Posted Tuesday, June 26, 2012 --- 7:00 a.m.
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today.
1. TROPICAL WEATHER
UPDATE: Floods cut part of I-10 as Debby storms over Fla.
ST. GEORGE ISLAND, Fla. (AP) -- Tropical Storm Debby continues to take its toll on northern Florida and the Panhandle with parts of Interstate 10 closed due to flooding.
The Florida Highway Patrol is warning motorists to use extreme caution on other parts of the main interstate highway in the area where more wind and rain is forecast today.
2. WESTERN WILDFIRES
Firefighters battling wildfires struggling in record heat
MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) -- Searing, record-setting heat in the interior West is making it harder for firefighters to battling wildfires in Colorado, Utah and other Rocky Mountain states.
Nearly a week of 100-plus degree days and low humidity in Colorado is sapping moisture from timber and grass, creating a devastating formula for volatile wildfires across the state.
Much of Colorado, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming are under a red flag warning, meaning conditions are hot, dry and ripe for fires. And the scorching heat in the region doesn't appear to be letting up soon.
In northern Colorado, a fire has scorched more than 130 square miles and is just 55 percent contained. An Alaska wildfire between Mount McKinley and town of Anderson grew to more than 30 square miles Monday. But firefighters have a nearly 70 square miles near Ruidoso, N.M., 90 percent contained.
3. EUROPE-FINANCIAL CRISIS
European officials release grand vision for euro
BRUSSELS (AP) -- A top EU official is calling for countries that use the euro to grant a European authority the power to demand changes to their national budgets as part of a grand vision to save the currency.
Other ideas in the plan include issuing medium-term debt backed by all countries and a banking union with a single authority that would insure banking deposits and have the power to recapitalize banks directly.
The document, to be debated at a summit of EU leaders Thursday and Friday, was published today on the European Council website.
It was drawn up by the European Council president, the European Commission president, the eurogroup head and the European Central Bank president.
NEW: Iraq backs off on forcing 44 media outlets closed
BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraqi authorities have suspended plans to close 44 media operations in the country including the BBC and Voice of America. The reversal comes after an outcry by press freedom advocates.
Ali Nasir, the deputy director of the Communications and Media Commission that regulates the news media, says the agency will give the news organizations an unspecified amount of time to obtain licenses and pay outstanding fees.
The commission denied its previous order to close the agencies, most of them Iraqi, represents a crackdown on a free press.
Nasir said Tuesday that five organizations including the BBC and U.S.-funded Radio Sawa are working with the CMC to settle licensing problems.
Iraqi press watchdog Journalistic Freedoms Observatory welcomed the reprieve but said licensing is still too difficult and fees are too high.
NEW: 100 missing: Ugandan village digs through mudslide
BUDUDA, Uganda (AP) -- Villagers say that some 100 people -- mostly children -- are missing after a massive mudslide destroyed three villages in eastern Uganda.
Today, rescue workers and villagers dug by hand through the layers of silt. Many said the search was hopeless because the simple hand tools were incapable of finding the dead.
Musa Eweru, an official with the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, said the government was hiring bulldozers to move the quickly hardening mud. The landslides were triggered Monday afternoon by heavy rain.
Officials said they were not yet ready to give a death toll. But residents like Alice Bunyolo said close to 100 people, mostly children, were missing. Bunyolo said her brother lost a wife and two children.
Both Koreas suffering worst drought in a century
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- North Korea has dispatched soldiers to water parched fields and South Korean officials are scrambling to protect endangered species as the worst dry spell in a century grips the Korean peninsula.
Weather officials in Pyongyang say parts of North Korea are experiencing the most severe drought since record keeping began nearly 105 years ago.
The protracted drought is heightening concerns about North Korea's ability to feed its people. The United Nations says two-thirds of the country's 24 million people face chronic food shortages.
AP journalists visiting drought-hit areas in North Korea have seen female soldiers with yellow towels tied around their heads carrying buckets to help water the fields.
South Korean officials also report that areas have seen the worst drought in more than a century.
7. UN-EL NINO
UN sees `slight chance' of El Nino weather return
GENEVA (AP) -- The U.N. weather agency says the weather phenomenon known as El Nino that brings above normal rainfall could develop between July and September.
The World Meteorological Organization says it is uncertain how strong any such conditions might be. Past El Ninos have been associated with drought in Australia, Indonesia and northeastern parts of South America, and with heavy rainfall in Ecuador and northern Peru.
A WMO spokeswoman says her agency sees a "slight chance" for the return of El Nino conditions, which are characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific.
Loser in Egypt presidential vote leaves country
CAIRO (AP) -- A Cairo airport official says Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister who was defeated by an Islamist in the race for Egypt's new president has left the country for the United Arab Emirates.
The official says Ahmed Shafiq flew out of Egypt at dawn today, just hours after the country's prosecutor general opened an investigation into allegations that he wasted public funds during his eight-year-term as a civil aviation minister under Mubarak.
The official says Shafiq was accompanied by his three daughters and grandchildren. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
Muslim Brotherhood's candidate Mohammed Morsi narrowly defeated Shafiq in the presidential election runoff that deeply polarized the nation.
Activists say Syrian rebels are clashing with Assad's elite troops near capital
BEIRUT (AP) -- Activists are reporting heavy clashes between Syrian rebels and the elite Republican Guard in two suburbs of the capital Damascus.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the clashes erupted today in the suburbs of Qudsaya and Hammah. It says that several people have been reported killed but gave no figures.
The Republican Guard's main job is to protect the capital, the seat of President Bashar Assad's power. Although Damascus is under the firm control of Assad's forces, clashes erupt regularly in the suburbs between troops and rebels.
Today's clashes were reported near the housing compounds and bases of the Republican Guard.
10. NEWS CORP-SPLIT
NEW: Report: News Corp. considers splitting into 2 cos.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is reportedly considering splitting its publishing and entertainment businesses into two companies.
The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter it did not name, says a split would put the 20th Century Fox film business, the Fox TV networks into a separate company from News Corp.'s newspaper and book publishing businesses.
The Journal reports that a final decision has not yet been made. The newspaper is owned by News Corp.
The newspaper says Murdoch has long opposed the idea but has warmed to it. His family controls about 40 percent of the company.
The discussions come as the company deals with an investigation into alleged phone-hacking by its U.K. newspapers.
A call to News Corp. representatives was not immediately returned.
Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.