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December 5, 2013, 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.
Tens or hundreds of millions of dollars could be at stake, based on previous cases. A Cook County, Illinois, jury in 2009, awarded more than $29.5 million to a Chicago woman injured in a 2005 commuter train derailment. (Click for more)
December 5, 2013, 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. (Click for more)
December 5, 2013, By Alexei Oreskovic, SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The agency that oversees development in the San Francisco Bay in California has begun a formal investigation into the construction of a secretive Google Inc barge on an island in the bay.
The probe, which began in the past week, will examine what permits are needed to build the barge and whether the owners of the Treasure Island pier where the vessel is moored have the proper permits, said Larry Goldzband, the executive director of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. (Click for more)
December 4, 2013, By Chris Francescani , Mark Hosenball and Curtis Skinner, (Reuters) - The driver of a New York commuter train that derailed on Sunday, killing four people, told federal investigators he "zoned out" shortly before the crash, the driver's labor union leader said.
The seven-car train was traveling at 82 miles per hour (132 km per hour), nearly three times the speed limit for the curved section of track where it crashed, investigators have said. The driver, William Rockefeller, 46, applied the brakes five seconds before it derailed. (Click for more)
December 4, 2013, By Phil Wahba, (Reuters) - U.S. retailers rolled out holiday promotions earlier in November this year, denting sales growth over the Thanksgiving weekend that typically marks the beginning of the holiday spending period, according to data released Tuesday by ShopperTrak.
But online, sales grew at a torrid pace, rising 22 percent between Thursday and Cyber Monday, according to data firm comScore. That does not include sales made using a mobile device such as a smart phone or a tablet. (Click for more)
December 4, 2013, NEW YORK (Reuters) - Local officials in Newtown, Connecticut were cautioning residents to prepare themselves emotionally for Wednesday's release of nearly half an hour of 911 recordings from the shooting that killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December 14.
Town officials initially tried to prevent release of the recordings of emergency phone calls made after Newtown resident Adam Lanza, 20, shot his way into the school. Lanza then unleashed one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history before turning a gun on himself. (Click for more)
December 3, 2013, By Leslie Gevirtz, NEW YORK (Reuters) - Many Americans this week will toast the 80th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition, a 14-year ban on the sale and production of alcoholic beverages that turned booze-smuggling thugs into celebrities and otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals.
They may also want to toast one unintended consequence of Prohibition: a renaissance of cocktail creation that began as a way to make moonshine whiskey and bathtub gin more palatable. Creative bartenders have kept the tradition alive, and it continues to this day. (Click for more)
December 3, 2013, By Joseph Lichterman, DETROIT (Reuters) - The largest-ever municipal bankruptcy petition in U.S. history faces a watershed moment on Tuesday, as the judge overseeing Detroit's bankruptcy case is scheduled to rule whether the city is eligible for protection from creditors - an event that has citizens, public officials, creditors, retirees and others awaiting the judge's words and preparing responses. (Click for more)
December 3, 2013, By David Morgan and Lewis Krauskopf, (Reuters) - A surge of visitors clogged the U.S. government's revamped healthcare insurance shopping website on Monday, signaling that President Barack Obama's administration has a way to go in fixing the portal that showcases his signature domestic policy. (Click for more)
December 3, 2013, By Lawrence Hurley and Patrick Temple-West, WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc and other online retailers with no physical presence in New York State must go on collecting sales tax after the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a legal challenge to the law that requires it.
The court order means the New York law remains intact and the high court will not, at least for now, definitively rule on the heavily contested question of whether states have the power to pass such laws. (Click for more)
December 2, 2013, By Noreen O'Donnell, (Reuters) - Commuters from New York City's northern suburbs braced for travel delays on Monday morning following a seven-car train derailment that killed four people and injured 11 critically.
