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Authorities identify four skiers killed in Utah avalanche

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Authorities identify four skiers killed in Utah avalanche

The four skiers who died during a massive avalanche in Utah on Saturday have been identified by authorities.

The victims, which included three Salt Lake City residents, were among two separate groups of skiers caught in the avalanche in Millcreek Canyon. Four others survived the harrowing ordeal.

According to the Unified Police Department, the victims are: Sarah Moughamian, 29, Louis Holian, 26, Stephanie Hopkins, 26, and 23-year-old Thomas Louis Steinbrecher.

“All eight skiers were well prepared and had the necessary equipment for the conditions,” the department said in a statement.

Holian, Hopkins and Steinbrecher all hailed from Salt Lake City, police said. Moughamian lived in Sandy.

Hopkins worked as a nurse at University of Utah Health, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

“Hopkins worked in the neuro critical care unit and was loved and respected by her colleagues. We send our condolences to her family and loved ones during this difficult time,” the hospital said in a statement to the newspaper.

The bodies of the four victims were recovered from the mountain by authorities on Sunday.

The four survivors, all men who ranged from 23 to 38 years old, had dug themselves and the victims out before being rescued, authorities said.

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FDA backs Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine as safe, effective

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FDA backs Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine as safe, effective

The Food and Drug Administration backed Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose coronavirus vaccine as safe and effective on Wednesday as the agency weighs whether to clear the shot for emergency use.

FDA staff affirmed J&J’s finding that the vaccine was 66 percent effective overall at preventing moderate and severe cases of COVID-19.

While not as strong as Pfizer and Moderna’s two-dose vaccines, that efficacy rate could still make J&J’s shot a helpful weapon in the battle against the pandemic.

New Jersey-based J&J’s clinical trial of nearly 44,000 people also produced no significant safety concerns that would prevent the FDA from granting an emergency use authorization for the vaccine, agency officials said.

The FDA released its analysis of the shot before a Friday meeting of its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, a panel of experts that will recommend whether to clear the J&J vaccine for emergency use.

The FDA granted emergency approvals for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines in December following positive recommendations from the advisory panel.

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Mitt Romney says Trump would win GOP nomination in 2024

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Mitt Romney says Trump would win GOP nomination in 2024

Senator Mitt Romney said that President Donald Trump would win the GOP nomination “in a landslide” if he decided to make a run for The White House again in 2024.

Romney (R – Utah) was speaking to the New York Times’ DealBook when he addressed Trump’s position in the future of the Republican Party.

“He has by far the largest voice and a big impact in my party,” Romney said. “I don’t know if he’s planning to run in 2024 or not, but if he does, I’m pretty sure he would win the nomination.”

Romney made clear that “a lot can happen between now and 2024” but cited polls that show Trump “would win in a landslide” if he were in the race.

A Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted in the days after his acquittal in the Senate trial showed that 53 percent of Republicans would vote for Trump in the primary. Mike Pence received 12 percent in the poll. All other candidates were in the single digits.

But the Utah Senator made clear that he would not be a supporter of Trump, siding with his smaller caucus instead.

“I would probably be getting behind somebody who I thought more represented the tiny wing of the Republican party that I represent,” he said.

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Italian landslide sends 200 coffins falling into the sea

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Italian landslide sends 200 coffins falling into the sea

More than 200 coffins plummeted into the sea when the cliff near a cemetery in coastal Italy collapsed, according to reports.

Workers at Camogli Cemetery, which was built over 100 years ago near the coast of Genoa, first noticed a crack along the cemetery wall on Saturday during some routine maintenance, according to Francesco Olivari, the mayor of Camogli.

“Some signs of fissures were seen. We decided to close the cemetery,” Olivari told CNN.

The 200 coffins were sent into the sea when the cliff collapsed on Monday.

Crews have recovered 10 of the coffins. At least 190 were unaccounted for on Tuesday.

Finding the remaining coffins “will depend on the sea in the coming days,” according to the Regional Assessor of Civil Protection, Giacomo Giampedrone.

As of Monday, Giampedrone said that the port authority has blocked the coastal area near the cemetery to prevent any coffins from floating out to sea.

“This type of collapse that happened today is very hard to detect or to predict,” Olivari said. “This area is subject to this type of collapse — it’s very fragile.”

The Office of Civil Protection in Liguria was called in to assess the situation and see if there was still any further potential of landslides as well as understand the true extent of the damage.

The mayor called this incident an “unimaginable catastrophe.”

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