America

Flooding Continues In Heartland; Fires Coming Under Control In Arizona

Good morning.

The day's big story, at least at this hour, is President Obama's address to the nation tonight in which he'll lay out his plan for drawing down the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Our latest preview is posted here.

Other stories making headlines include:

— Flooding In The Heartland:

In North Dakota, "Minot was a city in full retreat Tuesday" the local Daily News writes. "In a city deluged by several weeks of discussion about cubic feet per second, reservoir storage and how to convert metric readings into something more understandable, the flow in the Souris [River] was losing its lustre as vital information. For many in the city, the expected height of the river is now judged to be either at the kitchen countertops or up to the rain gutters." According to The Associated Press, "officials have ordered about 11,000 people, or a quarter of the city's residents, to evacuate by 6 p.m."

To the south in Missouri, people in the town of Craig are evacuating in advance of rising waters. "Levees protecting this town have burst, one by one, and the river water is slowly advancing through the lush farmland in the floodplains bordering Craig, about an hour-and-a-half north of Kansas City," The Kansas City Star reports.

— Fires In Arizona: "The looming threat of fire to hundreds of homes in Sierra Vista could all but disappear within the next 24 hours if burnout operations successfully bridge areas already charred by the Monument and Garden fires. ... To the east, the Horseshoe Two wildfire was 95 percent contained after charring nearly 223,000 acres. Crews said they hoped to have the fire fully contained by 6 p.m. today. In the eastern part of the state, the Wallow Fire, the largest in Arizona history, was 56 percent contained after consuming more than 527,000 acres." (The Arizona Republic)

— Panetta Unanimously Confirmed As Defense Secretary: By a 100-0 vote in the Senate, CIA Director Leon Panetta was confirmed Tuesday to be secretary of defense. Current Defense Secretary Robert Gates is retiring on June 30. Army Gen. David Petraeus has been nominated to replace Panetta at the CIA.

— Greek Prime Minister Survives Confidence Vote: "One vote down, a tougher one ahead: The Greek prime minister won a confidence vote Wednesday but immediately launched into his next political battle — getting new austerity measures passed by parliament to avoid a national default." (The Associated Press)

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