- Commuter trains collide in Connecticut, injuring up to 60 people
- Venezuela frees opposition activist jailed over post-vote violence
- One dead, dozens wounded in sectarian clashes in Egypt
Posted: 17 May 2013 08:23 PM PDT
FAIRFIELD, Connecticut (Reuters) - A commuter train travelling eastbound from New York City derailed near the Connecticut suburb of Fairfield during the evening rush hour on Friday and collided with a westbound commuter train, injuring up to 60 people, three critically, officials said.
The collision of the two Metro North trains forced Amtrak to shut down service indefinitely between New York and Boston, the national railroad said.
Three people were critically injured and 60 people were transported to area hospitals, police said.
"It's pretty devastating damage to a number of cars," Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy told a news conference. "These cars came into contact (and the impact) ripped open the siding of one of the cars. There is extensive damage in the front and the wheels."
The accident occurred shortly after 6 p.m. EDT (2200 GMT), authorities said.
"All of a sudden the train started to shake a little bit ... like something was bumping into it," passenger Rowana Shepherd told CBS television. "One entire compartment from the other train was completely ripped open. The whole side was gone and people were lying in between the trains."
The eastbound train was headed to New Haven, Connecticut, when it derailed and collided with the westbound train that was running to New York's Grand Central Station, said Aaron Donovan, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which runs the commuter railroad.
"The head end of both trains, the front end of both trains, collided and received sustained damage. ... But it was not a full head-on collision," Donovan said.
Metro North is a commuter railroad serving the northern suburbs of New York City. It is operated by the MTA, a New York State agency. Fairfield is about 50 miles north of New York City.
The number of injured could rise because hospital officials were told to prepare to receive up to 180 patients total. Metro North trains can carry up to 300 passengers when full.
Thirty-three people were transported to St. Vincent's Medical Center and 27 to Bridgeport Hospital, police said.
Bridgeport Hospital had two patients with critical injuries, and the others could be described as "walking wounded" with a variety of lesser injuries, spokeswoman Anita Shrum said.
One person had serious head and neck injuries at St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport and the others had minor injuries, spokeswoman Dianne Auger said.
The cause of the derailment was not immediately known. The National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a team of investigators to Connecticut to look into the accident.
Malloy said the collision would have a big impact on the vital rail corridor between Boston and New York City for days.
The Westport and Fairfield stations will be closed to commuter rail and Amtrak service at least through the weekend as workers repair the damage and investigators probe the derailment, he said, adding that there was no reason to believe that it was anything but an accident.
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein, David Bailey, Kevin Gray and Dan Whitcomb; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Philip Barbara)
Copyright © 2013 Reuters
Posted: 17 May 2013 06:34 PM PDT
CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela on Friday released an opposition activist who had been jailed on accusations of inciting violence in the wake of President Nicolas Maduro's narrow election victory in April.
Retired General Antonio Rivero, who government critics described as the first political prisoner of Maduro's government, told a local television station he had been released after nearly three weeks in jail.
"Right now I'm just going to focus on my health," Rivero, who had been on hunger strike during part of his detention, told the Globovision station. "I urge Venezuela, in the name of God, to continue the struggle."
A court had charged him with "conspiracy" and "public instigation" after authorities showed a video of him helping coordinate protesters in the capital's streets during a wave of violence that killed 11 people in the wake of the April 14 vote.
Maduro and allies said opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who lost to Maduro by 1.5 percentage points, fomented the violence in an effort to seize power by force.
They also say anti-government demonstrators burned down state-run health clinics staffed by Cuban doctors, accusations that were later disputed by a prominent human rights group.
The country's congress set up a special commission staffed only by pro-government legislators to investigate the incidents.
Capriles describes Maduro as an illegitimate president and is challenging the results of the election in the country's top court, though few expect it to rule in his favour.
Days before Rivero's arrest, authorities jailed American filmmaker Tim Tracy on accusations that he was working as a U.S. spy and advising opposition student groups on how to destabilize the country.
His family said he was making a documentary, and U.S. officials dismiss the accusations as absurd.
(The story is refiled, changing that to who in first paragraph)
(Reporting by Deisy Buitrago; Writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Eric Walsh)
Copyright © 2013 Reuters
Posted: 17 May 2013 05:33 PM PDT
ALEXANDRIA (Reuters) - One person died and dozens were wounded during clashes between Muslims and Christians late Friday night outside a Coptic church in Egypt's second city, state newspaper al-Ahram reported, in the latest violent sectarian row in the Muslim-majority country.
A quarrel between two young men, one Christian and one Muslim, morphed into a family feud that sparked clashes in a western district of Alexandria.
The two sides threw firebombs at each other before security forces intervened and cordoned off the area around the church.
Police arrested eight people after about two hours of fighting, a security source told Reuters.
In addition to the political and economic turmoil Egypt has endured since Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February 2011, tensions have risen between Muslims and Christians, especially since the election of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in June.
Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's 84 million people and have complained that the authorities have failed to protect them since Mubarak was ousted, giving radical Islamists a free hand.
At least five people were killed and more than 80 injured in clashes last month between Christians and Muslims at the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo after a funeral service for four Christians killed in sectarian violence with Muslims.
(Reporting by Islam Rifae in Alexandria and Ahmed Tolba in Cairo; Writing by Maggie Fick; Editing by Bill Trott)
Copyright © 2013 Reuters
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