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Amtrak crash kills 2, injures over 100; San Francisco, San Diego to right pot convictions; Michigan State faculty take aim at board; more in U.S. news

South Carolina

Amtrak crash kills 2, injures 100

An Amtrak passenger train slammed into a parked freight train in the early-morning darkness Sunday after a thrown switch sent it hurtling down a side track, authorities said. Two Amtrak crew members were killed, and more than 100 people were injured. It was the third deadly wreck involving Amtrak in less than two months. The Silver Star, en route from New York to Miami with nearly 150 people aboard, was going an estimated 59 mph when it struck the empty CSX train around 2:45 a.m., Gov. Henry McMaster said. The crash happened near a switchyard about 10 miles south of Columbia, where railcars hauling automobiles are loaded and unloaded. Many of the passengers were asleep when the crash jolted them awake and forced them into the cold.

California

San Francisco, San Diego officials drop, reduce pot convictions

With pot now legal in California, prosecutors in San Francisco and San Diego are moving to erase thousands of marijuana convictions en masse, a step that could prove life-changing for some and could especially help minorities, who were more likely than whites to be arrested for such crimes. "We want to address the wrongs that were caused by the failures of the war on drugs ... and begin to fix the harm that was done not only to the entire nation but specifically to communities of color," said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, who added prosecutors will review and dismiss convictions automatically. Anyone who was convicted of a marijuana-related misdemeanor will suddenly have a clean record, and marijuana-related felonies could be reduced to misdemeanors. Advocates urge more counties to do the same.

Michigan

Michigan State faculty take aim at board of trustees with vote

Michigan State University faculty are moving ahead with a motion to hold a no-confidence vote on the board of trustees in response to the board’s decision to hire former Gov. John Engler as interim president. If that vote passes at the Faculty Senate’s next meeting, trustees would be called to step down immediately. Faculty members say the board rushed to appoint Engler as interim president and they criticized his lack of academic experience. Engler was hired Wednesday after longtime President Lou Anna Simon resigned. Forcing her out was the growing outcry about the university’s handling of the sexual assault cases involving Nassar, who worked at the university and was the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team doctor. Over 260 women and girls have accused Nassar of abuse.

Maine

Bangor fails for beer can record

Residents in Bangor came just 28 beer cans short of setting a world record. Hundreds of attendees at the city’s annual Chamber Dinner recently were attempting to break the record for simultaneously opening beer cans. WABI-TV reported the beers were mostly supplied by Geaghan Brothers Brewing. The beermaker sent video to the Guinness World Records and got word that they did not break the record set in Japan in 2016 with 1,149 cans. The Bangor attempt managed 1,122, a record for the city itself.

Uma speaks

"Personally, it has taken me 47 years to stop calling
people who are mean to you ‘in love’ with you."

Actress Uma Thurman , in long-awaited remarks to the New York Times, continued: "It took a long time because I think that as little girls we are conditioned to believe that cruelty and love somehow have a connection, and that is like the sort of era that we need to evolve out of." Thurman accused disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of forcing himself on her sexually years ago in a London hotel room. Weinstein, through his attorney, acknowledged making an "awkward pass" but denied assault. She also said director Quentin Tarantino during Kill Bill filming coerced her, instead of using a stunt actor, into driving a car she believed to be faulty, resulting in a crash that permanently damaged her neck, gave her a concussion and damaged her knees. She also said he spit on her face and choked her with a chain for scenes. A Tarantino representative did not reply for comment. — tbt* wires

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Amtrak crash kills 2, injures over 100; San Francisco, San Diego to right pot convictions; Michigan State faculty take aim at board; more in U.S. news