Nation & World News

WATCH: Video Shows Women Narrowly Escape Death On Railroad Tracks

By Eyder Peralta on July 30th, 2014 | Last updated: July 30, 2014 at 10:55 am

The video is harrowing. It shows two women narrowly escaping death after a train is unable to come to a stop before running them over.

The Indiana Rail Road, which released the video to show the dangers of tresspassing on rail roads, describes the scene like this:

“The person who first saw the trespassers was the engineer in the lead locomotive of a northbound, 14,000-ton Indiana Rail Road (INRD) freight train traveling at 30 mph. Imagine, if you will, rounding a curve just before a 500-foot-long, 80-foot-high bridge, only to find two subjects sitting in your train’s path.

“The engineer followed all appropriate protocols, immediately applying an emergency brake application and repeatedly sounded the horn. However, as the subjects ran toward the opposite end of the viaduct, the engineer was helpless to do more. The ever-slowing train was still catching up to the fleeing trespassers.

“Nearly every locomotive in North America – including INRD’s – is equipped with video cameras for safety and security purposes. Video shows that with more than 100 feet left to the end of the bridge, and the train still catching them, one woman slammed her body onto the ties between the rails. The other veered to the left and nearly fell off the bridge, and then with the locomotive approximately 30 feet away, she too ‘hit the deck’ between the rails.

“By the time the train came to a stop, the locomotives were off the bridge; they completely passed the point where the subjects stopped running. The engineer assumed he had just killed two people; Monroe County Sheriff’s Department was quickly alerted. Miraculously, however, the two subjects survived, and escaped to a nearby vehicle and fled the scene.”

Here is the video:

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WATCH: Video Shows Women Narrowly Escape Death On Railroad Tracks

By Eyder Peralta on July 30th, 2014 | Last updated: July 30, 2014 at 10:55 am

The video is harrowing. It shows two women narrowly escaping death after a train is unable to come to a stop before running them over.

The Indiana Rail Road, which released the video to show the dangers of tresspassing on rail roads, describes the scene like this:

“The person who first saw the trespassers was the engineer in the lead locomotive of a northbound, 14,000-ton Indiana Rail Road (INRD) freight train traveling at 30 mph. Imagine, if you will, rounding a curve just before a 500-foot-long, 80-foot-high bridge, only to find two subjects sitting in your train’s path.

“The engineer followed all appropriate protocols, immediately applying an emergency brake application and repeatedly sounded the horn. However, as the subjects ran toward the opposite end of the viaduct, the engineer was helpless to do more. The ever-slowing train was still catching up to the fleeing trespassers.

“Nearly every locomotive in North America – including INRD’s – is equipped with video cameras for safety and security purposes. Video shows that with more than 100 feet left to the end of the bridge, and the train still catching them, one woman slammed her body onto the ties between the rails. The other veered to the left and nearly fell off the bridge, and then with the locomotive approximately 30 feet away, she too ‘hit the deck’ between the rails.

“By the time the train came to a stop, the locomotives were off the bridge; they completely passed the point where the subjects stopped running. The engineer assumed he had just killed two people; Monroe County Sheriff’s Department was quickly alerted. Miraculously, however, the two subjects survived, and escaped to a nearby vehicle and fled the scene.”

Here is the video:

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
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WATCH: Video Shows Women Narrowly Escape Death On Railroad Tracks

By Eyder Peralta on July 30th, 2014 | Last updated: July 30, 2014 at 10:55 am

The video is harrowing. It shows two women narrowly escaping death after a train is unable to come to a stop before running them over.

The Indiana Rail Road, which released the video to show the dangers of tresspassing on rail roads, describes the scene like this:

“The person who first saw the trespassers was the engineer in the lead locomotive of a northbound, 14,000-ton Indiana Rail Road (INRD) freight train traveling at 30 mph. Imagine, if you will, rounding a curve just before a 500-foot-long, 80-foot-high bridge, only to find two subjects sitting in your train’s path.

“The engineer followed all appropriate protocols, immediately applying an emergency brake application and repeatedly sounded the horn. However, as the subjects ran toward the opposite end of the viaduct, the engineer was helpless to do more. The ever-slowing train was still catching up to the fleeing trespassers.

“Nearly every locomotive in North America – including INRD’s – is equipped with video cameras for safety and security purposes. Video shows that with more than 100 feet left to the end of the bridge, and the train still catching them, one woman slammed her body onto the ties between the rails. The other veered to the left and nearly fell off the bridge, and then with the locomotive approximately 30 feet away, she too ‘hit the deck’ between the rails.

