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For years, there’s been a cardinal rule for flying civilian drones: Keep them within your line of sight. But that's starting to change as aviation authorities prepare to cautiously relax some of the safeguards they imposed to regulate a boom in off-the-shelf consumer drones. Drones can now soar out of their pilots’ sight to inspect power lines across the forested Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia. They’re tracking endangered sea turtles off Florida’s coast and monitoring seaports and railroads in the U.S. and Europe. Businesses want smoother rules that could open your neighborhood’s skies to new commercial uses, but privacy advocates and some private pilots have concerns.

AP
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Parts of Australia’s largest city have been inundated by four major floods since March last year, leaving weary residents questioning how many times they can rebuild. The latest disaster follows Sydney’s wettest-ever start to a year with dams overflowing and a sodden landscape incapable of absorbing more rain that must instead run into swollen waterways. There are climate, geographic and demographic factors behind Sydney’s latest flooding emergency.

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Evacuation orders have been expanded for remote communities near a wildfire that's chewing through California forests. The Sierra Nevada Gold Country fire tripled in size to about 6.1 square miles Tuesday. The fire erupted on the Fourth of July at a recreation area packed with people. Between 85 to 100 celebrating at a river were forced to take shelter at a Pacific Gas & Electric Co. facility. Amador County Sheriff Gary Redman says they were safely evacuated. Evacuations are in place for parts of Amador and Calaveras counties. Redman suggested fireworks or a barbeque as a possible fire cause.

AP
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A man walks along the beach front at Bronte Beach as rain continues to fall in Sydney, Australia, Wednesday, July 6, 2022. More than 50,000 residents of Sydney and its surrounds have been told to evacuate or prepare to abandon their homes on Tuesday as Australia's largest city braces for what could be its worst flooding in 18 months. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

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Italy endured a prolonged heat wave before an Alpine glacier broke off and killed seven hikers and left others unaccounted for. Hotter temperatures are linked to climate change and can destabilize glaciers, although it is difficult to name climate change as the cause of specific events. Experts said higher temperatures make ice avalanches more likely and that melted ice and snow may have triggered the event. Drought conditions may also have helped loosen the ice's hold on the mountain slope. The avalanche occurred in the Dolomites in northeast Italy.

AP
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Rescuers are finding body parts and equipment as they search for hikers missing following a powerful avalanche in the Italian Dolomites. Officials initially feared 13 hikers were still missing, but the province of Trento on Tuesday reduced the number of people unaccounted-for to five. Seven people are known to have died. A huge chunk of the Marmolada glacier cleaved off Sunday, sending torrents of ice, rock and debris down the mountainside onto unsuspecting hikers below. After rain hampered the search Monday, sunny weather on Tuesday allowed helicopters to bring more rescue teams up to the site.

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Gardening when there's severe drought means setting priorities. Conserving water is always a good thing but it becomes non-negotiable when state and local governments enforce restrictions. AP gardening writer Jessica Damiano says that if you plan ahead you can use rain barrels or xeriscaping or plant native plants. At this point in the season you should focus on the plants you want to help most. Newly planted trees and shrubs need deep and regular watering. Older trees also can suffer from drought. And you'll probably want to save perennials. Watering the garden early in the morning is best. Invest in soaker hoses or drip irrigation instead of sprinklers. Use recycled household water. And keep the soil mulched and weed-free.

AP
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The war in Ukraine has abruptly drawn millions of dollars away from longer-running humanitarian crises. Somalia is perhaps the most vulnerable as thousands die of hunger amid the driest drought in decades. Aid funding for Somalia is less than half of last year’s level as donors, overwhelmingly from the West, have sent more than $1.7 billion to respond to the war in Europe. The Norwegian Refugee Council secretary general tells The Associated Press he's “angry and ashamed" watching under-resourced aid workers in Somalia forced to make “horrific” choices about which desperately hungry people to help.

AP
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Hundreds of homes have been inundated in and around Australia's largest city in a flood emergency that was causing trouble for 50,000 people. Officials said Tuesday emergency response teams made 100 rescues overnight of people trapped in cars on flooded roads or in inundated homes. New South Wales state Premier Dominic Perrottet said 50,000 people in and around Sydney were given evacuation orders and warnings to prepare to abandon homes. That's up from 32,000 on Monday. Days of torrential rain have caused dams to overflow and waterways to break their banks, bringing a fourth flood emergency in 16 months to parts of the city of 5 million people.

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Independence Day celebrations in the United States have been rattled by a shooting that left at least six people dead at a parade in Illinois. The shooting further rocked a nation already awash in turmoil over high court rulings on abortion and guns as well as hearings on the Jan. 6 insurrection. Police say at least 30 other people were wounded in the attack in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park. Authorities brought a person of interest into custody Monday evening. The latest mass shooting came as the nation tried to find cause to celebrate its founding and the bonds that still hold it together.