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Associated Press

Posted on August 3, 2014 at 6:00 PM

WESTERN WILDFIRES Northeast California wildfires grow BURNEY, Calif. (AP) Two wildfires burning without restraint about 8 miles apart in northeast California are the focus of state and federal firefighters. Authorities report that one of the blazes has destroyed eight homes and prompted the precautionary evacuation of a small long-term care hospital. The two fires, among 14 burning in the state, started within a day of each other in Lassen National Forest and have expanded into private property and scorched at least 90 square miles. The more destructive of the two is threatening the town of Burney, where officials at Mayer Memorial Hospital decided to evacuate their 49-bed skilled nursing annex. The patients were transferred to a hospital in Redding, about 55 miles away. The Shasta County sheriff has Burney on an evacuation watch after ordering residents of three small neighboring communities to leave on Saturday night. The area is sparsely populated and authorities don't yet know how many residents are affected or if the destroyed homes were vacation houses or permanent dwellings. Evacuations also remain in effect for a community on the edge of the second fire.

CHINA-EARTHQUAKE Quake kills more than 360 BEIJING (AP) China says at least 367 people were killed and more than 1,800 injured when a strong earthquake rattled Yunnan province in the southern part of the country. The official Xinhua (shihn-wah) News Agency says about 12,000 homes collapsed in Ludian, a densely populated county located around 277 miles northeast of Yunnan's capital, Kunming. The mountainous region where Sunday afternoon's quake occurred is largely agricultural, with farming and mining the top industries, and is prone to earthquakes. The news agency says more than 2,500 troops have been dispatched to the disaster region and the Red Cross is sending supplies. China's social media site shows rescuers searching through flattened buildings. The U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude-6.1 quake struck at a depth of 6 miles.

ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS Israel withdraws most troops from Gaza GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) Israel says it has pulled most of its ground troops out of the Gaza Strip, after destroying most of the tunnels it found beneath the border. But it's not clear if that means the nearly monthlong conflict with Hamas is nearing an end. Hamas is vowing to continue the battle. And heavy fighting still raged today in parts of Gaza. At least 10 people were killed in what U.N. and Palestinian officials say was an Israeli airstrike near a school serving as a U.N. shelter. The United States and the United Nations have condemned the attack and called for an investigation. Israel launched its military operation July 8 in response to weeks of heavy rocket fire from Gaza. It sent in ground forces July 17 to destroy the network of tunnels it says were used by Hamas to carry out attacks. More than 1,800 Palestinians are believed to have died in the bloodiest round of fighting ever between the two enemies. Israel's death toll is nearly 70, including 64 soldiers. About 15,000 people attended a funeral today for an Israeli soldier who was feared captured in Gaza but was found to have died in battle.

UNITED STATES-ISRAEL US 'appalled' by 'disgraceful' UN school shelling WASHINGTON (AP) The United States says it is "appalled" by the "disgraceful" shelling by Israel of a United Nations school sheltering some 3,000 displaced people in southern Gaza. In language that is rare in its directness and severity, the U.S. denounced the attack earlier in the day that killed 10 people, noting that the school had been designated a protected location and the Israel Defense Forces had been informed numerous times of the school's coordinates. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki (SAH'-kee) called on Israel to do "more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties." The U.S. condemnation follows one by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who depicted the shelling near the Rafah school as both "a moral outrage and a criminal act."

TROPICAL WEATHER Bertha heads for Turks & Caicos PROVIDENCIALES, Turks & Caicos Islands (AP) Tropical Storm Bertha is moving over the Turks & Caicos (KAY'-kohs) Islands and the southeastern Bahamas, after dumping heavy rain in the Dominican Republic. Rain is the main worry from the storm, which has top sustained winds of 45 mph. The National Hurricane Center in Miami expects it to curve to the northeast and move parallel to the U.S. East Coast without hitting the mainland or Bermuda.

EBOLA-AMERICANS American missionary with Ebola to leave Liberia Tuesday ATLANTA (AP) A second American medical missionary stricken with the often deadly Ebola virus is expected to fly Tuesday to the U.S. for treatment, following a colleague admitted over the weekend to Emory University Hospital's infectious disease unit. U.S. public health officials say treating Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantly in the U.S. poses no risks to the American public as West Africa grapples with its worst recorded Ebola outbreak with more than 700 deaths. "The plain truth is that we can stop Ebola," said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaking Sunday on ABC's "This Week. Liberian Information Minister Lewis Brown told AP a medical evacuation plane carrying Writebol was expected to leave West Africa early Tuesday for the U.S.

NETHERLANDS-UKRAINE-PLANE More belongings found at Ukraine disaster site AMSTERDAM (AP) The head of a team of international investigators says more personal belongings of victims of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 disaster in eastern Ukraine have been found, but no human remains. Speaking from the Ukrainian capital Kiev, Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg said 88 experts Sunday searched an area of 2 square miles near the village of Rozsypne in the fields where the plane's wreckage is scattered. The recovery effort was initially slowed by fighting between pro-Russia separatist rebels and Ukrainian forces nearby and is expected to take several weeks. Flight 17 was shot down July 17, killing all 298 passengers and crew, most of them Dutch. Remains of more than 200 victims have been found transferred to the Netherlands for identification.

TRIPLE FATAL CRASH Car crashes head-on into RV, killing 2 women, teen STODDARD, N.H. (AP) Police say a car crossed the center lane on a New Hampshire highway and crashed into an RV, killing a woman and teenager from Massachusetts and a woman from Florida. State police say 54-year-old Mary Newton, of Greenfield, Massachusetts, was driving west on Route 9 in Stoddard on Saturday afternoon when her car entered the eastbound lane and hit the RV head-on. Newton and a 16-year-old passenger were killed. The driver of the RV was seriously injured, and the passenger died. She was identified as 68-year-old Dulce Marie Campo Perez, of West Melbourne, Florida. The crash remains under investigation.

TOLEDO-WATER PROBLEMS More tests needed before Ohio city gets water back TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) The mayor of Toledo, Ohio, is telling residents that more tests must be done to ensure toxins are out of the city's water supply. Mayor D. Michael Collins says Sunday that the 400,000 people in the region need to avoid drinking tap water for a second day. But he says samples show the level of toxins appears to have decreased. Toledo officials issued the warning early Saturday after tests revealed the presence of a toxin possibly from algae on Lake Erie. Ohio's Environmental Protection Agency is trying to figure out what caused a sudden spike in the toxins. Gov. John Kasich has ordered the state's National Guard to deliver pallets of bottled water, water purification systems and meals ready to eat to residents in Lucas, Wood and Fulton counties.

TOLEDO WATER-ZOO Toledo Zoo using own water amid Lake Erie toxin TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) The Toledo Zoo says it's using its own water reserves for the animals as drinking water for some 400,000 people in the region remains off limits because of toxins in Lake Erie. The zoo says none of the animals has shown any signs of sickness but zookeepers are monitoring them. Flamingos are the only animals taken off exhibit Sunday as a precaution. Officials say zoo restaurants and concession stands were closed and drinking fountains were shut off. The zoo's restrooms were open, but hand sanitizers were available if visitors preferred not to wash their hands in the sinks. The advisory has affected residents in and around Toledo, including parts of Michigan. The National Guard and other groups are helping distribute water brought in from elsewhere.

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