Surprise ruling in al-Qaeda case

CHICAGO - In a rare move for terror cases, a federal judge agreed Thursday to release on home confinement an Illinois teenager charged with seeking to travel abroad and join an al-Qaeda-linked group in Syria.

Abdella Ahmad Tounisi, 18, of Aurora, was arrested at O'Hare Airport last month as he allegedly prepared for the first leg of a trip to join al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusrah, which is fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

In arguing for continued detention, prosecutors also noted that Tounisi had allegedly spoken with a friend last year about bombing targets in Chicago. Tounisi is not charged in that case, though the friend, Adel Daoud, awaits trial.

After the surprise ruling, the judge stayed his order for 24 hours to give prosecutors a chance to appeal, which they said they would do. - AP

Column erred, writer leaves

NEW YORK - Columnist Howard Kurtz left the Daily Beast on Thursday, a day after the website retracted one of his articles about the coming-out of NBA player Jason Collins. Both Kurtz and Daily Beast editor Tina Brown confirmed his departure over Twitter.

Kurtz did not acknowledge any link between the retraction and his exit. He tweeted that "as we began to move in different directions, both sides agreed it was best to part company." He added that "this was in the works for some time."

In the retracted post, Kurtz says Collins didn't "come clean" about the fact that he was engaged to be married to a woman before declaring he was gay. But Collins did do that in the Sports Illustrated piece Monday. - AP

Gay marriage is the law in R.I.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Rhode Island on Friday became the 10th state to allow same-sex couples to marry, after Gov. Lincoln Chafee's signature on gay-marriage legislation.

The independent governor signed the bill Thursday evening, shortly after the House gave final approval to the bill. Gay and lesbian Rhode Islanders erupted into cheers after the bill's signature.

The first marriages could take place Aug. 1. - AP