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Thunderstorms could worsen California’s giant Dixie fire, officials warn

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Northern California’s raging Dixie fire, the largest wildfire burning in the US, could be spread further and faster by potential thunderstorms, officials warned on Thursday.

The possibility of strong winds of up to 40mph and the chance of lightning threatened to swell the huge blaze and potentially spark new fires.

The Dixie fire, which has become one of the most destructive in California history, has all but leveled the town of Greenville and is still threatening a dozen small towns in the Sierra Nevada, even though its southern end was mostly corralled by fire lines. It has burned more than 790 sq miles (2,046 sq km) and has destroyed more than 1,000 single-family homes since erupting in mid-July. It is 30% contained.

Related: California man charged with killing his children claimed he was ‘enlightened by QAnon’, FBI says

Meteorologist Joe Goudsward said on Thursday morning: “Today we are looking at a change in the pattern. The high pressure is still going to be over us, but we’ve gotten mid-level moisture that we have gone in and put in some thunderstorms into the forecast. We’re warm, we’re dry, we’re unstable. It could be an active afternoon.”

The fire is one of 11 burning across California. Its cause remains under investigation. The utility Pacific Gas & Electric has said the blaze may have been sparked when a tree fell on one of its power lines.

A red flag warning, Cal Fire’s highest alert, was in effect for northern California between Friday afternoon until late Friday evening, because of potential dry lightning. Cal Fire said: “During these times extreme caution is urged by all residents, because a simple spark can cause a major wildfire.”

Meanwhile, a judge on Wednesday denied bail to a former professor from California who authorities accuse of starting the smaller Ranch fire in Lassen county. The man denies setting the fire, according to court documents.

Hot, dry weather throughout the US west is driving flames through more than a dozen states. A wildfire bearing down on rural south-eastern Montana towns on Thursday forced the evacuation of thousands of people.

The Richard Spring fire advanced across Montana’s sparsely populated Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, and displayed extreme behavior, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. The blaze, which began on Sunday, spread across 260 sq miles (673 sq km).

By nightfall, the fire had crept within about 2 miles (3.2 km) of the evacuated town of Lame Deer, leaping over a highway where officials had hoped to stop it.

Rancher Jimmy Peppers sat on his horse east of town, watching an orange glow grow near the site of his house.

“I didn’t think it would cross the highway so I didn’t even move my farm equipment,” said Peppers, who spent the afternoon herding his cattle on to a neighbor’s pasture closer to town. “I don’t know if I’ll have a house in the morning.”

Horse riders surrounded by smoke from the Richard Spring fire as it moves toward Ashland, Montana. Photograph: Mike Clark/AP

By late Wednesday a second fire was closing in on Lame Deer from the west, while the Richard Spring fire raged to the east.

Drought conditions have left trees, grass and brush bone-dry throughout many western states, leaving them ripe for ignition. At the same time, California and some other states were facing flows of monsoonal moisture that were too high to bring rain but could create thunderstorms, bringing new fire risks from dry lightning and erratic winds.

The conditions prompted three national forests to close the Trinity Alps wilderness area, a half-million-acre expanse of granite peaks, lakes and trails, into November.

Scientists have said climate change has made the region much warmer and drier in the past 30 years and will continue to make the weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive. California’s five largest wildfires in history have all occurred in the last three years, burning more than 2.5m acres and destroying 3,700 structures.

The Dixie fire is second in size to last year’s August Complex fire, in which several smaller fires merged to make one massive conflagration.



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India tests nuclear-capable missile amid tensions with China

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NEW DELHI (AP) — India has test-fired a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of 5,000 kilometers (3,125 miles) from an island off its east coast amid rising border tensions with China.

The successful launch on Wednesday was in line with “India’s policy to have credible minimum deterrence that underpins the commitment to no first use,” said a government statement.

The Agni-5 missile splashed down in the Bay of Bengal with “a very high degree of accuracy,” said the statement issued on Wednesday night.

Beijing’s powerful missile arsenal has driven New Delhi to improve its weapons systems in recent years, with the Agni-5 believed to be able to strike nearly all of China.

India is already able to strike anywhere inside neighboring Pakistan, its archrival against whom it has fought three wars since gaining independence from British colonialists in 1947.

India has been developing its medium- and long-range nuclear and missile systems since the 1990s amid increasing strategic competition with China in a major boost to the country’s defense capabilities.

Tension between them flared last year over a long-disputed section of their border in the mountainous Ladakh area. India is also increasingly suspicious of Beijing’s efforts to heighten its influence in the Indian Ocean.

Talks between Indian and Chinese army commanders to disengage troops from key areas along their border ended in a stalemate earlier this month, failing to ease a 17-month standoff that has sometimes led to deadly clashes. India and China fought a bloody war in 1962.



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Friedman, Dodgers facing decisions on FAs, Bauer this winter

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Andrew Friedman is headed into an offseason filled with crucial decisions involving the Los Angeles Dodgers’ big-name free agents, a rebuild of the starting rotation and Trevor Bauer’s future with the team.

As always, Friedman is guided by the ultimate goal of the monied Dodgers, saying, “The number one objective is to put ourselves in the best position to win in 2022.”

