Nation briefs 6/16/06

Friday, June 16, 2006

Gates to leave day-to-day operations at Microsoft

REDMOND, Wash. -- Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates announced Thursday that he will transition from day-to-day responsibilities at the company he co-founded to concentrate on the charitable work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Gates will continue on as the company's chairman after transferring his duties over a two-year period. Microsoft's Chief Technical Officer Ray Ozzie will immediately assume Gate's title as chief software architect and begin working side by side with Gates on overseeing all software technical design.

Light earthquake shakes Northern California

SAN MARTIN, Calif. -- A magnitude 4.7 earthquake struck the south San Francisco Bay area early Thursday, but there were no reports of injuries or damage, authorities said. The quake struck at 5:24 a.m. PDT about 5 miles east of San Martin, a town of 4,200 people in a rural part of southern Santa Clara County, and was followed by seven smaller aftershocks, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake could be felt in San Francisco, about 70 miles north of the epicenter. No one was hurt and there were no reports of damage, according to the Santa Clara County sheriff's department and police in Gilroy, nearly 10 miles from where the quake struck.

Wildfires chase people from 1,100 homes

DENVER -- Wind-blown wildfires threatened more than 1,100 homes in Colorado and Arizona, where drought conditions and gusting winds created ideal conditions for spreading the flames. In Arizona, a roaring forest fire forced the evacuation of about 1,000 homes on the west side of Flagstaff, a city of 60,000 people nestled in a thick pine forest. The blaze was contained Thursday morning at 150 acres, but gusting winds and a fear of flare-ups was likely to keep residents out of their homes though Friday, said Coconino County Sheriff's spokesman Gerry Blair. Officials initially reported 200 homes evacuated, but Blair said the count was actually about 1,000. In southern Colorado, a wildfire sparked by a downed powerline nearly tripled to 700 acres overnight near Westcliffe, where about 100 people had evacuated homes Wednesday.

-- From wire reports

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