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In brief

A man wears a Syrian independence flag headband Sunday as he carries a young girl on his shoulders during anti-regime protest outside Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, to support demonstrators.

BEIRUT Syrian forces make arrests

Syrian forces on Sunday carried out arrests in the western city of Hama, an opposition stronghold, amid the sound of heavy gunfire, an anti-government activist said.

The arrests came two days after some 300,000 protesters gathered in Hama in the largest demonstration yet in a three-month-old uprising against President Bashar Assad.

The protest carried important symbolism for the anti-government movement: in 1982, Assad’s late father and predecessor, Hafez, crushed a rebellion in the city by Syrian members of the pan-Arab Muslim Brotherhood movement, killing thousands.

Sunday’s arrests took place near Hama’s sports stadium, said Lebanon-based Syrian activist Rami Nakhleh, who coordinates information from a loose network of activists in Syria.

SANTA FE, N.M. Site’s radiation checked

An aircraft monitoring the area near Los Alamos where a huge wildfire has been burning has picked up no sign of unusual radiation levels.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez announced Sunday that flights by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plane in the past week showed radiation levels are the same as they were before the fire.

The blaze raised concerns because it burned close to the Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory. The lab was the site where the U.S. developed its first atomic bombs and still has large amounts of nuclear material.

Los Alamos and nearby communities were evacuated nearly a week ago as the wildfire approached. About 12,000 residents were allowed to go home Sunday.

Those with respiratory ailments should stay away because of smoke.

LAUREL, Mont. Teams gauge oil spill

Teams of federal and state workers fanned out Sunday along Montana’s famed Yellowstone River to gauge the environmental damage from a ruptured Exxon Mobil pipeline that spewed tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil into the waterway.

The break near Billings, in south-central Montana, fouled the riverbank and forced municipalities and irrigation districts to close intakes.

There were reports of oil as far as 100 miles downstream near the town of Hysham. But an Exxon Mobil Corp. executive said shoreline damage appeared to be limited to the Yellowstone between Laurel and Billings, which includes about 20 miles of river.

Exxon Mobil Pipeline Co. President Gary Pruessing said company observers flying over the river had seen “very little soiling” beyond Billings. He said the oil appeared to be evaporating and dissipating into the river as the flooded Yellowstone carries it downstream.

ONONDAGA, N.Y. Cyclist dies in protest ride

Police say a motorcyclist participating in a protest ride against helmet laws in upstate New York died after he flipped over the bike’s handlebars and hit his head on the pavement.

The accident happened Saturday afternoon in the town of Onondaga, in central New York near Syracuse.

State troopers tell The Post-Standard of Syracuse that 55-year-old Philip A. Contos of Parish, N.Y., was driving a 1983 Harley Davidson with a group of bikers who were protesting helmet laws by not wearing helmets.

Troopers say Contos hit his brakes and the motorcycle fishtailed. The bike spun out of control, and Contos toppled over the handlebars. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

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