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Leaders warned of danger from new route before Amtrak derailment in Washington

Published: Monday, December 18, 2017 @ 3:16 PM

Train Derails In Washington State, Injuries and Casualties Reported

City leaders in Lakewood, South Sound residents and members of the media had warned that the Point Defiance Bypass route, on which numerous people were killed or injured when an Amtrak Cascades passenger train derailed Monday near Lacey, could lead to fatal accidents and traffic disruptions.

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Amtrak Cascades Train 501 derailed Monday morning during its inaugural run on the Point Defiance Bypass route. The train left the tracks on an Interstate 5 overpass in Pierce County, slamming into cars and throwing passengers and crew members. Authorities confirmed that multiple people were killed, but they declined to say how many by early Monday afternoon.

The editorial board of The News Tribune in Tacoma questioned in 2013 whether the new line, which shaved about 10 minutes off the Seattle-to-Portland route, was worth the threat to public safety.

>> Related: Here’s what the Amtrak engineer said in his call for help after the Washington derailment

“A train accident on tracks near I-5 easily could create backups stretching miles in both directions,” the editorial board wrote. “Is making the train ride to Portland 10 minutes quicker worth the threat to public safety and all the disruption it will create for thousands of drivers? Is the state really that desperate for federal rail funds?”

>> Related: Fatalities reported after train derails onto Interstate 5 in Washington

The new high-speed route takes trains inland and runs parallel to Interstate 5 through Tacoma, Lakewood, Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Dupont, separating passenger trains from freight trains that continue to use a waterfront route. It’s the same route that Sound Transit uses for its Sounder commuter train, but that is not a high-speed train.

The News Tribune was not alone in its fear of what could happen.

>> Photos: Amtrak train derails in Washington

The city of Lakewood sued Amtrak to stop the rerouting, and Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson and some residents in the area have long voiced their concerns about the danger.

At a city meeting on Dec. 5, Anderson said he believed the trains were too close to traffic and pedestrians.

>> Related: A history of some of Amtrak's deadliest derailments

“Come back when there is that accident, and try to justify not putting in those safety enhancements, or you can go back now and advocate for the money to do it, because this project was never needed and endangers our citizens,” Anderson said at the city meeting.

Anderson also told local media that it would be only a matter of time before the high-speed trains kill someone.

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Florida man sets girlfriend on fire during argument, police say

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 @ 10:19 PM

(Palm Beach Post)
(Palm Beach Post)

A 55-year-old Gainesville man was charged with attempted murder after setting his girlfriend on fire Wednesday night, according to authorities

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Roosevelt Kitchen is currently being held at the Alachua County Jail on a $1 million bond, The Gainesville Sun reports. 

Police said they found the woman in a neighbor’s bathtub with “melted skin” from the gasoline poured on her, according to The Sun. 

At about 11 p.m., Kitchen got into an argument with his girlfriend of four years after they were both drinking and using narcotics, police told The Sun. 

The woman then left the apartment, returned and left again to sit on a neighbor’s porch, The Sun reports.

After Kitchen saw her, he approached her on the porch with a red gasoline can and doused her with it. A witness told police he heard Kitchen ask “Anyone got a lighter?” before he pulled one from his pocket and set the victim on fire. 

The woman and her neighbor were unable to put out the flames and took off her burning clothes instead, police said

She was taken to a hospital for her injuries and told authorities that Kitchen had threatened to set her on fire before. 

Read more at The Gainesville Sun

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Historic summit between North and South Korea focuses on denuclearization

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 @ 9:09 PM

South Koreans hold up placards of South Korean President Moon Jae-In and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un during a rally welcoming the planned Inter Korean Summit in front of Presidential Blue House on April 26, 2018 in Seoul, South Korea. 
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images
South Koreans hold up placards of South Korean President Moon Jae-In and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un during a rally welcoming the planned Inter Korean Summit in front of Presidential Blue House on April 26, 2018 in Seoul, South Korea. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

A historic summit between the leaders of North and South Korea got underway Friday in what could lead to an end to the decadeslong rivalry and years of suspicion and antagonism between the two countries.

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The two nations seemed on the brink of war just a few short months ago, but now in an extraordinary about face, South Korean President Moon Jae-In and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un are meeting at the Presidential Blue House in the Joint Security Area in the border village of Panmunjom.

It’s the first time since the Korean War ended in 1953 that a leader of North Korea has crossed into the southern section of the Demilitarized Zone, news outlets reported.

>> Related: North Korea: What you should know about the country and its people

Moon, an advocate of peace between the two countries, and Kim, supreme leader of the communist north since 2011, are expected to focus on three main topics --denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, a peace settlement and improved relations, but denuclearization is expected to dominate the discussions, according to The Associated Press.

Here are widely unknown facts about North Korea.

It’s unclear whether the closed-door meeting between Moon and Kim will lead to any progress in persuading the North Korean dictator to shut down his nuclear weapons program, something that has eluded the South and world leaders for years.

>> Related: What is an ICBM and why should we be worried because North Korea has one?

The summit precedes a meeting between United States President Donald Trump and Kim, which is expected in May or June.

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Watch: Good Samaritans lift car off trapped victims after crash

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 @ 7:49 AM

Good Samaritans Rescue Car Crash Victims, Lift Vehicle

An amazing feat of strength was caught on camera.

Four people were hurt when they were hit by a car that crashed on a sidewalk in Washington, D.C. Tuesday. Police said a pickup hit a sedan when it took a turn too wide, WJLA reported. The sedan jumped the curb and ran into pedestrians. 

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But it was the actions of bystanders that is what people are focusing on. They rushed to the car to try to pull the pedestrians from under the wreckage. The group of people actually lifted and moved the car off two people and the entire thing was caught on video, WJLA reported.

WRC reported more than a dozen people rushed to help.

In all four people were hit by the car and were injured in the crash, but police said they were all conscious and breathing, taken to area hospitals, WJLA reported.

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Amazon Prime increasing membership fee 20% to $119 in May for new members

Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 @ 6:40 PM

Amazon Prime Increasing Membership 20 Percent In May For New Members

Amazon is increasing its membership fee for its Prime subscription service by 20 percent starting next month, according to media reports.

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On an earnings conference call Thursday, the tech company’s chief financial officer, Brian Olsavsky, said the increase takes effect May 11, MarketWatch reported.

“We're going to increase the price of our U.S. annual plan from $99 to $119 for new members," Olsavsky said.

Existing Prime members will have until June 16 to renew their membership for the year for $99.

Last week, CEO Jeff Bezos revealed that for the first time, Prime has some 100 million members.

Amazon announced in January that it would increase the $99 cost for monthly Prime subscriptions for the first time in about four years. 

>> Related: Amazon raises monthly Prime membership rate

Prime members receive free two-day shipping on most merchandise orders, access to streaming services and additional benefits.

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