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will be a big test of the political, social and environmental strength of the United States.

The article also says that warnings of this type of disaster were in news reports, including a National Geographic article that estimated 50,000 people would die if a Category 5 hurricane hit New Orleans.

"It's not if it will happen," University of New Orleans geologist Shea Penland was quoted as saying. "It's when."

2:55 p.m.
WASHINGTON (CBS) — CBS News State Department reporter Charles Wolfson said more than 20 countries have made general offers of assistance and that the list grows by the hour, according to State Department spokesman Sean McCormack. Other officials indicated the offers include the type of humanitarian aid that Washington usually offers such as generators and medical care kits.

Even Honduras and Jamaica, which have been the recipients of U.S. aid after Hurricanes, have offered to help residents of the Gulf Coast.

Wolfson also reports that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said no offer of support would be refused.

2:29 p.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress will reconvene from its summer recess late Thursday or Friday to pass emergency legislation for victims of Hurricane Katrina, House and Senate Republicans aides said.

Ron Bonjean, spokesman for House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said Republicans had contacted Democrats about bringing the House back on Friday at noon to pass the emergency bill.

2:26 p.m.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — FEMA is getting an earful from the man heading New Orleans' emergency operations.

Terry Ebbert says the federal agency's response to Katrina is "a national disgrace."

Ebbert says FEMA has been in the city for three days, but he says that has yet to result in any command and control. He says Mayor Ray Nagin has been "pushing and asking, but we're not getting any supplies."

The emergency chief says the evacuation of thousands from New Orleans to Texas has been "almost entirely" a Louisiana operation — saying he hasn't seen "a single FEMA guy."

2:18 p.m.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Katrina's destruction is giving way to violence and anger in New Orleans.

FEMA has had to suspend rescue operations in some areas after gunfire broke out.

Another 10,000 National Guardsmen have been called into New Orleans and various parts of the Gulf Coast to beef up security and other operations.

Evacuations from the Superdome to Houston have begun, but thousands more people are desperately trying to get out. Heavily armed state troopers had to block a surging crowd that moved toward buses near the Superdome.

1:52 p.m.
NEW YORK (AP) — The singer known for "Blueberry Hill" and "Ain't That A Shame" has been missing since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.

Fats Domino's agent said the singer planned to ride out the storm at his house in a low-lying area of the city with his wife and daughter.

Al Embry says he spoke with Domino on Sunday night by phone, but hasn't been able to contact him since. Embry says he would think Domino is safe because "somebody said he was on top of the balcony."

Domino is 77 and has rarely appeared in public in recent years.

1:11 p.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The military plans to increase the number of National Guard troops on duty in Louisiana and Mississippi from a combined 7,400 to about 18,100, the senior commander in charge of military relief and rescue efforts said Thursday.

Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore said in a telephone interview with reporters at the Pentagon that he also ordered the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan from the Gulf to waters off Biloxi, Miss., to assist with relief operations there.

12:37 p.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A water safety expert says the New Orleans flooding could bring disease.

The head of the Louisiana Water Resources Research Institute at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge says bugs lurking in the water are "the more immediate health risk."

John Pardue says "whatever was in the sewer is in the water."

He says bacterial and viral diseases in the water will likely cause public health problems and gastrointestinal illnesses.

12:30 p.m.
Jack Shafer wrote a piece for Slate, Lost In The Flood, opening a sensitive discussion on how the issue of race and class has been largely absent from coverage of Hurricane Katrina for Slate.

Writes Shafer: "Nearly every rescued person, temporary resident of the Superdome, looter, or loiterer on the high ground of the freeway I saw on TV was African-American. And from the look of it, they weren't wealthy residents of the Garden District. This storm appears to have hurt blacks more directly than whites, but the broadcasters scarcely mentioned that fact."

12:06 p.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman was heading to the Gulf Coast Thursday to serve as a floating command center for Hurricane Katrina relief operations.

The Truman and the dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island will join five other Norfolk-based Navy ships that were already underway or in the Gulf as part of the Defense Department contingent being deployed to the stricken region.