After coming within two wins of reaching the World Series for the fourth time in five years, the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations defined the team’s postseason as “our struggle to consistently score runs.”

“We needed someone to step up and pull an Eddie Rosario,” Friedman said, referring to the Atlanta Braves left fielder who was named MVP of the NL Championship Series.

“After we made the Trea Turner deal, in my opinion, one through eight, it was the deepest and best lineup I’ve been around. But it didn’t quite play like that over those two months. It was a little bumpier than I would’ve expected,” he said Wednesday. “Figuring out the why of that is the hard part.”

The turbulence began well before the postseason.

Reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Bauer went on paid administrative leave in early July under MLB’s joint domestic violence and sexual assault policy. MLB is conducting its own investigation and has yet to announce any findings. Bauer, through his representatives, has denied any wrongdoing.

Asked if Bauer will pitch for the team again, Friedman said they remain in the same position as before.

“It’s being handled by the league office,” he said. “Whatever they decide, we’ll have to figure out from there what makes the most sense for us.”

If MLB suspends Bauer, it could create a domino effect on the team’s payroll plans.

“The extent of it, I don’t know yet,” Friedman said.

The Dodgers began the season with eight starters and tried to get through the postseason with just Walker Buehler, Max Scherzer and 20-game winner Julio Urías. The lack of depth was exposed by the team’s decisions to use Scherzer in relief in Game 5 of the NL Division Series and Urías out of the bullpen in Game 2 of the NLCS that left both pitchers tired in their later starts.

“We’re got a really good group of young starting pitchers coming,” Friedman said, citing Mitch White, Andre Jackson, Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot and Landon Knack. “Gives us a really strong foundation of depth.”

Friedman and the front office have decisions to make on such key veterans as Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager, Kenley Jansen and Chris Taylor, who will become free agents after the World Series.

“We’ll do everything we can to keep as many of this group together,” Friedman said, “but not standing in the way of a great opportunity and I’m sure there will be for different people.”

Kershaw, the 33-year-old three-time Cy Young Award winner, reinjured his left arm not long after returning from over a two-month absence for the same issue and wasn’t available to pitch in the postseason.

“He just wants to feel good again and get to the point where he’s healthy,” Friedman said.

Kershaw has spent his entire 14-year career in Los Angeles, where he’s been the longtime face of the franchise.

“There’s something nostalgic and great about Kersh playing for one team and winning another championship and having a parade,” Friedman said.

Offseason moves would be impacted if no agreement on a collective bargaining agreement is reached before the current deal expires Dec. 1.

“We need to be prepared accordingly,” Friedman said.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports





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Senators have heated exchanges with AG Garland over DOJ school board memo

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Senators have heated exchanges with AG Garland over DOJ school board memo



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Drinking Coffee Has Some Super Benefits—Here Are 4 Health Perks of Your Morning Cup

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Drinking Coffee Has Some Super Benefits—Here Are 4 Health Perks of Your Morning Cup



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Nor'easter has New England bracing for floods, power outages

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Nor'easter has New England bracing for floods, power outages



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Trump Jr. Gets A Reality Check After Comparing U.S. To Communist Czechoslovakia

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Donald Trump Jr. was ridiculed this week after he likened shortages of certain products in the U.S. under President Joe Biden to living in communist Czechoslovakia in the 1980s.

Trump Jr. made the remarks during conversation Saturday on Newsmax with Sebastian Gorka, a right-wing media personality and former aide to Donald Trump.

Gorka asked Trump Jr. to discuss the “empty shelves” and backlog of cargo ships in California due to supply-chain issues, given his “perspective” as someone who, “as a child, traveled behind the Iron Curtain and saw real socialism.”

“When conservatives say, ‘They’re socialists. The Democrats have gone radical,’ this isn’t an exaggeration, is it? You’ve seen it, Don,” Gorka added.

Trump Jr.’s mother, Ivana Trump, grew up in Czechoslovakia before moving first to Canada and then the U.S. in the 1970s. He told Gorka his Czech grandparents wanted him to understand the “freedoms and blessings we have here” in the U.S.

“So I traveled with them there every summer, you know, six, eight weeks. I’ve waited in those bread lines,” said Trump Jr., whose father was estimated to be worth more than $1 billion in the 1980s. “We’re starting to see the empty shelves that I experienced then in communist Czechoslovakia in the ’80s in America right now.”

Grocery stores in the U.S. are having problems stocking certain products due to the coronavirus pandemic, a worker shortage and shipping congestion at the Port of Los Angeles.

Some social media users and conservative media personalities have shown images of empty shelves to attack Biden over the supply-chain issues. However, some of these images have turned out to be photos from years ago.

Trump Jr. was slammed on social media for the absurd comparison. A number of people also pointed out that last year, at the peak of the pandemic during the Trump administration, shelves in stores across the country were stripped bare of certain essentials and people lined up for miles in their cars or for blocks on foot to get aid from food banks.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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How a pro-Trump “command center” at a hotel near the White House fueled January 6 efforts to block election certification

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How a pro-Trump “command center” at a hotel near the White House fueled January 6 efforts to block election certification



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