“By the time the train came to a stop, the locomotives were off the bridge; they completely passed the point where the subjects stopped running. The engineer assumed he had just killed two people; Monroe County Sheriff’s Department was quickly alerted. Miraculously, however, the two subjects survived, and escaped to a nearby vehicle and fled the scene.”

Here is the video:

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
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Gaza Conflict: Shell Strikes U.N. School, Killing Up To 19 Who Sought Shelter

By Eyder Peralta on July 30th, 2014 | Last updated: July 30, 2014 at 9:54 am

As many as 19 people were killed when a shell struck a school run by the United Nations in Gaza, this morning.

In a message on Twitter, Pierre Krähenbühl, the commissioner-general of UNRWA, which is responsible for the welfare of Palestinian refugees, blamed the attack on the Israeli military.

“Children, women and men killed & injured as they slept in place where they should have been safe and protected,” Krähenbühl said, referring to the fact that the school was being used as a shelter. “They were not. Intolerable.”

According to Krähenbühl, this is the sixth time shells have hit a UNRWA school. He called this incident “a breaking point.”

NPR’s Emily Harris reports that this is the second time a U.N. school has been hit and people have been killed.

With that, here’s what you need to know as the conflict enters its 23rd day.

– Israeli Response:

A spokesman for the Israeli Army tells the Washington Post that Israeli forces “came under mortar fire earlier Wednesday from a point near the school in the Jebaliya refugee camp and responded toward the source of the fire.”

They will review the incident.

– The Death Toll:

NPR’s Emily Harris reports the death toll in Gaza has exceeded 1,200. The death toll in Israel is 56, which includes three civilians.

Here’s the United Nations’ breakdown of those numbers, but note the graphic has not caught up with the current tolls:

– The Peace Process:

The conflict does not seem to be ending any time soon.

As Emily explained on Morning Edition, it’s hard to tell what both sides are thinking but what’s clear is that “neither side seems to be in a position to get what they want to end this fighting.”

Remember: Israel is seeking a complete demilitarization of Gaza, which Hamas is unlikely to accept and Hamas is seeking an end to the blockade of Gaza by Israel and Egypt, which Israel is unlikely to accept.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports Israel is considering submitting a resolution to the U.N. Security Council that would end the fighting. A resolution of that kind ended the 1996 Lebanon war.

Emily reports one Israeli official said Israel would only pursue this route if the U.S. agreed.

– A Temporary Cease-Fire:

The AP reports:

“The Israeli military says it’s declared a four-hour cease-fire in some areas of the Gaza Strip for humanitarian reasons.”

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Water Main Break Dumps Up To 10 Million Gallons Of Water, Flooding UCLA

By Eyder Peralta on July 30th, 2014 | Last updated: July 30, 2014 at 8:54 am

A 90-year-old water main broke near the University of California, Los Angeles, on Tuesday, spilling 8 to 10 million gallons of water.

As The Los Angeles Times explains, officials are facing some tough questions this morning because it took them about four hours to figure out which valve needed to be closed. Meanwhile, water rushed into the campus, flooding many university buildings including the track and field facility and Pauley Pavilion, which just underwent a $136-million renovation. At one point, the Times reports, the pavilion was under eight inches of water.

But the surreal drama of it all was perhaps best captured by Instagram user tony_ker. The video he posted showed some stairs looking like waterfalls:

The AP reports when the 30-inch main burst, it sent water 30 feet into the air. The AP adds:

“The break came amid a historic drought when residents are now being threatened with $500 fines for overuse.

“‘We lost a lot of water, around 35,000 gallons a minute, which is not ideal in the worst drought in the city’s history,’ City Councilman Paul Koretz said. …

“Firefighters, some using inflatable boats, saved at least five people who were stranded in the structures where more than 100 cars were stuck, city fire officials said. No injuries were reported.”

The Los Angeles Times reports officials with the Department of Water and Power were stuck in rush hour traffic. After they got to the scene, Jim McDaniel, DWP’s senior assistant general manager, said they had to do research “to get to the correct valve.” The city, he said, did not want to close the wrong valve because it “would have left people without water.”

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Bombing Ruins Gaza’s Only Power Plant

By Alan Greenblatt on July 29th, 2014 | Last updated: July 30, 2014 at 9:54 am

Israel broadened its assault on Gaza on Tuesday, reportedly wrecking the region’s only power plant and killing more than 125 Palestinians.

