WETMORE, Colo. -- A wildfire that had forced more than 80 people to flee their homes continued growing Saturday and more homeowners were put on alert for possible evacuations. Saturday's weather forecast provided little hope of relief from temperatures in the 90s, gusty wind and dry storms packed with lightning. As of Friday, 15 large wildfires were burning across nearly 700,000 acres in the West, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
WASHINGTON -- The National Zoo's giant panda Mei Xiang gave birth to a single cub early Saturday. The cub was born at 3:41 a.m. It is the first for the zoo's current pair of the endangered bears. Five other panda cubs have been born at the National Zoo, but none survived. It was too early to determine the gender and exact weight of the cub.
The Congressional Research Service says several states could run into funding problems for a government program providing health insurance for poor children. Depending on whether demand is low or high, six to 14 states will use up their share of federal money for the State Children's Health Insurance Program during the 2006 budget year and 12 to 20 during 2007.
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The first partial government shutdown in Minnesota history ended early Saturday as Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed a temporary spending plan and lawmakers agreed on the outline of a two-year budget. The legislature overwhelmingly approved the "lights on" measure to send 8,900 furloughed state employees back to their jobs by restoring funding until Thursday. Lawmakers now have until Wednesday night to hash out the final details of the two-year budget or risk another shutdown.
SPARTA, Tenn. -- Authorities said there was no evidence that racism was behind seven arson fires that inflicted heavy damage on two black churches -- but they were not ruling anything out. The fires erupted in the middle of the night and also burned five vacant houses Friday. No one was injured. The FBI was called in because federal law covers church arson, authorities said.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- The seven astronauts who will make the first space shuttle flight since the Columbia disaster arrived early at the launch site Saturday, beating Hurricane Dennis by a day. The astronauts were supposed to fly in from Houston today, the same day as the start of the countdown, but the trip was moved up because of the hurricane.
-- From wire reports