Officials order changes to rail signal system
U.S. transportation officials ordered the Metro-North Railroad on Friday to quickly overhaul its signal system and temporarily put an extra worker in the driver's cab on some routes that have major speed changes, including the one where a speeding commuter train derailed this week, killing four people. The emergency order by the Federal Railroad Administration was a reaction to Sunday's wreck in the Bronx, where a train flew off the tracks after hitting a curve at 82 mph, nearly three times the 30 mph speed limit.
Kerry upbeat on Middle East peace
U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry, concluding his latest effort to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace talks on Friday, sounded encouraged about progress despite ongoing tension between the parties. "We are closer than we have been in years" to bringing peace to the region, Kerry told reporters Friday morning before departing Israel for Washington after two days of talks.
Permits let energy firms kill eagles
Solar and wind farms scored a victory Friday when the Interior Department announced an extension of permits that allow renewable energy projects to accidentally kill or injure bald eagles without penalty. Renewable energy companies will now be able to obtain permits good for up to 30 years, a sharp jump from the previous five-year maximum.
Mississippi: Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi will seek a seventh term in 2014, setting up a Republican primary that pits an established incumbent who has brought billions of dollars to his home state against a tea party-backed challenger who says federal spending is out of control.
Berlin: Hans Lipschi, a 94-year-old man deported from the United States for lying about his Nazi past, was released from custody Friday after a German court said it had serious doubts he is fit to stand trial on charges he served as a death camp guard.
Washington: Theodore H. Moran, a longtime adviser to the U.S. director of national intelligence, has resigned after the government learned he has worked since 2010 as a paid consultant for Huawei Technologies Ltd., the Chinese technology company the United States has condemned as an espionage threat.