Barrages “destroyed Hamas’s media offices, the home of a top leader and what Palestinians said was a devastating hit on the only electricity plant,” The New York Times reports.

Israel’s military said it was looking into the Gaza power plant strike.

The bombings came on a day when hope briefly arose about a new cease-fire. Both Israeli and Palestinian officials in the West Bank discussed the possibility.

But Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, rejected the idea.

“We don’t accept any condition of cease-fire,” Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif said on Hamas broadcast outlets. “There is no cease-fire without the stop of the aggression and the end of the siege.”

With Tuesday’s bombings, which The Guardian described as “the most relentless and widespread” of the three-week-old conflict, the Palestinian death toll has exceeded 1,200.

The shelling of the power plant, which Palestinian officials described as taking a devastating hit, will bring additional hardship. The lack of electricity will make existing problems with water and sewage far worse.

“We need at least one year to repair the power plant, the turbines, the fuel tanks and the control room,” Fathi Sheik Khalil of the Gaza energy authority told the Guardian. “Everything was burned.”

On All Things Considered, NPR’s Emily Harris described how one family in Gaza spent the Muslim holiday of Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan.

Some family members have been killed, others injured and nearly all displaced. “There are 53 people staying in this three-bedroom apartment,” Harris reported, “including, the mothers say, at least eight infants.”

On the diplomatic front, there was disagreement between the U.S. and Israel about what had been said in private conversations among top officials.

The White House dismissed as “totally false” a report on Israel’s Channel 1 that President Obama told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a telephone call Sunday that Israel must immediately end its military offensive in Gaza and was not in a position to choose which countries could mediate a cease-fire.

“We have seen reports of an alleged POTUS-Netanyahu transcript; neither reports nor alleged transcript bear any resemblance to reality,” tweeted the National Security Council’s press account.

For their part, Netanyahu’s aides denied Secretary of State John Kerry’s characterization of one of his many conversations with the Israeli prime minister. Kerry suggested Tuesday that Netanyahu had asked him to “try to get a humanitarian cease-fire,” but the prime minister’s staff said the cease-fire idea was actually Kerry’s.

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Court Rejects Law Threatening Mississippi’s Last Abortion Clinic

By Alan Greenblatt on July 29th, 2014 | Last updated: July 29, 2014 at 5:59 pm

A federal appeals court has rejected a Mississippi law that would have forced the state’s only abortion clinic to close.

In a 2-1 decision, a panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday turned aside arguments that women seeking to have an abortion could have the procedure done in a neighboring state.

Closing the clinic in Jackson would place an “undue burden” on women, the court found.

“Pre-viability, a woman has the constitutional right to end her pregnancy by abortion,” Judge E. Grady Jolly wrote for the majority. “Mississippi may not shift its obligation to respect the established constitutional rights of its citizens to another state.”

The Mississippi law, enacted in 2012, requires abortion providers to have on staff doctors with admitting privileges at neighboring hospitals. Physicians at the Jackson clinic applied for privileges at area hospitals, but were unable to obtain them.

Other states have passed similar requirements, which has led to the closure of numerous clinics in states such as Texas and Ohio.

In March, a 5th Circuit panel upheld the Texas law, finding that it did not endanger women’s health. The number of abortion clinics operating in Texas has dropped by half over the past year.

With today’s ruling, the judges signaled that while closing many clinics is OK, a law that forces the closure of a state’s very last clinic is not.

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Y’all Keep Talking: Lab Scratches ‘Southern Accent Reduction’ Course

By Alan Greenblatt on July 29th, 2014 | Last updated: July 29, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Government scientists can speak Southern after all.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory has announced that in response to complaints from staff, it’s canceling plans to hold a six-week “Southern Accent Reduction” course, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports.

Officials at the scientific complex in east Tennessee said they had only been responding to an employee request. They’ve now responded to the anger of offended workers.

“Given the way that it came across, they decided to cancel it,” lab spokesman David Keim told the News Sentinel. “It probably wasn’t presented in the right way and made it look like ORNL had some problem with having a Southern accent, which of course we don’t. That was not the intent at all.”

Oak Ridge had distributed a notice announcing instruction would be available from “a nationally certified speech pathologist and accent reduction trainer.”

“Feel confident in a meeting when you need to speak with a more neutral American accent, and be remembered for what you say and not how you say it,” the notice promised.

