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(Updated) One killed, two injured in Aspen, Colo., plane crash
Written by THOMAS PEIPERT, Associated Press   
Sunday, 05 January 2014 20:13

 

DENVER (AP) — A fiery plane crash at the Aspen airport Sunday afternoon killed one person and injured two others, one severely, Colorado authorities said.

Officials said the flight to the wealthy mountain refuge originated in Mexico and all three aboard were pilots and Mexican men.

Alex Burchetta, director of operations for the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office, identified the man who died as Sergio Carranza Brabata of Mexico. He did not release the names of the two injured, and he did not know where in Mexico the 54-year-old Brabata lived.

Burchetta said the plane went off the right side of the runway, flipped over and burst into flames.

"The injuries were traumatic in nature, but they were not thermal," he said. "So the fire never reached inside the cabin as far as we can tell."

Ginny Dyche, a spokeswoman for Aspen Valley Hospital, said the facility received two patients who were involved in the crash. She later said one patient in fair condition and another in critical condition were transferred elsewhere.

Last Updated on Monday, 06 January 2014 07:16
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Below-zero temps push into Midwest, Northeast
Written by KERRY LESTER, Associated Press TAMMY WEBBER, Associated Press   
Sunday, 05 January 2014 13:26

CHICAGO (AP) — Snow-covered roads and high winds were creating dangerous driving conditions from Missouri to Delaware on Sunday ahead of a "polar vortex" that'll bring below-zero temperatures not seen in years to much of the nation in the coming days, likely setting records.

Several states in the Midwest were being walloped with up to a foot of new snow, and residents shoveled out and stocked up on groceries before bitterly cold temperatures set in overnight.

Five to 7 inches fell overnight in the Chicago area, while 8 to 10 inches was expected to fall in central Illinois, Indiana and Michigan on Sunday, National Weather Service meteorologist Ed Fenelon said. Forecasts also called for several inches in western Tennessee and 1 to 3 inches in Kentucky.

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Health law leaves volunteer firefighting in limbo
Written by ALANNA DURKIN, Associated Press   
Sunday, 05 January 2014 13:03

FREEPORT, Maine (AP) — Fire chiefs and lawmakers are working to protect the system of volunteer firefighting that has served rural America for more than a century but is threatened by an ambiguity in President Barack Obama's health care law.

Small and rural fire departments from California to Maine, which has one of the country's highest percentages of volunteer and on-call firefighters, rely on volunteers to avoid the budget-strapping cost of paying them to be on duty in between fighting fires.

The volunteers are considered employees for tax purposes, a classification that grew out of an ongoing effort to attract firefighters by offering them such incentives as stipends, retirement benefits and free gym memberships.

That leaves open the question of whether the volunteer firefighters fall under the health care law's requirement that employers with 50 or more employees working at least 30 hours a week must provide health insurance for them. Fire departments say they can't afford to pay such a cost.

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Wounded veterans work to put away child predators
Written by KEVIN FREKING, Associated Press   
Sunday, 05 January 2014 13:15

WASHINGTON (AP) — Oskar Zepeda has had pretty much one mission in his life: kill or capture.

After serving nine tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, he now has a new target — child predators.

Zepeda, 29, is part of a 17-member class of veterans trained in computer forensics and sent to Immigration and Customs Enforcement field offices. They aren't paid, and there's no guarantee that they'll have a full-time job when their one-year stint ends.

But the interns are finding the purpose of their new mission outweighs financial considerations.

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Pope to travel to Holy Land in May amid peace push
Written by NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press   
Sunday, 05 January 2014 13:02

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis will travel to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan in May, his first visit to the Holy Land and one that comes amid a new U.S. push for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Francis told thousands gathered in the rain for his weekly Sunday blessing that "in the climate of joy that is typical of the Christmas season," he was announcing a visit May 24-26 to Amman, Bethlehem and Jerusalem. It is the only papal trip confirmed so far for 2014 and the second foreign trip of Francis' pontificate, following his 2013 visit to Brazil for World Youth Day.

Francis said his prime aim was to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic meeting in Jerusalem between Pope Paul VI and the then-spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Atengora. Catholics and Orthodox have been divided since the Great Schism of 1054, precipitated largely by disagreements over the primacy of the pope.

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