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Associated Press
Drivers pull over to watch as a slurry plane prepares to drop its load on a wildfire north of Colorado Springs, Colo., on Wednesday. The number of houses destroyed could grow to 100, and authorities fear that some people who stayed behind might have died.
Briefs

Wildfires advancing in Colorado

– A wildfire fueled by hot temperatures, gusty winds and thick, bone-dry forests has destroyed 92 homes, damaged five more and prompted more than 7,000 residents northeast of Colorado Springs to flee, sheriff’s official said Wednesday.

A separate Colorado wildfire to the south led to the relocation of about 250 residents and nearly 1,000 inmates at medium-security prison, while to the north another fire burned in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Wildfires also burned in New Mexico, Oregon and California, where a smoke jumper died fighting one of dozens of lightning-sparked fires.

Syrian fighters, civilians killed

Syrian rebels, including Sunni extremists, stormed a village and battled pro-regime militiamen, killing more than 60 Shiite fighters and civilians in an attack steeped in the sectarian hatreds that increasingly characterize the civil war, activists said.

In the raid, which comes at a time when the West is worried that extremists are increasingly joining the rebellion, the victorious fighters raised black Sunni Islamist flags over the eastern village of Hatla. The fighters – some wearing al-Qaida-style headbands – vented anti-Shiite slurs and fired in the air.

Bulger trial begins in Boston

A federal prosecutor said in opening statements Wednesday at James “Whitey” Bulger’s racketeering trial that the reputed mobster was at the center of “murder and mayhem” in Boston for almost 30 years, while the defense attacked the credibility of the government’s star witnesses.

Prosecutor Brian Kelly told jurors that Bulger headed the violent Winter Hill Gang that “ran amok,” killing 19 people, extorting millions from drug dealers and other criminals, and corrupting police and FBI agents.

Bulger’s lead attorney, J.W. Carney Jr., went after the prosecution’s star witnesses, including hit man John Martorano.

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