HERE ARE THE TOP STORIES
The derailed Amtrak train that killed at least 7 people was going 106 miles per hour, twice the speed limit.
Preliminary information showed that the Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia was going 106 mph shortly before the incident, the National Transportation Safety Board said. Moments before the derailment, the engineer operating the train applied full emergency brakes, but could only reduce the speed to 102 mph before the crash. Investigators still don’t know why it was going so fast. The maximum allowed speed on the turn is 50 mph. The train lacked the latest safety technology meant to prevent high-speed derailments, according to Reuters.
The crash injured more than 200 people and killed at least seven. Here are some of the victims’ stories. Investigators are currently looking into the engineer who was operating the train and his role in the crash.
And a little extra.
“Although the cause of Tuesday’s derailment was still undetermined, the answer has a lot to do with the United States’ crumbling transportation infrastructure, and a little to do with freak accidents,” the Washington Post’s Justin Moyer writes. Tuesday’s incident is the ninth derailment this year and the nation's deadliest train accident in nearly seven years. Amtrak is currently trying to meet a deadline to install a new safety system designed to prevent collisions, which is supposed to be ready by the end of this year.
Fighting broke out after a Burundi army general claimed to have overthrown the president.
Yesterday, Major General Godefroid Niyombare said the government had dismissed President Pierre Nkurunziza of the central African nation. General Niyombare called the president’s recent decision to run for a third term unconstitutional. But it isn’t clear if the attempted coup was actually successful or who is in control of the country right now. President Nkurunziza’s office called the general’s claim “a joke.” The president was abroad in Tanzania at the time of the general’s claim, but the airport had been closed to prevent him from returning, according to The Guardian.
A bit of background.
President Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term in April sparked weeks of violent demonstrations. The unrest has killed at least 20 people and forced more than 50,000 Burundians to flee to neighbouring states — leaving the country facing its worst crisis since the end of its 12-year civil war in 2006. A presidential election is scheduled for June 26.
WE’RE KEEPING AN EYE ON
European Union authorities unveiled a quota system to combat the migrant crisis.
The European Union revealed a significant effort to handle the growing migrant crisis that has left more than 1,800 people dead this year. Yesterday, European officials introduced plans to spread out 20,000 refugees among the 28 member states, relative to each state's’ size and economic circumstance. However, as many as one million refugees could reach Europe from Libya, a number far greater than what the EU is planning to accomodate. “The issue of how to stop the flow of refugees and absorb those who make it to Italy or other southern nations has emerged as one of the most challenging facing the European Union,” James Kanter writes in the New York Times.
Many countries in the EU have opposed the commission’s refugee distribution plan, highlighting the political complexity of the region that is grappling with rising anti-immigration sentiments. Some countries indicated their opposition to the plan even before it was announced. The plan was designed to primarily help Greece, Italy, and Malta, which are the main destinations for many migrants fleeing their war-torn homes. European leaders are expected to decide on the plan in June.
DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?
A Verizon security flaw left millions of home internet users vulnerable to attack.
A loophole in Verizon’s home internet service left the personal information of its 9 million customers vulnerable to outsiders who could gain access to it simply by visiting the Verizon website with a spoofed IP address. The information could then be used to obtain password resets and gain full control over those home accounts. BuzzFeed News learned of the security loophole last week and informed Verizon after verifying the flaw. Verizon has since fixed the problem.
The U.S. House has voted to end the NSA’s bulk collection of American phone data.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve the USA Freedom Act yesterday, which would end the federal government’s bulk collection of American phone records. Yesterday’s vote comes nearly two years after Edward Snowden, the whistleblower and former National Security Agency contractor, revealed the American government’s secret surveillance program. The Freedom Act now moves to the Senate, where its fate is less certain.
What Baltimore’s young people have to say about the word “thug.”
In a powerful essay, a Baltimore high school teacher reflects on the way the city’s young people grappled with the media glare during the protests following the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man who sustained a fatal injury in police custody. “…Where the media sees uneducated thugs taking advantage of a terrible situation, I see that we have not done our duty by our children and they are no longer taking that failure lightly,” she writes.
Quick things to know:
A shoe factory fire in the Philippine capital of Manila has killed at least 72 people. (BBC News)
The Vatican confirmed its recognition of the Palestinian state in a new treaty. (NPR)
Facebook will now provide contractors with a $15 minimum wage and new work standards, including paid holidays, sick time, and child-care benefits. (BuzzFeed News)
Today in Cheaper Things: Wal-Mart will test a new unlimited shipping service for online shoppers that will cost $50 a year, compared to the $99 a year price for Amazon Prime. (Associated Press) Meanwhile, online music service Rdio is working to launch a $3.99 a month subscription plan, compared to Spotify Premium, which costs $9.99 a month, but Rdio will offer only limited downloads. (BuzzFeed News)
Here’s something for your procrastination game: 25 tips every YouTube addict needs to know. (BuzzFeed)
And NOT eeeexcellent: Harry Shearer, who has voiced Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders and other characters on The Simpsons, tweeted Wednesday night that he has been fired from the show. Here’s a list of the 22 characters Shearer voiced. (BuzzFeed News)
Remember Kevin Blanford from Kentucky, the guy who made a hilariously miserable photo album because his wife couldn’t join him on a free vacation to Puerto Rico? Well, great news! His funny-sad album was spotted by the hotel he stayed at and a Puerto Rican tourism advertising agency, which arranged for him, his wife, and their 8-month-old baby to return to Puerto Rico. Dreams come true, people.