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California wildfires, which once numbered 2,000 in the past month, are down to 33, according to state officials, who cautioned that fire danger remains high in some rural areas. Meanwhile, the Union Pacific Railroad Co. agreed to pay $102 million for damages that occurred from a fire in 2000 sparked by a company welder who was repairing track.

Nineteen miles of the Mississippi River at New Orleans were closed Wednesday by the Coast Guard after a tugboat pushing a barge crashed into a tanker carrying biodiesel and styrene. A Coast Guard officer said more than 400,000 gallons of fuel spilled.

Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs and four of his followers were indicted Tuesday in Eldorado, Texas, on charges of felony sexual assault of a child. Jeffs has already been convicted in Utah as an accomplice to rape and is awaiting trial in Arizona on other underage marriage charges.

Los Angeles will ban plastic shopping bags from stores, beginning July 1, 2010, unless California legislators pass a similar bill that supersedes the one the Los Angeles City Council approved Tuesday. Shoppers can buy paper or biodegradable bags for 25 cents.

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