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WESTERN WILDFIRES

Erratic Oregon wildfire keeps exploding, confounding crews

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Firefighters are scrambling to control an inferno in southeastern Oregon that's spreading miles a day in windy conditions as wildfires across the U.S. West strain resources. Authorities have expanded evacuations near the nation's largest wildfire and worry the Bootleg Fire could merge with another blaze. It's stymied firefighters for nearly a week with erratic winds and extremely dangerous fire behaviour . Dozens more fires are burning Friday in 12 states. Among those is one near Paradise, California, the site of the deadliest wildfire in U.S. history. That fire is posing little risk so far, but survivors of the 2018 blaze are worried.

AP-EU-EUROPE-FLOODS

Rescuers rush to help as Europe's flood toll surpasses 125

BERLIN (AP) — Emergency workers in western Germany and Belgium are rushing to rescue hundreds of people threatened by historic floods, including residents of a town where the ground gave way beneath their homes. The disaster claimed dozens more lives, and search for the missing went on. The death toll rose to more than 125. Hundreds of people were still unaccounted for. A harrowing rescue effort unfolded in the German town of Erftstadt, southwest of Cologne, where people were trapped when the ground gave way and their homes collapsed. Aerial photos showed what appeared to be a massive landslide at a gravel pit on the town’s edge.

MICHIGAN FLOODING

Detroit area hit again with rain; flood warning posted

DETROIT (AP) — Steady rain is soaking the Detroit area, flooding highways and raising the anxiety of residents. Thousands had their basements wrecked by sewage during a tremendous storm two weeks ago. On Friday, a downtown ramp to the Lodge Freeway was below water and closed, while sections of Interstate 94 in Detroit were also flooded. The National Weather Service posted a flood warning for Wayne County until late afternoon. In Detroit, highways are vulnerable in any long rain event because they are below ground and depend on pumps to remove water. The rain fell a day after President Joe Biden declared a disaster due to flood damage from late June.

AP-UN-UNITED-NATIONS-HUMANITARIAN-CRISES

UN chief: World faces a `hurricane of humanitarian crises'

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations chief is warning that a “hurricane of humanitarian crises” around the world has left civilians in conflict areas paying the highest price and is compounded by a relentless wave of attacks on humanitarian and medical workers. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Friday that humanitarian needs are outpacing the ability of the United Nations and aid organizations to meet them, “turbo-charged by the COVID-19 pandemic.” He said the scale of humanitarian needs “have never been greater.” Guterres said the U.N. and its partners “are seeking to reach 160 million people with assistance this year -- the highest figure ever.”

AP-VIRUS-OUTBREAK-ASIA-PACIFIC

Pacific Rim leaders agree to step up COVID vaccine sharing

Leaders of Asian Pacific nations have agreed to step up coronavirus vaccination sharing efforts. China says it has pledged $3 billion in international aid over the next three years to support the COVID-19 response in developing countries. Leaders of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation including U.S. President Joe Biden, Chinese Prime Minister Xi Jinping, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Russian President Vladimir Putin gathered virtually Friday. The meeting comes as the delta variant spurs a spike in infections around the globe. The talks focused on lowering barriers to expedite the sharing of vaccines and preparedness for the next pandemic.

AP-EU-VIRUS-OUTBREAK-BRITAIN

UK daily infections top 50,000 days before virus rules eased

LONDON (AP) — The U.K. has recorded more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases for the first time in six months amid a warning from the British government’s top medical adviser that the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 could get “quite scary” levels within weeks. Government figures reported Friday showed another 51,870 confirmed lab cases, the highest number since Jan. 15. Infections have surged mainly among younger age groups that aren't yet vaccinated as a result of the far more contagious delta variant and the ongoing easing of lockdown restrictions. A group of scientists warned that the combination of high prevalence and high levels of vaccination could allow a vaccine-resistant variant to emerge.

SOUTH AFRICA-ZUMA-RIOTS

Ramaphosa vows army will return order to South Africa

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed to restore order to the country after a week of violence set off by the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma. He said the chaos and violence had been “planned and co-ordinated ” and that the instigators will be prosecuted. He said the deployment of 25,000 troops would end the violence and rampant theft in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces. South Africa’s unrest erupted after Zuma began serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court in a case in which he faced allegations of corruption. A government official says more than 2,500 people have been arrested for theft and vandalism and 212 people died in the unrest.

CUBA PROTESTS-FLORIDA

Florida boaters could risk fines, prison by going to Cuba

MIAMI (AP) — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is warning organizers planning to launch a flotilla next week from South Florida to waters near Cuba that they could risk breaking the law. The department said in an advisory Thursday that boaters intending to enter Cuban territorial waters must get permission from the U.S. Coast Guard. Violators risk facing fines of $25,000 a day and 10 years in prison. According to Osdany Veloz, an organizer of the boaters, the goal of next Monday’s planned trip is to go to international waters near the island, but not cross into Cuban waters, to let island residents know they have supporters in South Florida.

HAITI-ARISTIDE

Hundreds greet Aristide on return to troubled Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has returned to Haiti after a nearly a month in Cuba. That has thrilled hundreds of supporters who gathered at the airport Friday to welcome the twice-elected, twice-deposed president a time of tensions over the recent assassination of the country’s leader. Aristide was receiving unspecified medical treatment in Cuba. Meanwhile new details emerged about the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Authorities say 24 police officers were standing guard when a group of heavily armed men attacked the president’s private house.

BC-EU-REL-VATICAN-LATIN-MASS

Pope reverses Benedict, reimposes restrictions on Latin Mass

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis has cracked down on the celebration of the old Latin Mass by reversing one of Pope Benedict XVI’s signature decisions. Francis on Friday reimposed restrictions on celebrating the Latin Mass that Benedict had relaxed in 2007. He said he was doing so because Benedict’s reform had become a source of division. Francis issued a new law requiring individual bishops to approve celebrations of the old Tridentine Mass. His move is a major challenge to traditionalist Catholics, and some immediately decried it as a devastating attack. Others, however, said Francis was right to intervene, noting that Benedict’s original decision had had a slew of unintended consequences.

The Associated Press

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