In brief: Five snowboarders die after starting backcountry avalanche
Georgetown, Colo. – Five snowboarders were killed Saturday afternoon after apparently triggering a backcountry avalanche on Colorado’s Loveland Pass, authorities said.
Search and rescue crews recovered the bodies several hours after the slide, which was about 600 feet wide and eight feet deep, said Clear Creek County Sheriff Don Krueger.
A sixth snowboarder caught in the avalanche was able to dig himself out and call for help, Krueger said. That person’s condition wasn’t immediately known.
The victims all had avalanche beacons, Krueger added.
The Colorado Department of Transportation closed U.S. 6, which crosses the Continental Divide near the scene of the avalanche, to facilitate the search. The pass is heavily traveled by skiers visiting nearby Arapahoe Basin ski resort.
FBI arrests teen allegedly trying to join al-Qaida-affiliated group
Chicago – A suburban Chicago teenager has been arrested on terrorism-related charges and accused of seeking to join an al-Qaida-affiliated group in war-torn Syria, the FBI announced Saturday.
Abdella Ahmad Tounisi, 18, was arrested Friday night as he attempted to board a flight from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to Turkey, which borders Syria, the FBI said.
The head of the FBI office in Chicago, Cory B. Nelson, said in a statement announcing the arrest that there are no links between Tounisi’s case and the bombings at the Boston Marathon earlier in the week.
Tounisi, a U.S. citizen from Aurora, Ill., was charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. If convicted, he faces a maximum 15-year prison term.
Tounisi carried out research online about Jabhat al-Nusrah, or Nursa Front, which is a well-organized rebel faction fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime in a bloody civil war, the complaint says. The U.S. government has designated the group a foreign terrorist organization.
Puerto Rico considers legalization of marijuana
San Juan, Puerto Rico – Dozens of people marched Saturday through Puerto Rico’s capital amid growing support for a recent bill filed by a former police chief that aims to legalize marijuana for personal use, unleashing an unprecedented debate in this conservative U.S. territory.
The crowd marched to the seaside Capitol building, where Sen. Miguel Pereira filed a bill last week stating it should be legal for those 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. The former federal prosecutor and corrections secretary said possession cases are costing the government money, noting that 80 percent of inmates are serving time for non-violent crimes.
His comments have polarized the island, with some legislators demanding his resignation.
“It’s outrageous that someone who was elected by the people tries to use his position to cause addiction, sicken and destroy Puerto Rican society,” Sen. Itzamar Pena said.