Saturday, August 1
Firefighter killed, hundreds flee as California blazes burn
LOWER LAKE, Calif. (AP) — Wildfires are raging in forests and woodlands across California and an army of firefighters continues to battle them from the air and the ground. Hundreds of people have been forced to flee their homes.
A spokesman for the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says 23 large fires, many sparked by lightning strikes, are burning across Northern California. And some 8,000 firefighters are attempting to subdue them, something made incredibly difficult by several years of drought.
In the Modoc National Forest, about a hundred miles south of Oregon, A firefighter from South Dakota's Black Hills National Forest was killed fighting a fast-moving blaze.
The biggest fire is in the Lower Lake area north of San Francisco where firefighters have been turning loose horses, goats and other livestock in rural neighborhoods as their owners fled to safety. The fast-moving fire has burned three homes and is threatening 450 other structures. Only 5 percent contained, it has spread across 28 square miles and is growing quickly.
MISSING MALAYSIA PLANE
Suspected Flight 370 wing flap arrives at French facility
BALMA, France (AP) — A wing flap suspected to be from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has arrived at a French military testing facility where it will be analyzed by experts.
A truck carrying the roughly 8-foot-long component known as a flaperon arrived at the DGA TA aeronautical testing site near Toulouse Saturday afternoon, accompanied by police motorcycles and a police car.
French experts are scheduled to begin analyzing the piece on Wednesday. They hope to determine whether the wreckage found on a French island in the Indian Ocean was part of the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board.
One aviation security expert tells French TV there is little doubt in the aeronautic community that the piece is from Flight 370. He says only three 777s have crashed since 2013 and the other two were in completely different locations.
A U.S. official says air safety investigators, including one from Boeing, have identified the component as a flaperon from the trailing edge of a Boeing 777 wing.
UPDATE: NYC health official expects more Legionnaires' disease cases
NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City health official says there likely will be more cases of Legionnaires' disease over the coming days amid an outbreak that has sickened dozens.
Dr. Jay Varma tells The Associated Press Saturday he believes people may have been infected before the city cleaned cooling towers where the disease-causing bacteria had been found.
City officials say four people have died and 65 cases have been reported in the Bronx since July 10.
The legionella bacteria were discovered at five buildings in the South Bronx.
Varma, a deputy health commissioner, says anyone who lives or works near the towers would be at risk of exposure.
Legionnaires' disease is caused when water tainted with a certain bacteria is inhaled into the lungs. There have been 2,400 cases nationwide this year.
Dodge Chargers recalled; door slam can make air bags inflate
DETROIT (AP) — Fiat Chrysler is recalling more than 322,000 sedans worldwide because side air bags can inflate if doors are slammed too hard.
The recall covers certain Dodge Chargers from the 2011 to 2014 model years, mainly in the U.S. and Canada.
Last week, more than 843,000 Dodge Ram pickup trucks were recalled for the same problem. The company says the Charger recall came from an internal investigation launched because of the truck recall.
Fiat Chrysler says the air bag control modules may be too sensitive and need to be recalibrated. The company says it knows of three minor injuries from the problem.
Owners will be notified when they can bring cars in for repairs. In the meantime, the company says people should use caution when closing doors.
NEW: Baltimore prosecutor won't cooperate with homicide panel
BALTIMORE (AP) — A commission established to review homicides in Baltimore has stalled because its leaders say the city's top prosecutor isn't sharing information that's needed for the program to work.
The city spent nearly $200,000 last year to launch the Homicide Review Commission. It was meant to bring together elected officials, police leaders, academics, public health officials and others to identify trends that leads to slayings and how best to respond.
Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, was tapped to lead the project. He tells The Baltimore Sun that State Attorney Marilyn Mosby's refusal to provide information on ongoing cases "took the air out of the whole process." Mosby tells The Sun that providing information could compromise investigations or jeopardize the safety of victims.
Baltimore reached a grim milestone on Friday, three months after riots erupted in response to the death of Freddie Gray in police custody: With 45 homicides in July, the highest monthly murder rate in 43 years.
TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL-INVESTIGATION
Prosecutor: Texas AG indicted for felony securities fraud
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A special prosecutor says a grand jury has indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on felony securities fraud charges that accuse the Republican of misleading investors before he took over as the state's top law enforcement officer.
Kent Schaffer, a Houston defense attorney appointed by a judge to the case, tells The New York Times that a Texas grand jury indicted Paxton on two counts of first-degree securities fraud and a lesser charge of not registering.
