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YARNELL, Ariz. (AP) - Gusty, hot winds blew an Arizona blaze out of control Sunday in a forest northwest of Phoenix, overtaking and killing 19 members of an elite fire crew in the deadliest wildfire involving firefighters in the U.S. for at least 30 years.

   The "hotshot" firefighters were forced to deploy their fire shelters - tent-like structures meant to shield firefighters from flames and heat - when they were caught near the central Arizona town of Yarnell, state forestry spokesman Art Morrison told The Associated Press.

   The flames lit up the night sky in the forest above the town, and smoke from the blaze could be smelled for miles.

   The fire started Friday and spread to 2,000 acres on Sunday amid triple-digit temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions. Officials ordered the evacuations of 50 homes in several communities, and later Sunday afternoon, the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office expanded the order to include more residents in Yarnell, a town of about 700 residents about 85 miles northwest of Phoenix.

   Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo said that the 19 firefighters were a part of the city's fire department. The crew killed in the blaze had worked other wildfires in recent weeks in New Mexico and Arizona.  

   Fraijo said in a news conference that the department is grieving the loss of so many of its members.

   "By the time they got there, it was moving very quickly," he said.

   He added that the firefighters had to deploy the emergency shelters when "something drastic" occurred.

   "One of the last fail safe methods that a firefighter can do under those conditions is literally to dig as much as they can down and cover themselves with a protective - kinda looks like a foil type- fire-resistant material - with the desire, the hope at least, is that the fire will burn over the top of them and they can survive it," Fraijo said.

   "Under certain conditions there's usually only sometimes a 50 percent chance that they survive," he said. "It's an extreme measure that's taken under the absolute worst conditions."

   The National Fire Protection Association had previously listed the deadliest wildland fire involving firefighters as the 1994 Storm King Fire near Glenwood Springs, Colo., which killed 14 firefighters who were overtaken by a sudden explosion of flames.

   Morrison said several homes in the community of Glenisle burned on Sunday. He said no other injuries or deaths have been reported from that area.

   About 200 firefighters are fighting the wildfire, which has also forced the closure of parts of state Route 89. An additional 130 firefighters and more water- and retardant-dropping helicopters and aircraft are on their way.

   Federal help was also being called into to fight the fire, Arizona State Forestry Division spokesman Mike Reichling said.

   Prescott, which is more than 30 miles northeast of Yarnell, is one of the only cities in the United States that has a hot shot fire crew, Fraijo said. The unit was established in 2002, and the city also has 75 suppression team members.

   The Red Cross has opened a shelter at Yavapai College in Prescott, the sheriff's office said.

   U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, whose district includes Yarnell, shot off a series of tweets Sunday night sending his condolences to those affected. He said his office will remain in contact with emergency responders and would offer help to those who needed it.

   Other high profile Arizonans expressed their shock on Twitter, including former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who called it "absolutely devastating news." U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., tweeted that he was "sick with the news."

   

 
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Matt Carpenter and Carlos Beltran combined for six hits, each with a home run and three RBIs, and Allen Craig added a solo home run. The rest of the lineup did not fare as well, leading to another series loss for St. Louis.

Jed Lowrie and Josh Donaldson homered and Tommy Milone overcame a rocky start to win for the first time in nearly four weeks as the Oakland Athletics held on to beat the Cardinals 7-5 on Sunday.

"In the beginning he was leaving a lot of balls up and we were hitting them," Beltran said of Milone. "After that he started hitting the corners and he was using his change-up better. And they continued to score. Good pitchers find a way to regroup and pitch a good game. He did that."

Jake Westbrook (4-3) suffered his first poor outing since coming off the disabled list and gave up his second home run of the season as the Cardinals lost for the sixth time in eight games, their worst stretch of the season.

"I just didn't have it. It was a bad game," Westbrook said. "We have to get back to making pitches that get us out of jams, to limit the damage. We have to get back to where we were winning series."

The Cardinals are 1-3-1 in their past five series after going 11-0-2 in their previous 13.

"We're playing good," Beltran said. "We're in a good division. It's not going to be easy. Baseball is pitching and we have a good staff."

St. Louis continues to lead the NL in hitting and rank third in pitching. Manager Mike Matheny is hardly worried at this point, despite the recent lack of success.

"It comes down to our starting pitchers have been so good all season long and they deserve that once in a while the offense picking them up," he said. "We set a very high bar early and I hope these still believe in that. Jake is as good as anybody when he's on. If he gets his sinker where he wants, there's not a lineup around who will do a lot against him."

The slugfest in the series finale was in stark contrast to the first two games when starting pitchers Bartolo Colon of the A's and Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals put together dominant performances.

Oakland had seven extra-base hits - five off Westbrook. Westbrook (4-3) lasted just four innings and gave up six runs and 10 hits overall.

