Slayer guitarist passes
Heavy metal guitar legend Jeff Hanneman, 49, has died of liver failure, his band Slayer announced on Thursday. “Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother ... passed away at about 11am this morning,” read a statement posted by the group on its Facebook page. Hanneman, who died at a hospital in Southern California, has been suffering since 2011 from necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease that he is believed to have contracted from a spider bite, according to news reports. It is not known whether the illness played a role in his death. Hanneman was a founding member of Slayer, known for music that the group described as “punishing yet precise.”
Wildfire rages in California
A wildfire fanned by gusty winds raged along the fringes of Southern California communities on Thursday, forcing the evacuation of homes and a university while setting recreational vehicles ablaze. The blaze erupted during morning rush hour along a major highway about 80km northwest of Los Angeles. It was quickly spread by the winds, which also pushed other damaging blazes across the region. Flames quickly moved down slopes toward subdivisions, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. Fire officials said on Thursday afternoon that a hazardous materials team will deal with a store of highly toxic pesticides that caught fire at a Laguna Farms property, according to the Ventura County Star.
Police bust smuggling ring
Police say they have arrested 30 suspects who allegedly smuggled drugs into Spain through the southern coast using boats and jet skis. The Interior Ministry said on Thursday that the gang used fishing and recreational boats to carry drugs from Morocco to rendezvous points in the Mediterranean Sea. Once there, hashish was transferred to couriers on jet skis. The ministry said the organization laundered its profits using a catering business in the Sierra Nevada region.Police say they seized 488kg of hashish, 11 vehicles, three ships and two firearms worth an estimated 3.3 million euros (US$4.3 million).