LOS ANGELES

Residents allowed to return as mudslide threat abates

Residents in three California foothill communities headed home Sunday after a powerful storm that threatened to unleash mud on neighborhoods beneath unstable hills scarred by recent wildfires.

With the storm reduced to sprinkles, residents in the Los Angeles County cities of Glendora and Azusa were allowed back into their homes. Monrovia residents were allowed back late Saturday, officials said.

The storm — the largest since 2010 — kept emergency planners and rescue crews busy, but it didn’t produce enough rain to pull California out of a crippling drought that has grown to crisis proportions for the state’s vast farming industry.

The precipitation will bring the Los Angeles region to about half its normal rainfall for the season, Bill Patzert, a climatologist for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, told the Los Angeles Times .

“This is no drought-buster, but it’s a nice, fat down payment” in the water bank, he said.

BEIRUT

Islamist rebels release kidnapped Spanish newsman

A Spanish journalist kidnapped by Islamist rebels and held for almost six months inside Syria has been released and was safe in neighboring Turkey, his newspaper reported Sunday.

Marc Marginedas, accompanied by Spanish officials, was undergoing a medical evaluation in Turkey, reported El Periodico, his employer.

The journalist crossed the border from Syria into Turkey early Sunday, the newspaper reported.

There were no details on how he came to be released or whether any ransom had been paid.

Marginedas, a veteran war correspondent, was kidnapped Sept. 4 near the Syrian city of Hama, the newspaper said.

GUATEMALA CITY

Volcano shoots ash plumes, spews glowing-hot rock

Guatemala authorities say the Pacaya volcano near Guatemala City has shot plumes of ash and vapor 2.3 miles high, while spewing glowing-hot rock.

The eruption early Sunday is the latest round of activity at the scenic volcano located just 30 miles south of Guatemala City.

The ash plume was moving southwest and west, away from the capital.

Pacaya is one of Guatemala’s most active and picturesque volcanoes. An eruption in January sent lava flowing down one side of the volcano, leading to evacuations.

NEW YORK

Magnitude 6.7 quake rocks sea north of Okinawa, Japan

The U.S. Geological Service says a magnitude 6.7 earthquake has struck in the East China Sea north of the Japanese island of Okinawa.

The USGS said the quake occurred at 4:11 a.m. local time Monday with its epicenter located 68 miles north-northwest of Nago, a tourist town in the northern Okinawa Island near a U.S. Marine Base. Its depth was given as 69.8 miles.

The U.S. National Weather Service’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says no tsunami is expected. There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

FALLON, Nev.

Pilot’s condition unknown, fighter jet totaled in crash

A fighter jet that crashed during a training exercise in western Nevada is a total loss and the pilot’s condition is unknown, a spokeswoman for the Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, said Sunday.

It took rescue crews several hours to reach the site after the 3 p.m. Saturday crash because of a snowstorm and mountainous, remote terrain, Lt. Reagan Lauritzen said.

The F/A-18C, a U.S. Marine jet on loan to the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, went down on a Navy range training complex about 70 miles east of Naval Air Station Fallon, she said.

The Navy reported incorrectly on Saturday that the jet was a U.S. Navy Hornet.

The name of the pilot will be withheld for 24 hours, she said.

The cause of the crash was under investigation.

There were no reports of any other injuries or damage as a result of the crash and the jet was not carrying any weapons or munitions on the training flight, the Navy said.

PORT ANGELES, Wash.

Pizza shop receives calls from ‘American Idol’ voters

The phones were ringing off the hook at Gordy’s Pizza & Pasta in Port Angeles last Wednesday, but the callers weren’t looking for the eatery’s signature fettucine.

They were trying to vote for their favorite singing contestants on the hit Fox TV show “American Idol.”

It’s not clear why the calls were routed to Gordy’s, the Peninsula Daily News reported.

– From news service reports