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At least 20 injured in California train crash

© The Associated Press/Gosia Woznicacka
Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a train derailment in Hanford, Calif., Monday, Oct. 1, 2012.
Hanford, California - Two cars and the locomotive of an Amtrak train carrying about 169 passengers derailed Monday after colliding with a big rig truck in California's Central Valley, authorities said.

At least 20 passengers suffered minor to moderate injuries, authorities said.

The 12:25 p.m. crash occurred when the driver of the tractor-trailer carrying cotton trash failed to yield and hit the train, authorities said. The impact pushed the two passenger cars and the locomotive off the tracks south of Hanford, a farming town.

The train traveled about 600 feet after the collision before hitting a switchback and derailing, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Scott Harris.

Officials have not determined how fast the train or the truck were going, but the average speed for Amtrak through the area is 70 to 80 mph, while the speed limit on the roadway where the truck was traveling is 55 mph, Harris said.

After the crash, metal pieces from the truck could be seen inside the train, which was covered by cotton seeds. Several pieces of luggage were also scattered around the area.


U.S. to contractors: No layoff notices

US, California - The White House took another big step Friday to discourage government contractors from warning employees - just before the November elections - that they could be laid off next year if Congress can't reach a compromise to prevent automatic across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration.

In a memo, the Office of Management and Budget said the government - i.e. taxpayers - would foot the bill if contractors lay off workers as a result of sequestration and get sued for failing to provide the layoff notices required by the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.

William Gould, a Stanford Law School professor emeritus specializing in labor law, says the government's offer to pay for violations of the so-called Warn Act "so far as I'm aware is unprecedented."

The offer applies only to government contractors - not to employers who lay off workers because they lose other types of federal funding such as research grants, according to the OMB.

The Warn Act generally requires private-sector employers with 100 or more full-time employees to give workers at least 60 days' notice of plant closings and layoffs that exceed a certain threshold. If they don't, employees can sue to collect up to 60 days of back pay. There are exceptions, such as if the business can prove the layoff was the result of an "unforeseen business circumstance."


Boat sinks off Hong Kong after collision; 36 dead

© The Associated Press/Vincent Yu
Officials check on a half submerged boat after it collided Monday night near Lamma Island, off the southwestern coast of Hong Kong Island Tuesday Oct. 2, 2012.
Hong Kong - A boat packed with revelers on a long holiday weekend collided with a ferry and sank off Hong Kong, killing at least 36 people and injuring dozens in the deadliest accident to strike the Chinese territory in years.

The boat was carrying utility company workers and their families to famed Victoria Harbour to watch a fireworks display in celebration of China's National Day and mid-autumn festival. The two vessels collided Monday night near Lamma Island off the southwestern coast of Hong Kong Island.

The government said 36 bodies had been recovered as of Tuesday morning and the search was made difficult by low visibility and obstacles on the boat. Details about the victims were not given, though local outlet RTHK reported some of the dead were children.

More than 100 people were rescued and sent to hospitals, and nine had serious or critical injuries, the government's statement said. At least one person appeared to be missing, according to government figures.


New York college student held without bail in murder of 18-year-old coed

© Rochester Photagraphy
Clayton Whittemore, 21, was arrested Saturday and confessed to killing Alexandra Kogut, an 18-year-old freshman communications major.
A New York college student has been charged with second-degree murder in the beating death of his 18-year-old girlfriend, who was found brutally assaulted in her dorm room, police said.

Alexandra Kogut, of New Hartford, N.Y., was found dead in her room at The College at Brockport by university police at about 2:45 a.m. Saturday. The cause of death was blunt force trauma, Monroe County Sheriff's Office Cpl. John Helfer told FoxNews.com.

Kogut's boyfriend, Clayton Whittemore, 21, was later arrested at a rest stop roughly 100 miles away and confessed to killing Kogut, a freshman communications major whose relatives remembered her as a "bright, beautiful" young woman excited to begin her college life.

Whittemore, also of New Hartford, had apparently visited Kogut during the weekend. The student at Utica college helped his high school hockey team with consecutive state titles in 2009 and 2010, WKTV reports.

Whittemore, who pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder during his arraignment Saturday, has nevertheless confessed to killing Kogut, Helfer said.

Arrow Down

Hungry hogs eat Oregon farmer in grisly scene

Pig Farm
Pig farm near Riverton, Oregon, where 700-pound hogs are believed to have eaten their 70-year-old owner.
A family member of an Oregon pig farmer discovered his relative's body parts scattered across the pen - a gruesome find leaving authorities to believe it was a case of hog eating human.

A pathologist couldn't immediately determine whether the pigs were the actual cause of 70-year-old Terry Garner's death, but a forensic expert at the University of Oregon will conduct further tests, CBS affiliate KCBY reported Monday.

"What a way," someone who answered the phone at Garner's home told NBC News.

Investigators aren't ruling out the possibility another person could have been involved.

"Due to the unusual circumstances, the Sheriff's Office is investigating to determine if foul play may have resulted in the death of Mr. Garner," District Attorney Paul Frasier told KCBY.

Garner was at his farm near rural Riverton last Wednesday, when a family member went looking for him, according to The Register-Guard.


Woman lynched for 'witchcraft' in Hazaribag, India

A tribal woman, Dhani Murmu (45) was lynched on Thursday for allegedly practising witchcraft at village Churchu under Churchu police station of Hazaribag district by her brother-in-law and three relatives.

