Firefighters gain upper hand on Ariz., Calif. fires

CAREFREE, Ariz. - Residents who fled a windblown wildfire began returning home as the blaze turned away from their upscale community near Phoenix, and firefighters also gained ground on a wildfire that burned homes in California.

The order was lifted late Thursday, and Arpaio said about 67 people had returned by Friday morning to the subdivision of some 120 million-dollar houses 20 miles northeast of Phoenix. The blaze has burned about 46,000 acres and forced the evacuation of 250 homes.

Second case of mad cow disease confirmed in U.S.

WASHINGTON - Exhaustive tests have confirmed mad cow disease in an animal apparently born in the United States, officials said Friday. It is the second case of the disease confirmed in this country, but Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns stressed there was no threat to public health.

The animal, a "downer" that could not walk, was not killed at a slaughterhouse but at a rendering plant for animals unfit for human consumption, officials said. Johanns would not say where the case turned up.

Parents plead for safe return of three missing N.J. boys

CAMDEN, N.J. - The families of three missing boys made a tearful plea for their safe return Friday, and authorities posted a $9,000 reward for information.

"All you guys, we love you. We want you back. We're not mad at you. Please come back. Please bring my baby back," said Jessica Pagan, a mother of one of the boys who disappeared Wednesday evening. ""If you have him, please let him go, please."

Jesstin Pagan, 5, Daniel Agosto, 6, and Anibal Cruz, 11, vanished from the yard next to Anibal's home. Officials have said they had no leads as to their whereabouts.

Judge halts trial of Air Force officer

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas - A military judge Friday halted the trial of an officer accused of raping an Air Force Academy cadet whose civilian rape counselor has refused to hand over records of their conversations.

But 1st Lt. Joseph Harding will still be tried on a charge of indecent assault against another Academy cadet, said the judge, Col. David Brash.

Brash's ruling came in response to a defense motion to stop the trial. Defense attorney David Sheldon said access to the counselor's records were necessary for a fair trial.

FEMA turns down request of relief for shellfish industry

BOSTON - Federal emergency officials have turned down the state's request for financial aid for its shellfish industry that is battling a red tide outbreak, saying the toxic algae bloom doesn't qualify as a major disaster.

Michael D. Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told Gov. Mitt Romney that the bloom has mostly had an economic impact and so doesn't warrant disaster aid from the agency.

Romney's spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, said Thursday the state would appeal. It has 30 days to do so.

Court: Woman who didn't chip in can share in lottery win

NEWARK, N.J. - Mary Marinelli didn't have to be in it to win it.

A state appeals court ruled Friday that the Toms River woman, who had been in a lottery ticket-buying pool that won nearly $33 million, should receive some of the jackpot even though she hadn't paid her $10 share before the drawing.

A three-judge panel upheld an award of $1 million to Marinelli, 51, who was one of a group of employees at the Pathmark supermarket in Brick Township that won a share of a $115 million jackpot in what was then called the Big Game. It has since changed its name to Mega Millions.

West Point gets first cadet from Afghanistan

WEST POINT, N.Y. - Like other new cadets reporting to West Point this summer, Shoaib Yosoufzai is bracing for the ice-water shock of a military education - the marching, the drilling, the cramming, the shouting. Less than four years after toppling the Taliban, the United States is providing a military education to the young Afghani under a program that takes in cadets from around the world.

House votes to block Medicaid, Medicare for Viagra

WASHINGTON - Impotence drugs such as Viagra would not be covered by Medicaid and Medicare, the government health programs for the poor and the aged, under new prohibitions approved by the House on

Friday.

By a 285-121 vote, the House approved an amendment by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, to stop the government from paying for the drugs. King said his amendment would save taxpayers $105 million next year alone.

- From wire reports