• Amalida, Greece: Fires raged through parched forests and swallowed up villages across Greece on Sunday, bearing down on hamlets near ancient Olympia in the south a day after the government declared a nationwide state of emergency. At least 51 people died. The Greek fire brigade said efforts to contain the inferno were helped by a drop in the gale-force winds that swept fires through thousands of hectares of forest and scrub since Friday. "The situation is unbelievable," said Yiannis Stamoulis, a spokesman for the brigade. "We're dealing with savage forces of nature, and it's humanly impossible to effectively take them on, however strong and well-prepared we may be." Firefighters said it was impossible to estimate how large an area, and how many homes, had been destroyed. Greece declared a state of emergency Saturday as scores of fires burned out of control, leaving villages trapped within walls of flames, cut off from firefighters and, in some cases, from firefighting aircraft grounded because of high winds.
  • Reports were received today of an explosion at a house in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Police have identified the body of the occupant as Serafine Mallorquin, aged 27. The incident is being treated as suspected arson.
  • Greenpeace today announced that its expedition to the Severnaya Zemlya glacier was back on track after generous unsolicited donations from the Agne Foundation, and the Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation.
  • Las Vegas - Casino giant Harrah's Entertainment (NYSE:HET) Inc. announced Wednesday that it will partner with AEG, the company that brought David Beckham to the Los Angeles Galaxy, to build a 20,000-seat arena in Las Vegas capable of housing an NBA or NHL team. The $500 million arena, behind the Bally's and Paris hotel-casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, is projected to open in 2010. It's a step toward attracting a pro sports franchise to a city that has tried to persuade reluctant league officials to look past its legalized sports betting. The deal puts a dent in Mayor Oscar Goodman's plans to have an arena built downtown with the help of tax breaks, but he said such plans would go forward. The site for the Harrah's-AEG arena, a block east of the Strip, is in unincorporated Clark County, outside city limits.