The lab is not the first entity to suggest that a Southern drawl sounds ignorant to some listeners. “Studies have shown that whether you are from the North or South, a Southern twang pegs the speaker as comparatively dimwitted, but also likely to be a nicer person than folks who speak like a Yankee,” Scientific American noted in 2012.

But bear in mind, a survey last fall by a dating site found that Southern accents are widely considered the nation’s sexiest.

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Chances Are Pretty Good That’s A Bill Collector Calling

By Marilyn Geewax on July 29th, 2014 | Last updated: July 29, 2014 at 2:54 pm

In about one-third of U.S. households, the sound of a phone or doorbell ringing may trigger a desire to duck.

That’s because roughly 77 million adults with a credit file have at least one debt in the collection process, according to a study released by the Urban Institute, a research group. A credit file includes all of the raw data that a credit bureau can use to rank a borrower’s creditworthiness.

Some of those debts can be quite small — perhaps just a $25 overdue water bill. But some are substantial, and all can hurt a family’s long-term economic prospects, the study found.

“In addition to creating difficulties today, delinquent debt can lower credit scores and result in serious future consequences. Credit scores are used to determine eligibility for jobs, access to rental housing and mortgages, insurance premiums, and access to (and the price of) credit in general,” the study concluded.

The typical adult in trouble with bill collectors has a median debt of $1,350 in the collection process.

We aren’t talking about home loans here. This report looks at nonmortgage debt, such as credit-card balances, stacked-up medical bills or past-due utility bills. These are debts that are more than 180 days past due and have been placed in collections. The study didn’t count personal debts, such as loans from family members, or pawnshop loans.

Nevada, a state hit hard by foreclosures, has the worst problem with overdue bills. There, just under half of the residents with credit files have debt in collections, according to the study. The Urban Institute based its report on a random sampling of 7 million people with 2013 credit bureau data from TransUnion, a major consumer credit reporting agency.

While Nevada is a standout, problems with debt are concentrated mostly in the South, the study found. Of the 12 states besides Nevada with high levels of debt in collection, 11 are Southern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia. The 12th state is New Mexico.

The states with the fewest troubled debtors are Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

About 22 million Americans have no credit file, which typically means they are too poor to have any credit at all. In other words, the study underreports the financial troubles of the truly poor and is more a reflection of the stresses on middle-class families in the U.S.

The report talks about the problems with “snowballing” debt. A lot of these overdue bills start out as relatively minor problems, such as past-due gym memberships or cellphone contracts. But once those old bills get turned over to the collection industry, troubles mount for the debtors, whose credit scores worsen.

Here’s an odd twist to the debt story in the post-recession era: Most people are actually cleaning up their credit-card debt. The American Bankers Association said earlier this month that as a share of Americans’ income, credit-card debt has slipped to the lowest level in more than a decade.

Today, about 2.44 percent of credit-card accounts are overdue by 30 days or more, compared with the 15-year average of 3.82 percent, according to the ABA Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin.

In other words, most people these days are more focused on paying off their bills. “More and more consumers are using their credit cards as a payment vehicle, paying off or paying down their balances each month,” the ABA’s chief economist, James Chessen, said in a statement.

Here’s another peculiar point: The recession really hasn’t done much to change the percentage of Americans dealing with debt collection. A decade ago, a study done by Federal Reserve economists concluded that just more than one-third of individuals with credit records had a debt in the collection process.

For the people who have fallen behind on nonmortgage debts, being in the hole hurts because it undermines their long-term prospects.

“High levels of delinquent debt and its associated consequences, such as limited access to traditional credit, can harm both families and the communities in which they live,” the Urban Institute study concludes.

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This One Is Worth Watching: New Zealand Retirees Join ‘Happy’ Meme

By Eyder Peralta on July 29th, 2014 | Last updated: July 29, 2014 at 4:55 pm

At this point, you’ve surely decided that you’ve watched more than enough Internet remakes of Pharrell’s infectious anthem to felicity, “Happy.”

But there’s one more worth watching. According to Mashable, it was made by “sixty residents and staffers at the Diana Isaac Retirement Village in Christchurch, New Zealand.”

Even though the seniors are a little late to the meme, we have to admit, their video makes for the perfect break from all the serious news:

Oh, and dance videos are a Two-Way subbeat. So if you haven’t had enough, here are some of our past offerings:

WATCH: Two Dance Videos That’ll Make Your Day

WATCH: A Big Upset Leads To Some Awesome Dancing

VIDEOS: Christmas-Themed ‘Senior Citizen Flash Mobs’ Are Spreading

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