St. Louis, which began the day one game behind Pittsburgh in the NL Central, took two early leads but couldn't make them hold up.

NOTES: Cardinals 1B Matt Adams was a late scratch due to food poisoning. His replacement, Ty Wiggington, went 0 for 3. Adams struck out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. ... Cardinals RHP Shelby Miller threw an extended bullpen before the game. Miller threw 61 pitches in his previous start on Friday. ... RHP Lance Lynn (10-3) takes the mound for the Cardinals in their first-ever visit to Anaheim to play the Angels.

Sunday, 30 June 2013 21:21
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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -- Brazil won a heated matchup of past and present soccer powers, boosting its confidence as it prepares to host next year's World Cup.

Fred scored two goals, Neymar added another and Brazil defeated world champion Spain 3-0 in the Confederations Cup final on Sunday night as protesters clashed with riot police outside Maracana Stadium.

Brazil, a five-time world champion, beat the reigning world and European champion and ended Spain's 29-game, three-year winning streak in competitive matches.

"We beat the world champions today, but we know that the tournament that we will be playing next year will be a lot more difficult," Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. "Now we have more confidence. That's what we needed."

Fred put Brazil ahead in the second minute, Neymar doubled the lead in the 44th with his fourth goal of the tournament and Fred added his fifth in the 47th.

Brazil, which won its third straight Confederations Cup, has not lost a competitive home match since 1975.

Spain, which had not lost a competitive game since its 2010 World Cup opener against Switzerland, had a miserable night. Sergio Ramos sent a penalty kick wide in the 55th and defender Gerard Pique was ejected by Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers with a straight red card for fouling Neymar in the 68th.

"They were superior on every way," Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque said. "They scored early. This is not an excuse but they had pressure on us all the time."

Eliminated in the quarterfinals of the last two World Cups, the Selecao entered the tournament having not played a competitive match since the 2011 Copa America, Brazil had slipped to 22nd in the FIFA rankings, between Ghana and Mali.

Spain, ranked first for the past 20 months, is the most accomplished national team of the 21st century, winning its first World Cup in 2010 between titles in the 2008 and 2012 European Championships.

But in the stadium that will host the World Cup final on July 14 next year, Brazil dominated La Furia Roja.

"The champion is back," chanted the crowd of more than 73,000 people at the renovated Maracana.

It also didn't take long before the fans - in a sea of yellow jerseys - started teasing the Spaniards, chanting "Wanna play, wanna play!? Brazil will teach you."

Spain had been unbeaten in 26 matches overall, including friendlies, since a 1-0 loss to England in London in 2011 and had outscored opponents 69-11 in competitive matches since the loss to Switzerland in South Africa.

But Spain had not played Brazil since a 1999 exhibition, and they hadn't met in a competitive match since the Selecao's 1-0 win in the first round of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

Fred opened the scoring after a cross into the area by Hulk in the second minute. The ball bounced off Neymar near the far post and Fred, who had fallen while trying to reach for the cross, shot with his right foot while still on the ground.

Brazil added to the lead after Neymar exchanged passes with Oscar and then sent a powerful left-footed shot over goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

Fred got the final goal from just inside the area, sending a low shot to the far corner. Hulk started the move with a pass to Neymar, but the striker let it go as Fred came running behind him.

Spain was awarded the penalty kick after Marcelo fouled Jesus Navas inside the area. Ramos, who skied a penalty kick for Real Madrid against Bayern Munich in the 2012 Champions League semifinals, sent this one wide.

Spain's best chance before the penalty came with Pedro Rodriguez in the 41st, when he entered the area clear from defenders on a breakaway. His low shot beat goalkeeper Julio Cesar, but David Luiz came rushing in and slid in front of the goal line just in time to deflect the ball over the crossbar.

There were protests outside the stadium during the match, with police using rubber bullets and tear gas to keep demonstrators from getting too close. A wave of anti-government protests has swept across Brazil in recent weeks, and many affected the Confederations Cup host cities as demonstrators complained of the costs of hosting the World Cup.

On the field, it was a heated match from the start, with players from both teams pushing and shoving each other a few times. Even the substitutes got into a shouting match.

Sunday, 30 June 2013 21:19
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CAIRO (AP) — Thousands of Egyptians demanding the ouster of Egypt's Islamist president are gathering at Cairo's central Tahrir Square at the start of a day of massive, nationwide protests many fear could turn deadly.

Sunday marks the first anniversary of President's Mohammed Morsi's assumption of power as Egypt's first freely elected leader.

Thousands of Morsi's supporters have staged a sit-in since Friday in an eastern Cairo district not far from the presidential palace, the focus of protests later on Sunday to demand his ouster.

The youth group leading the campaign to force Morsi out said it had collected more than 22 million signatures from Egyptians who want the president to go. It was not possible to verify the claim.

Morsi's supporters have questioned the authenticity and validity of the signatures.

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