USA

About 400,000 homeowners threatened with foreclosures could be rescued by legislation passed Saturday in a rare weekend Senate session. The bill paves the way for refinancing with more affordable loans from ailing lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The House previously passed the bill, which President Bush intends to sign quickly.

A fast-spreading wildfire near Yosemite National Park led California officials to shut off power to the park Saturday. The fire, which straddles a steep canyon on the western side of the park, was difficult to fight and quickly grew to 25 square miles, prompting most of the residents of the town of Midpines to evacuate the area.

Rip currents off Long Island and New York City beaches are suspected in the drowning of four swimmers and the disappearance of three others during a two-day period, police said Saturday. A strong storm system earlier in the week has led to high waves and strong currents.

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Minneapolis-St. Paul leads the nation in volunteerism, according to data compiled by the Corporation for National and Community Service. Among Twin City residents 16 and older, 39.3 percent perform volunteer service of some kind. Salt Lake City ranks second with 37.2 percent participation.

The Army formally apologized Saturday to 28 black soldiers wrongfully convicted of rioting and lynching an Italian prisoner of war in Seattle in 1944. All but two of the men have died, but their dishonorable discharges were changed to honorable discharges and they or their survivors were awarded pay lost while jailed.

The Navajo tribe has approved a ban on cigarettes and chewing tobacco on its reservation, which includes land in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Only tobacco used in traditional ceremonies is allowed.

An Atlanta family has made a life-changing decision to

New York high schools are adding jump-roping as an interscholastic sport, officials said of their decision to introduce double-dutch team competition next spring. The sport, which traces its origins to Dutch settlers and uses two ropes twirled eggbeater style (below), will officially be coed but is expected to mostly attract girls.

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