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Even if the cap works, the blown-out well must still be plugged. A permanent solution will have to wait until one of two relief wells being drilled reaches the broken well, which will then be plugged up with drilling mud and cement. That may not be accomplished until mid-August.

Also Tuesday, there were several anti-BP protests in London, including one outside corporate headquarters in which protesters wearing T-shirts saying “BP blows” blasted South Africa’s iconic vuvuzela horns, and another at the British Museum in which protesters poured dark, sticky molasses over the base of an Easter Island statue that BP had sponsored.