High winds push growing wildfire
Pushed by howling, erratic winds, a massive wildfire in north-central Washington was growing rapidly and burning in new directions Saturday.
Road closures and evacuations were changing regularly, as hot weather and winds with gusts up to 30 mph were pushing the fire over ridge tops and toward a cluster of small towns northeast of Seattle.
“This is a very active and fluid situation,” fire spokesman Chuck Turey said.
As of Saturday morning, the lightning-caused fire had scorched nearly 340 square miles in the scenic Methow Valley. The fire was measured at 260 square miles Friday.
Gunmen kill 21 Egyptian troops
Gunmen armed with rocket-propelled grenades attacked a border-guard post Saturday in Egypt’s western desert in a brazen assault that killed 21 troops deployed in the province along the border with neighboring Libya.
Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi called it a “terrorist attack” on soldiers defending the country’s borders that will “not go unanswered.
“Terrorism will be uprooted from every part of Egypt,” a statement from the presidency said. It declared a three-day mourning period.
The attack was the second in two months on the same post, where a border- guards company is based. Coming just over a month after el-Sissi took office, the attack is the worst single loss for military troops in recent history.
Court postpones Arizona execution
A federal appeals court Saturday granted an Arizona death-row inmate’s request to postpone his pending execution, putting it on hold until prison officials reveal details on the two-drug combination that will be used to put him to death.
The preliminary injunction granted by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversing a lower federal court comes four days before the scheduled execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood.
Russia bans 13 Americans
Russia has placed a U.S. lawmaker and 12 other people connected with the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq on its list of those banned from entering the country.
In a statement Saturday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said congressman Jim Moran, a Democrat from Virginia, was banned in response to the July 2 U.S. ban on Russian parliament member Adam Delimkhanov. He said Moran repeatedly had been accused of financial misdeeds but didn’t elaborate.
The other 12, including Guantanamo commander Rear Adm. Richard Butler and Lynndie England, a former soldier convicted of abusing prisoners in Abu Ghraib, were banned in response to the United States’ adding 12 names in May to the so-called Magnitsky List of Russians sanctioned for human-rights abuses.
HIV diagnosis rate falling steadily in US
The rate of HIV infections diagnosed in the United States each year fell by one-third over the past decade, a government study finds. Experts celebrated it as hopeful news that the AIDS epidemic may be slowing in the U.S.
The reasons for the drop aren’t clear. It might mean fewer new infections are occurring. Or that most infected people already have been diagnosed so more testing won’t necessarily find many more cases.
The study was released online Saturday by the Journal of the American Medical Association.