Involvement in unpopular wars and an improving economy have led to a more than one-third drop in black military recruits, according to the Associated Press. The plunge began at the start of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Data show that increasing job prospects and family pressure to not enlist have played largely in the drop.

Days away from becoming the youngest and first black person to fly solo around the Earth, 23-year-old Barrington Irving rested in Houston on Saturday in preparation to complete his mission Wednesday when he lands in Miami. Irving built his plane from $300,000 in donated parts.

A wildfire in Alaska's Kenai Peninsula spread to over 50,000 acres and 70 structures this weekend. Roughly 250 firefighters from Alaska, other US states, and Canada have arrived to help stop the fire, which officials believe was started Tuesday by an errant spark from a power tool.

Amid controversy surrounding a vote to rescind tribal membership for the descendants of its slaves, the Cherokee Nation reelected Chad Smith to a third term as chief on Saturday. The tribe's earlier vote, which removed membership for about 2,800 individuals, is being challenged in both tribal and US federal courts.

Seven Atlantis astronauts reunited with family in Houston on Saturday following a two-week mission. Sunita Williams returned with the crew after spending more than six months at the International Space Station, where she set records for the longest single spaceflight by a woman at 195 days, and for most time spacewalking by a woman. Above, space shuttle commander Rick Sturckow hugs his children at the welcoming ceremony.

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