By Steve Gorman LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A 2,400-ton chunk of granite broke loose last week from the towering Half Dome formation in Yosemite National Park, altering one of North America's most popular rock-climbing routes, but no one was hurt and casual visitors will probably never notice. The fallen slab, estimated to have measured about 800 cubic meters in volume, is believed to have crumbled from the middle the northwest face of Half Dome some time very late on July 2 or early July 3, park spokeswoman Jodi Bailey said on Wednesday. Word has it a gap from the missing slab was discovered a day or two later by a group of mountaineers making their way up the northwest face of the iconic 4,700-foot-tall (1,432-meter) granite dome.
MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (AP) — A collision between a small plane and an F-16 fighter jet that killed a father and son was the second fatal tragedy to strike their family in just four days, a relative told The Associated Press.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts was fired on Wednesday following criticism of his handling of rioting over the death of a black man from an injury in police custody and a skyrocketing homicide rate. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said the focus on Batts and the leadership of the 2,500-officer force had become a distraction in fighting resurgent crime and was hurting her goal of attracting families to the city. Batts' firing came after three people were shot dead overnight and another was killed on Wednesday, violence cited by the mayor at her news conference.
The Obama administration was criticized by lawmakers on Wednesday over U.S. Army plans to cut nearly 60,000 soldiers and civilian personnel, warning the reductions were risky for U.S. forces at a time of conflict in the Middle East and rising tensions with Russia. Senator John McCain, the Republican head of the Armed Services Committee, called the plan to cut 40,000 soldiers and 17,000 civilian personnel "another dangerous consequence of budget-driven strategy" pursued by President Barack Obama. The cuts would reduce the active-duty Army from about 490,000 soldiers to about 450,000, its smallest number since before the United States entered World War Two.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Suspended Subway pitchman Jared Fogle's foundation, which encourages children to avoid the same obesity he experienced in college, faces an uncertain future following a raid at his home two months after the group's then-executive director was arrested on child pornography charges.
Actor Tom Selleck is accused by a California agency of unlawfully taking water from a public hydrant to supply his ranch as the state grapples with a devastating drought, court papers showed on Wednesday. The Calleguas Municipal Water District submitted a complaint on Monday in Ventura County Superior Court against the star of 1980s television series "Magnum, P.I." and police show "Blue Bloods," which airs on CBS. The complaint comes as California deals with a devastating four-year drought that has damaged the state's multi-billion dollar agriculture industry.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Microsoft is cutting 7,800 jobs and writing off $7.6 billion in connection with its purchase of Nokia's phone business, as the giant software maker tries to narrow its focus and pull back from a series of ill-fated forays onto rival tech companies' turf.
By Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Air Force still aims to award a long-awaited contract for a new long-range strike bomber in August, but the decision could slip into September, Air Force Secretary Deborah James said Wednesday, adding it was crucial to "do it right." Northrop Grumman Corp, maker of the B-2 bomber, is competing against team made up of Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corp for a contract that could be worth $50 billion to $80 billion to the winning bidder. "We don't want to drag our feet but we don't want to rush because if you rush, you might not get it right." The two teams are competing to build 80 to 100 new bombers for the Air Force at cost of no more than $550 million per aircraft, one of few new large-scale aircraft programs to kick off in recent years.
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Obama administration moved Wednesday to significantly expand a requirement for utilities to install inexpensive safety valves on gas lines across the U.S. after deadly fires and explosions going back decades that could have been avoided.
The City of Los Angeles has seen a spike in crime in nearly every major category for the first half of 2015, reversing the declining trend of the last dozen years, after California recently reduced penalties for low-level and non-violent offenses, officials said on Wednesday. Mayor Eric Garcetti and Police Chief Charlie Beck said they were troubled by increases in major crime in categories other than homicide, including robbery, rape, burglary and car theft. Beck told a news conference that a ballot measure approved by voters last year to reduce criminal penalties throughout California for a wide class of non-violent crimes, including drug possession and shoplifting, had contributed to increased crime in the city.