WORLD DIGEST || Fire-prone California hit by a big blaze


Fire-prone California hit by a big blaze

SAN FRANCISCO

Thousands were forced to flee their homes Monday as major wildfires encroached on a charred area of Northern California still recovering from severe blazes in recent years, sparking concern the state may be in for another destructive series of wildfires this summer.

Severe drought has forced officials in western states to close national parks as precautions against wildfires and issue warnings to prepare for the worst.

In California, officials said unusually hot weather, high winds and highly flammable vegetation turned brittle by drought helped fuel the fires that began over the weekend, the same conditions that led to the state’s deadliest and most destructive fire year in 2017.

Trump trash-talks Va. restaurant

WASHINGTON

President Donald Trump is trash-talking a restaurant that refused to serve his press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Trump said in a tweet Monday morning that The Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Va., "should focus more on cleaning its filthy canopies, doors and windows [badly needs a paint job] rather than refusing to serve a fine person like Sarah Huckabee Sanders."

The restaurant’s co-owner Stephanie Wilkinson told The Washington Post that her reasons included the concerns of employees who were gay and knew Sanders had defended Trump's desire to bar transgender people from the military.

Panda habitat closes for possible pregnancy

WASHINGTON

Paws are crossed at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, where a panda baby watch is underway.

Officials closed the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat on Sunday to give Mei Xiang some quiet time because she’s exhibiting behaviors that are in line with both a pregnancy and false pregnancy.

Keepers can’t confirm if she’s pregnant. However, Mei Xiang is building a nest near her den, has decreased appetite, is sleeping more and is reacting to loud noises.

Outdoor habitats and viewing areas remain open for people to see the zoo’s other pandas, Bei Bei and Tian Tian.

Marijuana-based drug OK'd in US

WASHINGTON

U.S. health regulators Monday approved the first prescription drug made from marijuana, a milestone that could spur more research into a drug that remains illegal under federal law, despite growing legalization for recreational and medical use.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the medication, called Epidiolex, to treat two rare forms of epilepsy in patients 2 years and older. But it’s not quite medical marijuana.

The strawberry-flavored syrup is a purified form of a chemical ingredient found in the cannabis plant – but not the one that gets users high. It’s not yet clear why the ingredient, called cannabidiol, or CBD, reduces seizures in some people with epilepsy.

Search goes on for 12 Thai boys in cave

MAE SAI, Thailand

Anguished parents of 12 members of a boys’ soccer team missing in a flooded cave in northern Thailand were spending a third night without their children Monday as water continued to rise in the sprawling caverns, forcing rescuers led by elite navy divers to suspend their search.

Officials said pouring rain caused parts of the cave to flood with at least 16 feet of water but that they believe the boys are still alive.

The boys, age 11-15, are believed to have entered the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai province with their 25-year-old coach Saturday afternoon. A mother reported that her son did not return from soccer practice that day, setting off the search.

Associated Press

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