The most serious allegation is that he encouraged investment in McKinney-based tech startup company Servergy Inc., which is now under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Associated Press reported Paxton's involvement with the company — and that a federal investigation was under way — last month.
Paxton also was fined last year for not disclosing to Texas securities regulators that he was getting commissions for soliciting investors.
Graham says he can win New Hampshire - and McCain agrees
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says he's confident he can win presidential primaries in New Hampshire and his home state of South Carolina, two of the first voting states in the nomination contest.
His friend and Senate colleague, two-time New Hampshire primary winner John McCain, agrees.
McCain is joining Graham for a full day of campaign events, including a town hall meeting Saturday in Manchester. Considered an underdog, the Arizona Republican won the 2000 New Hampshire primary after hosting more than 100 town halls. He turned to the same strategy in 2008 and went on to win the GOP nomination.
Graham likely won't be on the stage Thursday when Fox News hosts the first GOP primary debate. He says that early state voters, not national polls, should narrow the field.
Biden associates resume discussion about presidential run
WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden's associates have resumed discussions about a 2016 presidential run after largely shelving such deliberations during his son's illness and following his death earlier this year.
But Biden has yet to tell his staff whether he will run or personally ask them to do any planning for a potential campaign.
That's according to people close to Biden who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity, because they were not authorized to discuss the deliberations.
The renewed focus on Biden comes amid some signs of weakness for front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, including declines in her favorability, according to recent polling.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has also attracted large crowds with his economic message, demonstrating a hunger within the party for an alternative to Clinton.
NEW: Conservative donor Koch urges end to 'corporate cronyism'
DANA POINT, Calif. (AP) — Billionaire industrialist Charles Koch is challenging a group of roughly 450 like-minded conservative political donors to advocate for ending "corporate cronyism" - policies that in many cases help their businesses.
Along with his brother David, Koch has long pressed for a federal government that collects fewer taxes and issues fewer regulations.
He told a group of donors at a conference Saturday south of Los Angeles that cutting back special treatment for business is the first step to ending a "two-tiered society" and encouraging "principled entrepreneurship"
The Koch brothers and their network of donors are preparing to spend $890 million to influence elections next year. As such, among those in attendance were several of the GOP candidates for president, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former business executive Carly Fiorina.
NEW: Woman gets probation in boyfriend's death by neglect
ROCK HILL, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina woman has been sentenced to five years of probation for fatally neglecting her boyfriend, who died several months after being taken to the hospital with bedsores, mold in his catheter and bug bites.
Multiple media outlets report Crystal Perdue, of Rock Hill, pleaded guilty Friday to neglect of a vulnerable adult resulting in death.
Perdue cried as she told the judge she loved Jonathan Earle but failed him. Earle had multiple health problems, including multiple sclerosis and diabetes. He died on his 41st birthday in September 2012.
Investigators say Perdue accepted the responsibility for Earle's care, but when detectives went to their home, they had to wade through knee-deep trash.
Perdue's attorney said she suffered from depression. The mother of two faced up to 30 years in prison. Rock Hill is about 27 miles south of Charlotte.
Atlanta airport leads in number of guns found in bags
ATLANTA (AP) — Authorities say Atlanta's airport once again leads the nation in the number of guns found in carry-on bags.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Transportation Security Administration officers have found 92 guns so far this year. They found a total of 109 last year.
TSA spokesman says 9mm pistols are the most common guns found at checkpoints. He says they're usually found in clothing at the bottom of a bag.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has previously been the airport with the most confiscated, but Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport topped it last year.
The TSA has launched a campaign to teach travelers how to legally travel with guns on commercial flights. Howell says they don't want to infringe on rights, but they don't want the guns accessible during a flight.
Zimbabwean authorities restrict hunting after lion killing
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwean wildlife authorities say they have suspended the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants in an area favored by hunters following the killing of a lion popular with tourists.
The National Parks and Wildlife Authority said Saturday that bow and arrow hunts have also been suspended unless they are approved by the authority's director.
The authority says it is also investigating the killing of another lion in April that may have been illegal. It says it only received the information this week.
The announcement follows an international outcry stemming from an American hunter's killing of a lion named Cecil (SEH'-sihl) that allegedly was lured out of a national park. Zimbabwean authorities say the hunt was illegal and are seeking the extradition of Minnesota dentist Walter James Palmer.