SAN FRANCISCO

Officials say power lines

sparked deadly wildfire

Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. power lines sparked a Northern California blaze that killed 85 people last year, making it the deadliest U.S. wildfire in a century, state fire officials said Wednesday.

Cal Fire said transmission lines owned and operated by the San Francisco-based utility started the Nov. 8 fire that nearly destroyed the town of Paradise in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The fire wiped out nearly 15,000 homes.

 

WASHINGTON

Trump order appears

to target China's Huawei

President Donald Trump issued an executive order Wednesday apparently aimed at banning equipment from Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei from U.S. networks.

It declares a national economic emergency that empowers the government to ban the technology and services of "foreign adversaries" deemed to pose unacceptable risks to national security — including from cyberespionage and sabotage. While it doesn't name specific countries or companies, it follows months of U.S. pressure on Huawei. It gives the Department of Commerce 150 days to come up with regulations.

 

WASHINGTON

Report: US birth rate

lowest in three decades 

America's baby bust isn't over. The nation's birth rates last year reached record lows for women in their teens and 20s, a government report shows, leading to the fewest babies in 32 years.

The provisional report, released Wednesday and based on more than 99% of U.S. birth records, found 3.788 million births last year. It was the fourth year the number of births has fallen, the lowest since 1986 and a surprise to some experts given the improving economy.

 

PARIS

Canada's Trudeau visits

fire-ravaged Notre Dame

A month after a fire engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral, workers are still trying to ensure the edifice is safe enough for the restoration process to begin, French Culture Minister Franck Riester said.

Riester and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wore hard hats for a visit Wednesday inside the Gothic church. Trudeau said he wanted to show Canadians' solidarity "toward our French cousins."

 

WASHINGTON

Trump set to launch

new immigration plan

After years of setbacks and stalemates, President Donald Trump will lay out yet another immigration plan on Thursday as he tries to convince the American public and lawmakers that the nation's legal immigration system should be overhauled.

The latest effort, spearheaded by Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, focuses on beefing up border security and rethinking the green card system so that it would favor people with high-level skills, degrees and job offers instead of relatives of those already in the country.

 

RALEIGH, N.C.

State attorney general

sues e-cigarette maker

North Carolina's attorney general is suing a popular e-cigarette maker, asking a court to limit what flavors it can sell and ensure underage teens can't buy its vaping products.

Josh Stein, the top law enforcement official in the traditionally tobacco-friendly state, said Wednesday he's the first state attorney general to take the maker of Juul to court.

 

NEW YORK

Helicopter pilot OK after

crash into Hudson River

A helicopter crash landed in the Hudson River near a busy Manhattan heliport Wednesday and partially sank, but not before the pilot was able to escape mostly unscathed.

The 34-year-old pilot suffered just a minor hand injury after the hard splashdown. No other people were aboard but a dockworker trying to get out of the way of the descending aircraft slipped and injured his wrist, fire and police officials said.

 

MURFREESBORO, TENN.

School to stop having

student portray Hitler

A Tennessee elementary school will no longer have a student portray Adolf Hitler in its living history exhibit after a group of students began giving Nazi salutes.

Rutherford County school district spokesman James Evans said in an email Wednesday that the fifth-grade student portraying Hitler was supposed to give a speech and a Nazi salute as part of the exhibit. An investigation by the McFadden School of Excellence principal later found that other students had started giving the salute as well both in and out of rehearsals, Evans said.

 

Beacon Journal/Ohio.com wires