60 sent to hospitals as NYC commuter trains collide in Connecticut after 'major derailment'
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) — Two commuter trains serving New York City collided in Connecticut during Friday's evening rush hour, sending 60 people to the hospital, including five with critical injuries, Gov. Dannel Malloy said.
About 250 people were on board the Metro-North trains when one heading east from New York City's Grand Central Station to New Haven derailed about 6:10 p.m. just outside Bridgeport, MTA and Bridgeport officials said.
The train was hit by a train heading west from New Haven to Grand Central on an adjacent track, MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan said. Some cars on the second train also derailed as a result of the collision.
Lola Oliver, 49, of Bridgeport, was on one of the trains when she suddenly found herself in mid-air.
"Finally I came to a stop on one of the seats. And I just gripped it because I felt the train sliding. It happened so fast I had no idea what was going on. All I know is we crashed," she told The Associated Press in a hospital interview.
Investigator says he told top Treasury officials of IRS probe in June of campaign year 2012
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senior Treasury officials were made aware in June 2012 that investigators were looking into complaints from tea party groups that they were being harassed by the Internal Revenue Service, a Treasury inspector general said Friday, disclosing that Obama administration officials knew there was a probe during the heat of the presidential campaign.
J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, testified alongside ousted IRS head Steven Miller, who did little to subdue Republican outrage during hours of intense congressional questioning. Both defiant and apologetic, Miller acknowledged agency mistakes in targeting tea party groups for special scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status, but he insisted that agents broke no laws and that there was no effort to cover up their actions.
Miller only stoked the criticism of many Republicans, who are assailing the administration on a sudden spate of other controversies, as well, even as some Democrats tried to contain the political damage.
"I don't know that I got any answers from you today," Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., told Miller. "I am more concerned today than I was before."
At one point in the day's hearing, Treasury IG George said he had told the department's general counsel about his investigation on June 4, 2012, and Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin "shortly thereafter." But, George cautioned, those discussions were "not to inform them of the results of the audit. It was to inform them of the fact that we were conducting the audit."
Hagel orders military to recertify all who have roles in sexual abuse prevention programs
WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Friday ordered the military to recertify all 25,000 people involved in programs designed to prevent and respond to sexual assault, an acknowledgement that assaults have escalated beyond the Pentagon's control.
He said this step, which also applies to the military's approximately 19,000 recruiters and must be completed by July 1, is one among many that will be taken to fix the problem of sexual abuse and sexual harassment within every branch of the military.
At a news conference with Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Hagel said he believes alcohol use is "a very big factor" in many sexual assault and sexual harassment cases, but there are many pieces to the problem.
He and Dempsey spoke one day after all of the military's leadership were summoned to the White House to discuss the sexual assault problem with President Barack Obama, who has expressed impatience with the Pentagon's failure to solve it.
At his Pentagon news conference, Hagel said it has become clear to him since taking office in February that holding people accountable for their actions is important, but simply firing people is not a solution. He said he gets a lot of advice on that.
Record Powerball jackpot entices workers to organize office pools; some tips to avoid trouble
In workplaces across the nation, Americans are inviting their colleagues to chip in $2 for a Powerball ticket and a shared daydream.
The office lottery pool is a way to improve your odds and have a little fun with co-workers. And besides, who wants to be the only person at work the next day when everyone quits?
With $600 million on the line, this is the time to play. It's the largest-ever Powerball jackpot and the second-largest world jackpot of all time. And it could get even bigger before Saturday's drawing.
The Multi-State Lottery Association recognizes the popularity of work pools, especially when the stakes are so high. In the last few years, lottery officials have offered tips for organizing pools.
"The appeal is they can stretch the value of their $2," said Norm Lingle, executive director of the South Dakota Lottery and chairman of the Powerball Executive Committee.
OJ Simpson's ex-lawyer contradicts former football star's testimony on guns, legal strategy
LAS VEGAS (AP) — O.J. Simpson's former lawyer defended himself point-by-point Friday against allegations he botched the former football star's armed-robbery trial, after giving damaging testimony that Simpson actually knew his buddies had guns when they went to a hotel room together to reclaim some sports memorabilia.
Miami-based attorney Yale Galanter quickly found himself under withering cross-examination from a Simpson lawyer intent on proving that Galanter's word couldn't be trusted — that he knew ahead of time of Simpson's plan and spent more effort covering up his involvement than representing Simpson.
The weeklong hearing concluded late Friday with Clark County District Judge Linda Marie Bell telling attorneys she will issue her decision in writing. She didn't specify a date.
Simpson was returned to prison custody. His attorneys, Patricia Palm and Ozzie Fumo, said they were optimistic that the judge would grant a new trial.
"I just think the evidence of his claims is overwhelming," Palm said.
