USA

Although about 1,400 California wildfires have been contained, more than 300 still burned out of control Sunday morning. A fire in Santa Barbara County is now the top priority for the state, where Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says firefighters are stretched thin and exhausted from battling blazes that have burned more than 800 square miles and destroyed at least 69 homes during the past two weeks.

A secret US operation to remove the last remnants of Saddam Hussein's Iraqi nuclear program was completed Saturday, a senior US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press. In a deal that culminated more than a year of diplomatic and military initiatives, the Iraqi government sold 550 metric tons of yellowcake, the seed material for higher-grade nuclear enrichment, to Canadian uranium producer, Cameco Corp., for use in energy-producing reactors.

Jones Beach on Long Island, N.Y., re-opened Sunday after authorities collected stray, unexploded fireworks that washed ashore after a Fourth of July show. Meanwhile, officials in northern Iowa kept trying to determine why fireworks malfunctioned in Charles City Friday night, sending a large fireball into a crowd of spectators and injuring 37 people, most of whom were treated for minor injuries.

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During the US swimming trials in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, Michael Phelps, who won six swimming gold medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics, locked up an opportunity to try for a record eight Olympic golds in Beijing next month. Mark Spitz won seven swimming golds at the 1972 Munich Games.

The Food and Drug Administration said Saturday it has expanded its search beyond tomatoes to cilantro and peppers used in making salsa in looking for the possible causes of a salmonella outbreak. There have been 943 reported cases of the illness nationwide since mid-April.

Former Sen. Jesse Helms, an unyielding champion of the conservative movement who spent three decades in Congress, died Friday in Raleigh, N.C. His defiance of the establishment helped transform the South into a Republican stronghold.

Kent Couch, a Bend, Ore., gas station owner, flew about 235 miles in a lawn chair rigged with more than 150 giant party balloons before touching down safely Saturday in a field in Idaho. Couch returned to earth by gradually popping the balloons using a BB gun.

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