SAN BRUNO, Calif.
Explosion, then a raging fire strikes homes
Homes were destroyed Thursday evening as a massive fire roared through a mostly residential neighborhood in a south San Francisco suburb. The fire in San Bruno was burning in a hillside area a few miles from San Francisco International Airport, sparking speculation that it was sparked by a plane crash. But a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said the agency had no record of a crash. An airport spokesman also said there was no report of a plane down. Television showed at least a dozen homes destroyed, with flames reaching as high as 60 feet. Witnesses say a loud explosion came just before the flames erupted.
Jailed American hiker to be freed
Iran said Thursday it will free Sarah Shourd, one of three Americans jailed for more than 13 months, as an act of clemency to mark the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Iran says the three illegally crossed the border from Iraq's northern Kurdish region and had threatened to put them on trial for spying. Their families say they were hiking and crossed the border accidentally. The government said the release will be Saturday at 9 a.m. There was no word on the fate of the other two Americans, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, both 27.
Capitol Hill tax debts in millions
Capitol Hill employees owed $9.3 million in overdue taxes at the end of last year, a sliver of the $1 billion owed by federal workers nationwide but one with potential political ramifications for members of Congress. Internal Revenue Service data do not identify delinquent taxpayers and do not indicate if members of Congress are among the scofflaws. It shows 638 employees, or about 4 percent, of the 18,000 Hill workers owe money, slightly higher than the 3 percent delinquency rate among all returns.
Court strikes city immigration law
A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that Hazleton, Pa., may not enforce its crackdown on illegal immigrants, dealing another blow to 4-year-old regulations that inspired similar measures around the country. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said that Hazleton's Illegal Immigration Relief Act usurped the federal government's exclusive power to regulate immigration. The city had sought to fine landlords who rent to undocumented immigrants and deny business permits to companies that give them jobs.
Hermosa Beach, Calif.: A federal appeals court has struck down this city's ban on tattoo parlors, saying the operations are protected by free speech rights.
SEATTLE: U.S. Web surfers are spending more time socializing on Facebook than searching with Google, say new data from researchers at comScore Inc