Pa. coffee run leads to arrest for famed hatchet-wielding hitchhiker wanted in NJ killing
ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) — Two cups of coffee ended life on the run for an Internet sensation known as Kai the hatchet-wielding hitchhiker.
An employee at a Starbucks in Philadelphia is credited with recognizing 24-year-old Caleb "Kai" McGillvary, whose fledgling celebrity took a turn toward notoriety when authorities announced this week that he was wanted in the beating death of a New Jersey lawyer three times his age.
The unlikely pair met amid the neon lights of New York City's Times Square over the weekend and headed back to the squat brick home of 73-year-old Joseph Galfy Jr. on a quiet cul-de-sac in suburban Clark, N.J., authorities say. On Monday, Galfy was found beaten to death in his bedroom, wearing only his socks and underwear. McGillvary was arrested Thursday shortly after leaving the Starbucks and charged with killing Galfy.
McGillvary gained a measure of fame in February after intervening in an attack on a California utility worker. In an interview viewed millions of times online, he described using a hatchet he was carrying to repeatedly hit a man who had struck a worker with his car, fending off a further attack, and thus became known as "Kai the hatchet-wielding hitchhiker."
Galfy's funeral was held Friday in a small stone chapel in Warren, N.J. He was buried in East Hanover.
Sheriff: Granbury residents can return to tornado-ravaged area Saturday to start recovery
GRANBURY, Texas (AP) — Residents whose homes were torn apart or blown away by a North Texas deadly tornado can soon return to retrieve what belongings may be left and start cleaning up, authorities said Friday.
In Granbury, the area hardest hit by Wednesday night's exceptionally strong tornado, workers are trying to restore water service, raise electrical lines and clear debris piles filled with insulation, roof tiles, pieces of carpet, a shoe, a teddy bear, a woman's purse.
Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds said authorities will only allow residents of the Rancho Brazos Estates neighborhood back in to survey things starting Saturday morning.
But Jerry Shuttlesworth won't be one of them. He doesn't know where his mobile home ended up, but he finally has his only treasured possession: his bull-terrier mix, Junior, who had been missing since the tornado that left six people dead swept through the city 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth.
Shuttlesworth, 53, broke three bones in one of his feet and suffered a 2-inch gash in his forehead.
NM mom credits 'mother's instincts' in chase of 4-year-old daughter's abductor
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Melissa Torrez didn't even think when teenagers in her apartment complex said a man had just grabbed her 4-year-old girl and drove away.
She jumped in her car and began chasing the brown Buick through traffic, zigzagging on Interstate 40 at high speeds and staying with the car even as it bluffed trying to exit in an attempt to lose her.
Many called Torrez a hero after her story came out Wednesday. But Torrez said Friday that she was just a mother following her instincts.
"My mind went black. I grabbed my keys," said the 27-year-old mother of three. "I just got in my car and I ... went looking for her."
Torrez said she remained only focused on getting her daughter back and quickly drove around the complex as teenagers chased the suspected abductor, later identified by police as 31-year-old David Hernandez. The teenagers pointed out his whereabouts, she said.
Ex-Groupon CEO Mason 'takin' care of business' with motivational album, plans for new company
NEW YORK (AP) — Former Groupon CEO Andrew Mason is diving into several new ventures, including indulging his inner rock star with an album of "motivational business music."
Mason said Thursday on his blog that he recently spent a week in Los Angeles and recorded a collection of seven songs called "Hardly Workin'."
Mason said he wants to present business wisdom to younger people and that the songs will help them understand ideas that are critical to becoming productive and effective employees. He said many of Groupon's employees are young and many didn't have much familiarity with business, and didn't want to read books on the subject.
Mason plans to start a new company in the fall. He didn't disclose details but said he'll be moving to San Francisco from Chicago. He also said he is taking an advisory position at Y Combinator, a selective incubator program that supports development of entrepreneurial companies. Mason said he will spend one day every week at the firm's offices and will advise new startups.
Mason did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Technology media website TechCrunch said it had confirmed with Mason that he was serious about the album.
Ken Venturi, US Open golf champion and longtime broadcaster, dies at 82
Ken Venturi, who overcame dehydration to win the 1964 U.S. Open and spent 35 years in the booth for CBS Sports, died Friday afternoon. He was 82.
His son, Matt Venturi, said he died in a hospital in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Venturi had been hospitalized the last two months for a spinal infection, pneumonia, and then an intestinal infection that he could no longer fight.
Venturi died 11 days after he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
He couldn't make it to the induction. His sons, Matt and Tim, accepted on his behalf after an emotional tribute by Jim Nantz, who worked alongside Venturi at CBS.
"When dad did receive the election into the Hall of Fame, he had a twinkle in his eye, and that twinkle is there every day," Tim Venturi said that night.