Snowmelt gusher at Yosemite Falls

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. - Record Sierra snowfall over the winter now means record snowmelt as temperatures rise, swelling Yosemite National Park's waterfalls, streams, and rivers to their most turbulent level in years.

Yosemite Falls, the nation's highest, is spewing enough water to fill a gasoline tanker truck every two seconds. The force of water at Bridalveil Falls across the valley kicks up a mist that clouds the meadow below.

It means that until the peak melt around mid-June, visitors will encounter more treacherous beauty in Yosemite than even the travel brochures promise.

"Breathtaking, that's what it is," said Lynne Bousie of Scotland, who stopped to pose for a photograph at the spot where the paved trail to Yosemite Falls makes a turn and the first full view of its entire 2,425-foot drop comes into view. - AP

Obama expected to tap Dempsey

WASHINGTON - President Obama is expected to announce Monday that he will name Army Gen. Martin Dempsey chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, rounding out the new Pentagon team charged with the delicate task of winding down the U.S. commitment in Afghanistan.

Obama is likely to nominate Dempsey as successor to Adm. Mike Mullen at an event in the Rose Garden on Memorial Day, an administration official said Saturday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

Dempsey has served as Army chief of staff since April. If confirmed by the Senate, he would come to the Joint Chiefs job with extensive experience in Iraq, having served two tours of duty in the war launched by President George W. Bush in 2003.

- Los Angeles Times

Shuttle crew gets ready for return

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Endeavour's astronauts took care of some last-minute space station chores Saturday before packing up to come home and end the next-to-last shuttle flight. Endeavour is scheduled to return to Florida before dawn Wednesday, 16 days after blasting off.

The shuttle and its crew of six will depart the International Space Station late Sunday night. The astronauts worked to repair one of the space station's air purifiers and straightened out the suits that were used in four space walks.

"It's been a fantastic mission," shuttle pilot Gregory Johnson said. "It's the sort of mission that astronauts dream of having." The crew installed a $2 billion physics experiment at the orbiting outpost, as well as an extension pole and a platform full of spare parts. - AP

Elsewhere:

Four passengers suffered minor injuries Saturday when a Delta Air Lines flight from Pittsburgh made a troubled landing in Atlanta. Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said Flight 2284 suffered a blown tire, locked-up brake, or perhaps both, causing a fire. Fire crews sprayed foam to extinguish the blaze near the plane's right engine.