SANAA, Yemen

Saleh’s wounds from attack worse than initially reported

President Ali Abdullah Saleh was burned over 40 percent of his body and suffered bleeding in the brain from last weekend’s attack on his palace, U.S. officials said Tuesday, indicating his wounds were worse than initially reported. The revelation casts doubts on a quick return to Yemen and spells a deepening power vacuum.

In the wake of Saleh’s evacuation to Saudi Arabia for treatment, Yemen’s violence escalated, with government troops battling Islamic militants and opposition tribesmen in two southern cities on Tuesday. The military said it killed 30 militants who were among a group that took over the city of Zinjibar last week amid the country’s turmoil.

The United States fears that al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen – one of the terror network’s most active, blamed for two attempted anti-U.S. attacks – will take advantage of the chaos to strengthen its base in the country.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti

At least 23 dead in seventh day of heavy rains, flooding

Heavy rain hammered southern Haiti for a seventh straight day Tuesday, triggering floods and mudslides and causing houses and shanties in the capital to collapse. The official death toll was 23 but could rise as remnants of the storm lingered.

Runoff from the rain sent rivers surging and flooded many homes as people scrambled to their rooftops. The slow-moving storm system also toppled trees and debris blocked streets throughout the capital.

At least 23 people were killed and more than a dozen injured, said Edgar Joseph, a spokesman for Haiti’s Civil Protection Department.

WASHINGTON

Economy slow, polls down, Obama says he’s concerned

With few options at hand and his poll numbers sagging, President Barack Obama expressed concern Tuesday about the sudden slowdown in the economy but said he is not worried about a second recession and the nation should “not panic.”

The president spoke about the new economic trouble in detail for the first time since a report late last week showed job growth had slowed sharply in May. He tried to reassure Americans worried about high unemployment and expensive gas that the nation is on a slow, if not steady, path to recovery.

“I am concerned about the fact that the recovery that we’re on is not producing jobs as quickly as I want it to happen,” Obama said at an appearance with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “We don’t yet know whether this is a one-month episode or a longer trend.”

Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke, speaking in Atlanta on Tuesday, acknowledged the economy has lost momentum but said nothing to suggest the Fed was about to take any bold new action to further shore it up.

SPRINGERVILLE, Ariz.

Fire barriers set up as two towns prepare evacuation

Bulldozers scraped away brush and trees on Tuesday to create a barrier between two eastern Arizona mountain towns and a mammoth wildfire. Crews removed brush from around homes and firefighters were sent to protect other buildings from the flames.

All the while, the 7,000 residents of Eagar and Springerville prepared to leave if the second-largest wildfire in state history edges closer.

“If given the word, then I’m gonna go,” Eagar resident Gerald McCardle said. “We’re already packed. We packed last night, and we’re out of here.”

Officials say the blaze has already burned 486 square miles and is about 10 miles outside the towns. Winds have been driving the flames 5 to 8 miles a day since the fire began a week ago, possibly from an unattended campfire.

ATLANTA

Salmonella driving increase in food poisonings in U.S.

More Americans got food poisoning last year, with salmonella cases driving the increase, the government reported Tuesday. Illness rates for the most common serious type of E. coli fell last year. There was a rise in cases caused by other strains of the bacteria, although that bump may just reflect more testing was done for them, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

An unusually aggressive strain of E. coli is behind the current large outbreak of food poisoning in Europe, mostly in Germany. That strain has never caused an outbreak in the U.S.

The CDC estimates that 50 million Americans each year get sick from foodborne illnesses, including about 3,000 who die.

The report released Tuesday is based on foodborne infections in only 10 states, or about 15 percent of the American population. But it has information that other databases lack and is believed to be a good indicator of food poisoning trends.

More than 19,000 cases of food poisoning were reported in those states last year. That was up from 17,500 cases in 2009.