By Andrew Longstreth NEW YORK (Reuters) - For lawyers preparing to sue over Sunday's deadly New York commuter rail accident, their success in court may depend largely on two factors: whether human error caused the derailment and if state or federal law governs railroad safety in the case. A Cook County, Illinois, jury in 2009, awarded more than $29.5 million to a Chicago woman injured in a 2005 commuter train derailment. The investigation into the Metro-North derailment in the Bronx, which killed four and critically injured 11, has centered on the actions of the train's engineer, William Rockefeller. A lawyer for Rockefeller was not immediately available for comment, and the National Transportation Safety Board has said it has not reached a conclusion into the accident's cause and would continue its work for weeks, if not months.
By David Henry and Jim Finkle NEW YORK/BOSTON (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co is warning some 465,000 holders of prepaid cash cards issued by the bank that their personal information may have been accessed by hackers who attacked its network in July. The cards were issued for corporations to pay employees and for government agencies to issue tax refunds, unemployment compensation and other benefits. JPMorgan said on Wednesday it detected that its web servers used by its site www.ucard.chase.com had been breached in the middle of September. Bank spokesman Michael Fusco said that in the months since the breach was discovered the bank has been investigating to find out exactly which accounts were involved and what pieces of information could have been taken.
The National Security Agency gathers nearly 5 billion records a day on the location of mobile telephones worldwide, including those of some Americans, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing sources including documents obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The records feed a database that stores information about the locations of "at least hundreds of millions of devices," the newspaper said, according to the top-secret documents and interviews with intelligence officials. The report said the NSA does not target Americans' location data intentionally, but acquires a substantial amount of information on the whereabouts of domestic cellular telephones "incidentally." One manager told the newspaper the NSA obtained "vast volumes" of location data by tapping into the cables that connect mobile networks globally and that serve U.S. cellphones as well as foreign ones.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Some people were choosing to stay indoors as an arctic blast swept across the Northern Plains, but the prospect of temperatures not cracking single digits had a different effect on the roustabouts, roughnecks and thousands of others working outside in western North Dakota's oil patch.
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) — Herb Weatherwax cruises the open-air grounds of the visitors center at Pearl Harbor on a motorized scooter dubbed "Herb's Hot Rod." When a woman notices his blue and white cap embroidered with the words "Pearl Harbor Survivor," he coaxes her over.
Using a crossbow and arrows, a Florida man shot his wife and teenage son dead in their Miami-area home and drove hundreds of miles north to Tallahassee and wounded his elder son. Officials in the southeast U.S. state are trying to piece together the three-day murder-suicide that began when Pedro Maldonado shot his 47-year-old wife, Monica, and his 17-year-old son, Pedro, with a "hand-held crossbow that shoots small arrows" on Monday in Weston, a suburb outside Fort Lauderdale, Broward Sheriff's Office said in a statement. The 53-year-old man then drove some 450 miles to Tallahassee, in the state's panhandle, and turned the crossbow on his 21-year-old son, Jose, shortly after 7 a.m. on Tuesday. "He tried to shoot him with the small crossbow, but Jose turned, and the arrow hit his ear," the Broward Sheriff's Office said.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Creative industries led by Hollywood account for about $504 billion, or at least 3.2 percent of U.S. goods and services, the government said in its first official measure of how the arts and culture affect the economy.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Jameis Winston will learn whether he faces prosecution Thursday when a state attorney finally announces the results of an intensive investigation into sexual assault allegations against the Florida State quarterback.
NEW YORK (AP) — With a flick of the switch, a 76-foot Norway Spruce officially became the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree after it was illuminated for the first time this holiday season in a ceremony that's been held since 1933.
SEATTLE (AP) — A day after being sued by legally married, gay engineers, the nation's largest freight rail carriers announced they will provide health care benefits to the same-sex spouses of their employees.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A federal judge says he'll do his best to rule by early next year on a legal challenge to a same-sex marriage ban in Utah, after an attorney called for an end to the prohibition by arguing that the precedent has been set by the U.S. Supreme Court and discrimination has gone on long enough.
EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, Fla. (AP) — Wildlife workers will try again Thursday to lead 41 pilot whales out of dangerously shallow waters in Everglades National Park and back to the deep ocean waters where they belong.
DENVER (AP) — The jet stream hunkered to the south Wednesday, promising to bring nearly a week of temperatures that could dip to minus 20 or worse in the northern midsection of the country, and forcing much of the rest of the nation to deal with unexpectedly cool temperatures.
The largest U.S. freight carriers will begin providing medical benefits to the spouses of gay union workers, a rail company coalition said on Wednesday, a day after two same-sex couples sued BNSF Railway for denying equal benefits. The National Railway Labor Conference (NRLC), which represents BNSF Railway Co and other railroad companies in labor negotiations, said the freight haulers would provide dependent healthcare coverage to "eligible" same-sex spouses of railroad employees with coverage beginning on January 1. The NRLC wrote on its website on Wednesday that providing such benefits is not required by current laws or labor contracts but "the railroads agreed with labor to provide this benefit in light of recent changes allowing same-sex couples to access the same federal tax benefits provided to other married couples." The move comes a day after two gay railroad engineers in Washington state, one male and one female, filed a federal discrimination lawsuit in Seattle against BNSF Railway.
By Andrea Shalal-Esa WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 fighter jet is making good progress as it nears initial combat use by the U.S. Marine Corps in July 2015, but the company must still finalize the software needed to deliver weapons and fuse data from its many sensors, the Pentagon's F-35 program chief told Reuters. "Getting to 2015 there's a whole lot of things that have to be put in place, not the least of which is the software on the program," said Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, the Air Force three-star general who took over the helm of the $392 billion F-35 program around one year ago. Officials have also launched an "earnest effort" to ensure that planes already built for the Air Force and Marine Corps are modified to adjust for issues found in flight testing so they are ready for initial combat use, Bogdan said. The Air Force has said it plans to start using its conventional takeoff F-35 jets from mid-2016.
NEW YORK (AP) — A Norman Rockwell painting titled "Saying Grace" sold at an auction on Wednesday for $46 million, a record for the Saturday Evening Post illustrator and for any work sold at an American art auction, Sotheby's said.
Organizations that objected to Detroit's bankruptcy separately asked the U.S. judge overseeing the case late on Wednesday to allow an appeal of the case to go directly to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Groups led by Detroit's largest union - Michigan Council 25 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees - and the city's two pension funds filed requests with the bankruptcy court to bypass the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and go directly to the appeals court.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The brother-in-law of a man shot by a New Orleans police officer days after Hurricane Katrina testified Wednesday that Henry Glover was hit while he was standing still lighting a cigarette, but a fellow officer later testified Glover was running away.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A plan by the New Zealand government to upgrade the country's notoriously slow Internet service has hit a snag after accountants confirmed the main contractor is facing financial problems.