California's raging wildfires causes multiple deaths
California's deadly Carr wildfire -- now the state's sixth most destructive -- has claimed another life with a power linesman killed on the job its seventh fatality, officials said on August 6. The Carr Fire, located some 200 miles (322 kilometers) north of San Francisco, is still growing, CalFire said Sunday. Its intensity was so great at one point, that it generated a tornado-like whirl of fire -- as well as its own weather system. The Carr Fire has scorched 154,524 acres (62,534 hectares) of land since July 23, when authorities say it was triggered by the "mechanical failure of a vehicle" that caused sparks to fly in tinderbox-dry conditions. The fire has also razed more than 1,600 buildings, including some 1,000 homes, making it the sixth most destructive blaze in the history of the fire-prone western state, state officials say.
Maduro survives 'drone attack'
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he was "more determined than ever" after he escaped an "assassination" attempt using an explosive-laden drone as he gave a speech during a Caracas military parade. The government said seven soldiers were wounded in the alleged attack on August 4, blamed on Colombia by Maduro and later claimed by a little-known rebel group. "I am fine, I am alive, and after this attack I'm more determined than ever to follow the path of the revolution," Maduro said defiantly of the incident, from which he escaped unharmed. "Justice! Maximum punishment! And there will be no forgiveness," he warned in an address to the nation, sparking fears of an anti-opposition offensive in a country already reportedly holding some 248 political prisoners.
Saudi Arabia orders Canadian envoy to leave over criticism
Saudi Arabia on August 5 ordered the Canadian ambassador to leave the ultraconservative kingdom within 24 hours after his nation criticized the recent arrest of women's rights activists. The Saudi Foreign Ministry also said it would freeze "all new business" between the kingdom and Canada. Some 10 percent of Canadian crude oil imports come from Saudi Arabia. "Any further step from the Canadian side in that direction will be considered as acknowledgment of our right to interfere in the Canadian domestic affairs," the Saudi Foreign Ministry said in an extraordinarily aggressive statement. "Canada and all other nations need to know that they can't claim to be more concern.
Cambodian PM swears to die if vote numbers inflated
Cambodia's strongman Premier Hun Sen on August 6 rejected claims the results from last month's widely criticised election had been falsified, saying he would stake his life on their accuracy. Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party claimed it won all 125 parliamentary seats in the deeply flawed July 29 poll, cementing the country as a one-party state and extending his 33-year grip on power. Opposition figures had called for a boycott of the vote after the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) was dissolved last year in a crackdown that saw one of its leaders charged with treason.