Georgia governor to drop lawsuit over mask mandate

ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday said he’s dropping a lawsuit against the city of Atlanta in a dispute over the city’s requirement to wear masks in public and other restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kemp had sued Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the City Council to block them from implementing restrictions at the local level, even as case counts and hospitalizations in the state soared.

The Republican governor argued that local governments can’t impose measures that are more or less restrictive than those in his statewide executive orders, which have strongly urged people to wear masks but not required them.

Crews try to tame California wildfire as heat wave arrives

LOS ANGELES — Crews scrambled to protect homes from a huge wildfire that prompted evacuations north of Los Angeles and officials warned the blaze could flare up again as a blistering heat wave descended on California.

The fire exploded in size within hours after it broke out in dense forest on Wednesday afternoon, sending up a towering plume visible for hundreds of miles around.

Flames raced across ridges and steep slopes, including in some areas that had not burned since 1968, fire officials said.

By Thursday morning, the blaze had consumed nearly 16.5 square miles of timber and brush. There was no containment.

Mexico keeps border closed to non-essential travel

MEXICO CITY — Mexico plans to extend the closure of its shared border with the United States for another month to non-essential travel, Mexico Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said Thursday.

The current agreement runs through Aug. 21, but Ebrard said it does not make sense to reopen the border at this time.

“We already told the United States that we’re of the idea that it’s extended because of what we have along the strip on their side,” Ebrard said, referring to a surge in cases in the southwestern United States.

The travel restriction at the shared land border was first announced March 18 and has been renewed monthly. It has included the U.S.-Canada border as well.

—The Associated Press