Obama returns to the Gulf

US PRESIDENT Barack Obama was to go back to the Gulf of Mexico last night, this time venturing on to new ground tainted by oil, before speaking to Americans about what he's seen in the afflicted states and what to expect in the weeks ahead.

US PRESIDENT Barack Obama was to go back to the Gulf of Mexico last night, this time venturing on to new ground tainted by oil, before speaking to Americans about what he's seen in the afflicted states and what to expect in the weeks ahead.

Before the start of a two-day trip to Mississippi, Alabama and Florida yesterday, the White House announced Obama would order BP to establish a major victims' compensation fund.

When he returns to Washington on this evening Obama will use his first Oval Office speech to address the catastrophe.

BP said yesterday its costs for responding to the spill had risen to $1,6billion (R12,2billion), including new $25million (R190million) grants to Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. It also includes the first $60million (R460million) for a project to build barrier islands off the Louisiana coast. - Sapa-AP

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