Temperatures were expected to retreat into the mid-80s F. Sunday in southern California, bringing at least some relief to millions of people weary from an almost week-long heat wave. Farther north, however, lightning strikes were blamed for starting more than 60 wildfires in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest alone and almost 400 in the region stretching from Monterey County to the Oregon line.

Advocates for homosexual rights petitioned the California Supreme Court to eliminate from the November ballot a citizens' initiative that would reinstitute a ban on same-sex marriages. Equity California and the National Center for Lesbian Rights argued that the impact of the proposed amendment to the state constitution wasn't made clear to millions of voters who signed petitions qualifying it for the ballot. The petition drive was conducted before the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex unions.

Early cleanup efforts were being reported along rivers in the Midwest over the weekend, with the skies turning clear and levees downstream holding against cresting water levels. But authorities estimated up to 5 million acres of prime cropland had been submerged by the flooding Mississippi and its tributaries, and that property damage would be in the billions of dollars. Above, Illinois deputy animal warden Jenny Benjamin holds a fawn that had been rescued from a flooded area.

Almost half the goal of admitting Iraqi refugees to the US has been met, the State Department said Saturday in response to criticism from senators that the Bush administration isn't doing enough to help those who fled the troubled country. A spokesman said more than 5,800 Iraqis have been admitted in the current fiscal year and enough others have been "conditionally approved" to meet the target of 12,000 by Sept. 30, the end of the budget year.

Forty pounds lighter than when he began, retired pro football star George Martin arrived in San Diego Saturday, completing a coast-to-coast walk to raise funds for ill first-responders to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The trek by Martin (above), now a financial services company executive, generated $2 million in donations.

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