Wildfire becomes fourth-largest in California history as containment continues
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — The wildfire burning in and around Yosemite National Park has become the fourth-largest conflagration in modern California history, fire officials said Sunday as clouds and higher humidity helped crews further contain the biggest blaze in the United States this year.
The 2-week-old Rim Fire moved up a spot on the state’s list of large wildfires dating back to 1932 when it grew to 348 square miles — an area larger than the cities of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose combined — on Saturday, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant said.
Although the fire still is growing, it was 40 percent contained as of Sunday, up from 35 percent a day earlier.
Moister air was expected to slow flames from advancing through brush and trees, giving firefighters room to set backfires, dig containment lines and to strengthen lines around threatened communities, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Pam Baltimore said.
Full containment is not expected until Sept. 20.
Egypt chief prosecutor refers ousted president Morsi to trial for inciting deadly violence
CAIRO — Egypt’s top prosecutor referred Sunday ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi to trial on charges of inciting the killing of opponents protesting outside his palace while he was in office, the state news agency said.
The military ousted Morsi on July 3 after millions took to the street demanding he step down. He’s been held incommunicado since. Despite other accusations by prosecutors, Sunday’s decision is his first referral to trial. No date was announced for the trial.
Morsi will be tried, along with 14 members of his Muslim Brotherhood, in a criminal court for allegedly committing acts of violence, and inciting the killing of at least 10 people.
The case dates back to one of the deadliest bouts of violence during Morsi’s one year in office. At least 100,000 protesters gathered outside his presidential palace on Dec. 4, protesting a decree he issued to protect his decisions from judicial oversight and a highly disputed draft constitution that was hurriedly adopted in the Islamist-dominated parliament.
Protesters demanded he call off a referendum scheduled days later. The next day, Islamist groups and supporters of Morsi attacked protesters who camped out there, sparking deadly street battles that left at least 10 dead and sending chills among Morsi’ opponents that he had relied on organized mobs to defend his palace.
New SF-Oakland Bay Bridge on track to open, after delays and billions of extra costs
SAN FRANCISCO — Crews are on pace to put the finishing touches on a new stretch of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, and the span should be ready to open as planned early this week, officials say.
When traffic flows across the new eastern part of the span for the first time, it will do so nearly a quarter-century after a deadly earthquake during the 1989 World Series collapsed two 50-foot sections of the old structure.
The 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta quake hit just as millions tuned in to watch Game 3 of the “Bay Bridge World Series” between the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants, killing 63 people and causing up to $10 billion in damage.
The Bay Bridge failure, one of the temblor’s most memorable images, prompted one of the costliest public works projects in state history. The $6.4 billion project finally draws to a close after decades of political bickering, engineering challenges and billions in cost overruns. Transportation officials say the bridge should be ready to open as scheduled by 5 a.m. Tuesday after being closed for five days.
By wire sources