A portion of a Metro-North Railroad line between the Bronx and part of Westchester County could be closed for a week or more after the accident on Sunday, in which a Manhattan-bound commuter train ran off the tracks while rounding a sharp curve in the Bronx. (Click for more)
December 2, 2013, By Saundra Amrhein, EGMONT KEY, Florida (Reuters) - As a fog bank rolled in behind them on Sunday afternoon, several members of the Seminole Tribe of Florida disembarked from a double-decker catamaran onto a small island off the coast near St. Petersburg in west-central Florida.
It was part of a journey commemorating the history of their ancestors' internment, forced relocation and - for a small handful - dramatic escape. (Click for more)
December 2, 2013, By David Morgan, WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama and his HealthCare.gov website face another critical test starting this week, as Americans who have been unable to enroll in health coverage under Obamacare rush to a site that continues to face challenges.
A day after the administration said it met its weekend deadline for making HealthCare.gov operate smoothly for most users, networks of volunteer organizations are expected to resume enrollment activities after a long U.S. Thanksgiving holiday weekend, many of them with backlogs of would-be applicants waiting for access. (Click for more)
December 2, 2013, By Phil Wahba, NEW YORK (Reuters) - Heavy discounting took a toll on U.S. retail sales during the Thanksgiving weekend as shoppers spent almost 3 percent less than they did a year earlier, according to data released Sunday by an industry group.
That could be an indication of a more difficult season for many retailers. One bright spot this weekend, according to the data, was e-commerce as online sales soared. (Click for more)
November 29, 2013, By Marina Lopes and Dhanya Skariachan, (Reuters) - Jill McCormack didn't mind waiting in the cold for five hours on Thursday. She was frozen, but first in line when the Macy's Inc flagship store in New York opened for the first time ever on Thanksgiving Day.
At 8 p.m., the 30-year-old teacher from Ireland raced into the store, arms linked with her sister-in-law, as shoppers cheered and employees stared. (Click for more)
November 26, 2013, By John Whitesides, CERES, California (Reuters) - For most Republicans in the U.S. Congress, a large gathering of Hispanic voters to discuss immigration would be politically perilous - an invitation to complaints about the party's longtime resistance to measures aimed at helping undocumented immigrants.
But when Republican Rep. Jeff Denham walked into a meeting with hundreds of his Hispanic constituents at a church in California's Central Valley this month, he was met with applause, praise and a hand-lettered "Thank You" sign. (Click for more)
November 26, 2013, By Peter Rudegeair, (Reuters) - U.S. borrowers are increasingly missing payments on home equity lines of credit they took out during the housing bubble, a trend that could deal another blow to the country's biggest banks.
The loans are a problem now because an increasing number are hitting their 10-year anniversary, at which point borrowers usually must start paying down the principal on the loans as well as the interest they had been paying all along. (Click for more)
November 26, 2013, By Dan Burns,NEWTOWN, Connecticut (Reuters) - Around the time of the massacre of children at an elementary school in Connecticut last December, gunman Adam Lanza was living an isolated existence, communicating with his mother by email only even though they lived in the same house.
A long-awaited state's attorney report on Monday on one of the worst mass shootings in the United States revealed few new details and left relatives of 20 children and six adults killed with no more knowledge about Lanza's motive. (Click for more)
November 25, 2013,(Reuters) - Thanksgiving travel may be snarled by a wintry storm system heading for the East Coast, bringing snow, sleet and rain to a region already plunged in to sub-freezing temperatures, the National Weather Service said Sunday.
Forecasters warned the winter storm now in the Southwest could cause flight delays and icy roads for some of the millions of people traveling for the holiday, depending on the path it takes as it heads eastward. (Click for more)
November 25, 2013, (Reuters) - Schools in Newtown, Connecticut, will employ extra security on Monday as the state releases its long-awaited report on the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 children and six adults.
The state prosecutor's office has said the report will be published on the website of Connecticut's Division of Criminal Justice, www.ct.gov/csao, on Monday at about 3 p.m. local time (8 p.m. GMT) (Click for more)
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