An Amtrak passenger train derailed this morning on its inaugural trip on a new service route near Dupont, Washington killing several people and causing injuries to an even greater number.
The train was going south to Portland, Oregon when it derailed while crossing a bridge over Interstate 5 near DuPont, Washington around 7:40 a.m on Monday and spilled some of its cars onto the highway below, killing at least six people, authorities said.
The death toll is expected to rise. Seventy-eight passengers and five crew members were aboard when the train moving at more than 80 mph derailed about 40 miles south of Seattle on a route that had raised safety concerns.
The deaths “are all contained to the train,” said Ed Troyer, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office spokesman. “It’s pretty horrific.” Troyer said several vehicles on Interstate 5 were struck by falling train cars and multiple motorists were injured, but none killed. Police have not given an official death count, but the Seattle Times says it’s at least six. Seventy seven were hospitalized.
An official briefed on the investigation told reporters that preliminary signs indicate that Train 501 may have struck something before going off the track. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Family of victims were asked to report to the DuPont City Hall to be reunited with their loved ones. They were told not to come to the scene.
Meanwhile, President Trump has used the deadly derailment to call for more infrastructure spending. In a tweet sent about three hours after the accident, Trump said the wreck shows “more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly.”
It was not until ten minutes after his initial tweet that he posted another tweet expressing his sympathies for those who were killed in the accident.
He wrote: “My thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the train accident in DuPont, Washington. Thank you to all of our wonderful First Responders who are on the scene. We are currently monitoring here at the White house.”
Mozambique: Government set to impose license fees for local journalists.
Mozambican government has announced plans to introduce license fees for local and foreign journalists.
Local correspondents will pay $2,500 per trip for media accreditation while foreign correspondents living in Mozambique will be charged $8,300 per year.
Mozambican journalists reporting for foreign news outlets will be required to pay $3,500 for an annual accreditation.
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This is 50 times more than the country’s statutory minimum wage, estimated at around $70 per month.
The plan fees have attracted serious criticism as the move has been viewed as an apparent attempt to discourage reporting from the country.
Mozambique’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has warned that the imposition of licensing fees on the country’s mass media must not compromise the fundamental right of the public to information.
In a statement, the CNDH, added its voice to the chorus of criticism of the proposed fees.
It conceded that the government has the right to update licensing and accreditation fees, but said such a measure should not undermine the right to information.
The CNDH points out that the current legal framework on access to information “takes as its guidelines the greatest divulging of information and free access to information… In other words, access to information is a matter of public interest and this access should be promoted and facilitated”.
It added: “The legal framework meant that the relevant state bodies must take measures to promote the broadest possible access to information”.
CNDS also warns that the enormous fees imposed by the July decree are not in line with the guidelines contained in the legal instruments on the right to information that are in force in the country.
The justification given for the fees is that they are necessary to ensure the sustainability of the sector – but none of the money raised by the fees will go to the media.
The decree states that 60 percent of the money from the fees will go to the state budget, and the remaining 40 per cent will go to the government’s press office (Gabinfo).
Meanwhile, the government is showing signs of backing down.
On Tuesday, its spokesperson, the Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, Ana Comoana, said the decree will be discussed with interested parties before its implementation.
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South Africa: Man cleared of rape after 13 years in jail
After 13 years behind bars in Westville Prison, Njabulo Ndlovu will become a free man after being acquitted of rape at the Pietermaritzburg High Court in Durban.
The 35-year-old uMlazi man was sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of the 2002 gang rape of a pregnant woman who knew him as they went to the same school and their fathers had worked together.
He was 19 and a second-year student at the University of Durban-Westville (today the University of KwaZulu-Natal) at the time. He testified during the trial that he had been nowhere near the place where the gang rape took place.
During the trial, three of the five accused were discharged due to lack of evidence, while Ndlovu and another remained in prison. After Monday, only one accused will remain in prison.
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While Ndlovu was in prison for over a decade, he never lost hope, as he continued pursuing law studies and received a law degree from Unisa in May this year.
And on Friday, a full bench of judges upheld the appeal against Ndlovu’s conviction and sentence. He now intends to sue the minister of justice for damages.