Surendra Ravidas, officer-in-charge of the Churchu police station said on Friday that wife of Nanku Charhe, brother-in-law of the victim was ill for quite for sometime and was not responding to treatment. When all efforts failed, Nanku was compelled to approach 'ojhas and tantriks' to understand the reason behind this and seek ways for speedy recovery. The latter visited Nanku's house and said it was due to the witchcraft by Dhani Murmu that Nanku's wife was not recovering and unless she is eliminated, condition of Nanku's wife will not improve.

On hearing this, Nanku and three other relatives dragged her out of the house and started beating her with lathis due to which she fell unconscious. Her husband Mohan Charhe was out when the incident occurred.

On receiving information about the assault on Dhani, her brother Mantik Murmu rushed to the spot and informed the Churchu police about the incident. The police then removed Dhani from the house and shifted her to a hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.

Later Mantik lodged an FIR against Nanku and three others in the Churchu PS. The Churchu police arrested Nanku and three others- all women for killing Dhani. The people of the locality said Dhani was innocent and had nothing to do with witchcraft.


Experts meet to discuss Maya calendar, debunk end-of-world stories

Mayan Calender
© Fox News
Mexico City - As the clock winds down to Dec. 21, experts on the Mayan calendar have been racing to convince people that the Mayas didn't predict an apocalypse for the end of this year.

Some experts are now saying the Mayas may indeed have made prophecies, just not about the end of the world.

Archaeologists, anthropologists and other experts met Friday in the southern Mexico city of Merida to discuss the implications of the Mayan Long Count calendar, which is made up of 394-year periods called baktuns.

Experts estimate the system starts counting at 3114 B.C., and will have run through 13 baktuns, or 5,125 years, around Dec. 21. Experts say 13 was a significant number for the Mayans, and the end of that cycle would be a milestone - but not an end.

Fears that the calendar does point to the end have circulated in recent years. People in that camp believe the Maya may have been privy to impending astronomical disasters that would coincide with 2012, ranging from explosive storms on the surface of the sun that could knock out power grids to a galactic alignment that could trigger a reversal in Earth's magnetic field.

Mexican government archaeologist Alfredo Barrera said Friday that the Mayas did prophesize, but perhaps about more humdrum events like droughts or disease outbreaks.

Comment: The 2012 Collective Shift & the Secret History of End-Times Prophecies


Six Florida counties investigating 'hundreds' of cases of suspected voter fraud allegations

Election officials in six Florida counties are investigating what appears to be "hundreds" of cases of suspected voter fraud by a GOP consulting firm that has been paid nearly $3 million by the Republican National Committee to register Republican voters in five key battleground states, state officials tell NBC.

But the veteran GOP consultant, Nathan Sproul, who runs the firm, strongly defended his company's conduct, saying it has rigorous "quality controls" and blamed the alleged fraud on the actions of a few "bad apples," workers who were hired to register Republican voters for $12 an hour and then tried to "cheat the system."

The allegations of suspected voter fraud committed by Strategic Allied Consulting of Tempe, Arizona spread Thursday to counties throughout Florida. At the same time, the Republican National Committee said it had severed its ties to the firm altogether.

Eye 2

Jimmy Savile accused of being a sexual predator by five women who claim he abused them when they were underage schoolgirls

  • Jimmy Savile
    © UPPA Ltd.
    'Untouchable': Rantzen said Savile was made into a 'god-like figure'
    Alleged victim says: 'There was a little sort of couch and he would have me lie down on it and just do the sex act'
  • Woman tells TV documentary he raped her in his dressing room
  • 'We colluded with him as a child abuser, claims broadcaster Esther Rantzen
  • She says people in TV 'blocked our ears' to rumours... Savile was made into a 'god-like figure'
  • Sir Jimmy's nephew 'disgusted and disappointed' about allegations
  • Personal assistant of 40 years claims accusers are starstruck fantasists
Five women have branded Sir Jimmy Savile a sexual predator who allegedly raped and abused them when they were underage schoolgirls.

The explosive sex grooming allegations are made in a documentary to be aired on national TV on Wednesday night.

The women, now in their fifties, claim Sir Jimmy was at the peak of his fame when he is said to have molested them in his Rolls-Royce, at a hospital, a school and the BBC Television centre
Jimmy Savile
© photoshot/Retna
Luxury car: Sir Jimmy is said to have taken schoolgirls for rides in his Rolls-Royce

Heart - Black

BBC 'buried Savile sex abuse claims to save its reputation'

The BBC shelved a Newsnight investigation into allegations that Sir Jimmy Savile sexually abused a teenage girl in his dressing room at Television Centre, it has emerged.
Jimmy Savile
© PA
Sir Jimmy Savile was accused of using his role as a BBC presenter to groom girls
The woman claimed that the presenter molested her when she was 14 or 15 after inviting her to recordings of Clunk Click, his 1970s BBC family show.

Newsnight tracked down several other women who claimed that Savile used his role on the programme to groom and abuse teenage girls.

Reporters on the current affairs programme were also told of claims that two other celebrities, both still alive, sexually abused girls at Television Centre in the 1970s.

The BBC had hoped to broadcast the Newsnight report in December, two months after Savile's death, but bosses ordered that the investigation be dropped.

Instead, the corporation screened two tribute programmes celebrating Savile's lengthy BBC career as presenter of Jim'll Fix It and Top of the Pops, and also as a Radio 1 DJ.