12:00 p.m.
(CBS) —

11:56 a.m.
NEW ORLEANS (CBS) — CBS cameraman Mario deCarvalho tells CBS News that he was with members of the Louisiana National Guard when they were told a number of armed police officers, as many as 100, had walked off duty this morning in New Orleans. The National Guard is also reported to have M-16 rifles and ammunition, and is contemplating the movement of troops out of the city and to a staging area across the river. It was also confirmed that a guardsman was shot last night outside the Superdome.

11:37 a.m.
(AP) — Gasoline price hikes were evident at stations nationwide as gasoline costs breached $3 a gallon in numerous states Wednesday, the result of fuel pipeline shutdowns and delayed deliveries since Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana and Mississippi earlier this week.

In Georgia, a few gas stations were charging as much as $6 per gallon Wednesday after other retailers had run out of gas and long lines were reported across the state. In response, Gov. Sonny Perdue signed an executive order authorizing state sanctions against gas retailers who gouge consumers.

Crude oil prices, however, dipped Thursday after the Bush administration's decision to tap U.S. strategic reserves to help companies hurt by Hurricane Katrina, but gasoline futures jumped 3 percent because of worries about storm damage to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.

10:05 a.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush will tour the hurricane devastated Gulf Coast region on Friday and has asked his father, former President George H.W. Bush, and former President Clinton to lead a private fund-raising campaign for victims, the White House said Thursday.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Mr. Bush will survey the Alabama and Mississippi coast by helicopter, then go on to New Orleans. He also will tour some locations on the ground. He got a higher-altitude view Wednesday when Air Force One dropped several thousand feet to fly directly over the region during Bush's flight from his Texas ranch back to Washington.

9:19 a.m.
DOVER, Del. (AP) — Delaware State University is offering free tuition for the fall semester to students enrolled in colleges in the region affected by Hurricane Katrina. The students must be enrolled in schools in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana and be residents of those states or Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, or the District of Columbia.

9:00 a.m.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The evacuation of the Superdome was suspended Thursday after shots were reported fired at a military helicopter and arson fires broke out outside the arena. No immediate injuries were reported.

The scene at the Superdome became increasingly chaotic, with thousands of people rushing from nearby hotels and other buildings, hoping to climb onto the buses taking evacuees from the arena, officials said. Paramedics became increasingly alarmed by the sight of people with guns.

8:10 a.m.
BILOXI, Miss. (CBS) — Jim Acosta reports how 90 percent of the buildings in a coastal area in Biloxi are believed to be unrepairable. Biloxi is the hard-hit area where dozens of people were killed in one apartment building.

7:45 a.m.
NEW ORLEANS (CBS) — John Roberts reports on chaotic situations in New Orleans, where looting is rampant and a public health crisis has been declared.

7:30 a.m.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — With thousands feared dead and the city's remaining residents told to evacuate for weeks, conditions deteriorated further in submerged New Orleans as looting spiraled out of control. Mayor Ray Nagin ordered virtually the entire police force to abandon search-and-rescue efforts and stop thieves who were becoming increasingly hostile.

7 a.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush said Thursday that thousands more victims of Hurricane Katrina still need to be rescued and acknowledged the frustration of people who need food, water and shelter and are desperate for the federal government's massive relief effort to kick into high gear.

"I fully understand people wanting things to have happened yesterday,'' Mr. Bush said in a live interview in the Roosevelt Room of the White House with ABC's "Good Morning America'' program. "I understand the anxiety of people on the ground. ... So there is frustration. But I want people to know there's a lot of help coming."

6:00 a.m.
The Boston Globe reported Thursday that as recently as this summer Congress denied Louisiana help to protect its eroding coastline from flooding and major storms such as Katrina. State lawmakers were reportedly worried that a huge hurricane could do permanent damage to its coast, and proposed an addition to the federal energy bill that would have given the Cajun state a share of oil-drilling money — up to $1 billion per year.

But Louisiana's congressional delegation was turned down by a "Congress bent on budget-cutting and reluctant to pay for expensive preventative measures," the Globe reports.

5 a.m.
HOUSTON (AP) — Hundreds of weary hurricane refugees eager to flee the heat and filth of the Louisiana Superdome began arriving early Thursday at their new temporary home another sports arena.

The first busload of survivors from New Orleans drove through the gates of the Houston Astrodome, where air conditioning, cots, food and showers awaited them.

Katrina Disaster Blog: Aug. 31

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