Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Nation Briefs

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Nation Briefs

Article excerpt

Wildfire spreads into Yosemite

A giant wildfire raging out of control spread into Yosemite National Park on Friday as authorities urged more evacuations in nearby communities where thousands have already been forced out by flames marching through the timbered slopes of the western Sierra Nevada.

The fire hit the park at the height of summer season, as officials geared up for a busy Labor Day weekend. It has closed some backcountry hiking but was not threatening the Yosemite Valley region, one of California's most popular tourist destinations.

The spectacular valley carved by glaciers offers visitors such iconic sights as the Half Dome and El Capitan rock formations and Bridalveil and Yosemite falls.

The weeklong blaze has spread to more than 165 square miles and was only 2 percent contained. It continued to grow in several directions, although "most of the fire activity is pushing to the east right into Yosemite," said Daniel Berlant, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Pentagon grapples with budget cuts * The Defense Department may have to fire at least 6,272 civilian employees if automatic cuts known as sequestration slice $52 billion from its fiscal 2014 budget, according to a Pentagon planning document.

Additional budget analysis is "likely to produce further reductions" as the services focus on shrinking their contract labor forces, according to a Pentagon "execution plan" obtained by Bloomberg News. The job cuts, although less than 1 percent of the nonuniformed workforce, would mark an escalation from the unpaid leave mandated under sequestration in the current fiscal year.

The services should expect a $475 billion budget after sequestration cuts for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, almost 10 percent less than the pending $526.6 billion request, according to the document dated Aug. 1. Sequestration would result in 16 percent reductions in the Pentagon's procurement and research spending and 12 percent cuts in operations, maintenance and military construction.

Random attack on veteran riles social media * Police in Spokane, Wash., have arrested one of two teens suspected of fatally beating an 88-year-old veteran of World War II who had survived the battle for Okinawa. …

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