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US News: Califronia Wildfire; 8 Drown off Bahamas; Amusement Park Accidents

By: AP
By: AP
Idyllwild, California fire  (AP Photo / The Press-Enterprise, Frank Bellino)

Idyllwild, California fire (AP Photo / The Press-Enterprise, Frank Bellino)

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WILDFIRE
IDYLLWILD, Calif. (AP) --Fire officials in Southern California say thunderstorms this weekend could present a major threat to progress against a huge wildfire in the mountains near Palm Springs.
Cooler temperatures overnight helped firefighters make some progress against the 42-square-mile blaze.
The U.S. Forest Service says the fire is now 25 percent contained.
But fire officials are concerned that unstable air, combined with hot air on the ground, could create a strong updraft that draws smoke high into the atmosphere. If the smoke column rises too high, moisture at the top could freeze and the weight of the ice could cause the column to collapse, creating a powerful and dangerous downdraft in all directions.
Mandatory evacuations remain in place for a fourth day for about 6,000 people, and another 700 have been advised to evacuate.

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) -- Authorities in the Bahamas say they have found the bodies of eight people and a sunken boat near a beach in Grand Bahama island.
Police say they believe the victims, including a young boy, were migrants trying to reach the United States. All appear to have drowned, but officials say the cause of death hasn't been confirmed.
Officials say six bodies were found Friday at Holmes Rock and two were found near a sunken boat about a half-mile offshore from Grand Bahama.
Assistant Police Commissioner Hulan Hanna was quoted in a story Saturday in The Nassau Guardian saying that officials were checking for more bodies in the sunken boat. Hanna did not return a call for comment.
Grand Bahama island lies less than 100 miles (161 kilometers) east of Florida.

COLORADO SHOOTING-WEDDING
AURORA, Colo. (AP) -- Two people injured in the theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., one year ago marked the anniversary Saturday afternoon by getting married.
Eugene Han and Kirstin Davis said they wanted to turn July 20 into a celebration.
Friends who also survived the shooting took part in the ceremony at Village East Baptist Church in Aurora as senior pastor Robert McClendon gave a prayer for the couple and for those still grieving.
McClendon said the time is "both happy and sacred."
Han and Davis were among the 70 people injured in the shooting. Twelve people were killed.

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- An Arlington police sergeant says a woman who died while riding a roller coaster at a Six Flags amusement park in North Texas fell from the ride.
Sgt. Christopher Cook told The Associated Press on Saturday that police believe the woman fell Friday at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, and that there appears to have been no foul play.
He says police, fire and emergency medical services responded to the park around 6:45 p.m. Friday in reference to a woman who had fallen from a train car while riding a roller coaster. He says she was pronounced dead at the scene.
She had been riding the Texas Giant. Dubbed the tallest steel-hybrid coaster in the world, it reaches 14 stories high, drops 79 degrees and banks 95 degrees.

AMUSEMENT PARK BOAT ACCIDENT
SANDUSKY, Ohio (AP) -- State inspectors are at a popular Ohio amusement park to figure out how a boat on a thrill ride accidentally rolled backward down a hill and flipped over in water, injuring seven people.
Cedar Point spokesman Bryan Edwards says the inspectors and officials at the Sandusky park are investigating what went wrong with the Shoot the Rapids water ride Friday.
Six of the injured passengers were treated at the scene. The seventh was taken to a nearby hospital and was treated and release.
The ride remains closed, but the park reopened Saturday.
Edwards says he can't give an estimate of when the accident investigation will be completed.
He says Cedar Point's top priority is the safety of the park's visitors.

TORNADO-COLLEGE
Tornado hits Ohio's Ursuline College; no one hurt
PEPPER PIKE, Ohio (AP) -- A tornado that hit the campus of Ursuline College in northeast Ohio has caused some damage but college officials say no one was injured.
The National Weather Service says the EF1 twister with 110 mph winds hit about 3:35 a.m. northwest of the college and continued across part of the campus. It reached 100-200 yards wide and traveled 1.3 miles.
College officials say the twister caused an external wall of the school's O'Brien Athletic Center to collapse and destroyed part of the roof.
They say the storm also damaged several other buildings, including a science center and a library. Many trees were uprooted or destroyed and there was minor damage to other campus facilities.
The campus, which is about 12 miles east of Cleveland, is closed this weekend while officials assess the damage.

NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH-RALLIES
Across US, people rally for `Justice for Trayvon'
ATLANTA (AP) -- Several thousand people endured rain in downtown Atlanta as they called for changes to the nation's self-defense laws a week after a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman in the shooting death of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin.
The Rev. Raphael Warnock asked several thousand attendees of Saturday's rally what was so scary about a black man in a hood. Martin, who was black, wore a hoodie sweatshirt on the night he died. Zimmerman, who identifies himself as Hispanic, told police Martin looked suspicious.
Rally organizers said states should make it harder for people like Zimmerman to use self-defense arguments in court after killing someone. Many called for federal civil rights charges against the former neighborhood watch volunteer.
Zimmerman's attorneys have said their client didn't pursue Martin because of his race.

OBAMA-HELEN THOMAS
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama calls the late White House correspondent Helen Thomas "a true pioneer" who broke down barriers "for generations of women in journalism."
Thomas, who covered 10 presidents, died Saturday in Washington. She was 92.
Obama says Thomas "never failed to keep presidents -- myself included -- on their toes."
He praised her for her "fierce belief" that democracy works best when "we ask tough questions and hold our leaders to account."
Here are five things to know about Helen Thomas, the groundbreaking White House correspondent, who died Saturday at age 92:
1. SHE WAS AMONG THE FIRST WOMEN TO COVER HARD NEWS AT THE WHITE HOUSE
Her journalism career started in 1943, an era when female reporters were confined to stories about presidents' kids, wives, their teas and their hairdos.
2. HER BIG BREAK CAME IN PALM BEACH IN 1960
She was sent by UPI to cover the vacation of President-elect John Kennedy and his family.
3. THE BARRIER SHE BROKE THROUGH IN 1974
As United Press International's White House bureau chief, she became the first woman in that role for a wire service.
4. THE DAY SHE WAS SCOOPED BY A FIRST LADY
It was Pat Nixon who announced Thomas was engaged to Douglas Cornell, chief White House correspondent for the archrival Associated Press. They married in 1971.
5. THE COMMENT ABOUT ISRAEL THAT ENDED HER CAREER IN 2010
"Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine," she told a rabbi who was interviewing her. "Remember, these people are occupied and it's their land. It's not Germany, it's not Poland." She soon ‘retired’ from her job as a Hearst columnist.

BOONE, N.C. (AP) -- The Boone motel where three people died from carbon monoxide poisoning has been cleared to reopen.
The Charlotte Observer reports that a limited certificate of occupancy was issued Thursday to the Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Plaza.
Daryl Dean Jenkins and Shirley Mae Jenkins of Washington state died at the motel on April 16. Several weeks later, 11-year-old Jeffrey Lee Williams of Rock Hill, S.C., died in the same room.
All three guests died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Officials have blamed a faulty pool heater for sending lethal levels of carbon monoxide into the room.
The motel is currently for sale. Building inspector Todd Miller says the room where the deaths occurred won't be used.

After decades of work, wildlife biologists have been so successful in bringing back the peregrine falcon that the powerful raptors now threaten Southern California's endangered shorebird breeding sites.
As a result, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it will no longer permit peregrine chick rescues from Bay Area bridges, a move that they concede will likely lead to about a dozen fluffy chicks tumbling into the water below and drowning next spring.
FWS scientist Marie Strassburger says it's time for nature to take its course.
But a biologist who helped bring the species back says it's indefensible to ban him from rescuing a handful of chicks.
Peregrines nest high on cliffs, trees, buildings and bridges and hunt by diving at speeds topping 200 mph.

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) -- A 54-year-old fisherman is safe after his 14-foot boat capsized as he was landing a 230-pound tuna in the ocean off Hawaii.
The U.S. Coast Guard rescued Anthony Wichman on Friday after receiving a distress call from his wife.
Wichman was fishing about 10 miles southwest of Port Allen on the island of Kauai (kuh-WEYE') Friday morning when he hooked the Ahi tuna. Coast Guard Lt. Jessica Mickelson tells Hawaii News Now (http://tinyurl.com/ksqfuaf ) that Wichman was able to use his cellphone to call his wife for help.
The Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter to rescue Wichman. Friends arrived on another boat and were able to right Wichman's boat. They towed it -- and the fish -- back to port.


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