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Nation news briefs
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HEAT AND SMOKE MAKE THINGS MISERABLE IN SACRAMENTO: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Sweltering heat and a blanket of smoke from California wildfires are making it a miserable week for Sacramento residents.

Wildfires burning in most every direction are sending smoke into the region.

Day care centers are keeping youngsters indoors much of the day. And the San Juan Unified and Sacramento City Unified school districts moved many student athlete practice times from afternoons to the cooler, less smoky morning hours.

Doctors are warning the elderly and the very young, as well as people with chronic respiratory problems, to stay indoors to avoid the heavy air.

A wildfire 40 miles southwest of Sacramento in the sloughs of Solano County sent smoke into Sacramento on Tuesday. There are also blazes about 60 miles northwest of Sacramento in Lake and Colusa counties.

WOMAN PARASAILING IN FLA. PLUNGES INTO OCEAN, DIES: POMPANO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say a Connecticut woman who was parasailing with her husband in South Florida died after her harness broke and she plummeted as much as 200 feet into the Atlantic Ocean.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission identified the woman as 28-year-old Kathleen Miskell.

Pompano Beach spokeswoman Sandra King says Miskell was parasailing Wednesday afternoon with her husband, Stephen, when her harness broke and she fell.

King says the boat crew reeled in her husband and circled back to rescue the woman. King says the woman was in cardiac arrest and the captain performed CPR until the boat met up with paramedics. Authorities say Miskell was pronounced dead at a hospital.

UNMANNED MILITARY AIRCRAFT FAILS IN MACH 6 ATTEMPT:LOS ANGELES (AP) — An unmanned experimental aircraft failed during an attempt to fly at six times the speed of sound in the latest setback for hypersonic flight.

The X-51A Waverider was designed to reach Mach 6, or 3,600 mph, after being dropped by a B-52 bomber off the Southern California coast on Tuesday. Engineers hoped it would sustain its top speed for five minutes, twice as long as an X-51A has gone before.

But the Air Force said Wednesday that a faulty control fin prevented it from starting its exotic scramjet engine and it was lost.

"It is unfortunate that a problem with this subsystem caused a termination before we could light the scramjet engine," Charlie Brink of the Air Force Research Laboratory at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, said in a statement.

The Waverider successfully detached from the B-52 and fired the rocket booster as planned. Then its scramjet engine was supposed to take over as it attempted to climb to Mach 6. But that never happened. Fifteen seconds after separating from the rocket booster, the Waverider lost control, preventing a test of the scramjet engine.

THOUSANDS OF ELVIS FANS FLOCK TO GRACELAND VIGIL: MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Elvis Presley fans hoisted colorful umbrellas against a hot sun and massed in folding chairs outside Graceland on Wednesday, awaiting a candlelight vigil marking the 35th anniversary of the death of the rock 'n' roll icon.

Elvis admirers flocked by the thousands to Memphis from around the U.S. and from as far off as England and Japan, many waiting for hours to enter the Memphis mansion where Presley is buried on the grounds.

Presley died on Aug. 16, 1977, of a heart attack after suffering from prescription drug abuse. His death at 42 marked the end of a soaring musical career that ended all too abruptly for legions of fans still mesmerized today by his singing, sex appeal and on-stage charisma.

The vigil marks the high point of Elvis Week, the annual celebration of Presley's life and career. Organizers have said they expected 75,000 people to attend Elvis Week, with many taking part in the vigil that was beginning Wednesday evening and to last into Thursday.