CALIFORNIA

Thousands file claims after refinery fire

Several thousand Richmond residents have filed legal claims against Chevron Corp., seeking compensation for a refinery fire that fouled the region's air for hours and sent more than 4,000 people to seek medical care for breathing problems and irritated eyes. The company said a total of about 3,800 people had submitted claims through Friday afternoon. Most of the claims are asking for modest amounts, reflecting the fact that there were no reports of serious injury. Nearly all seeking medical care were treated and released after a few hours.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Vacationer who vanished found alive

A relative says a 72-year-old vacationer who disappeared in New Hampshire last month hitchhiked, walked and worked odd jobs to get himself home to North Carolina, where a sheriff's deputy finally identified him by the initials on his wedding band. Hugh Armstrong was found in good health but confused, walking along a road in Marion, N.C., according to New Hampshire State Police. Marion is about 240 miles west of his home in Clayton. Armstrong vanished July 25 while visiting Stinson Lake, leading to an extensive search.

EGYPT

U.S. steps up talks after border attacks

The United States and Egypt are negotiating a package of assistance to address what administration officials describe as a worsening security vacuum in the Sinai Peninsula. Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and military leaders balked last month when they were pressed by the U.S. to be more aggressive against extremists in the Sinai. But after the attack that killed 16 soldiers, Egypt accelerated talks over the details of new U.S. aid, which would include military equipment.

IRAN

At least 180 are killed in strong earthquakes

Two strong earthquakes hit northwestern Iran, killing at least 180 people and injuring 1,350, the Fars news agency reported. Striking within 11 minutes of one another -- at 4:49 p.m. and 5 p.m. -- the two quakes registered magnitudes of 6.2 and 6. Sixty villages were badly damaged. Iran is located on seismic fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. It experiences at least one earthquake every day on average, although the vast majority are so small they go unnoticed.

SPAIN

Authorities say video evidence of terror plot

Authorities in Spain released a video that they claim shows suspected Al-Qaida members training for a bombing raid using a model plane, the latest in a case that has led to three arrests. Spanish officials allege the suspects were planning a terrorist attack in Spain or elsewhere in Europe, but say investigators managed to intercept them before the plot was carried out. Two suspects are Russians of Chechen descent, and the third is a Turk.

NEWS SERVICES