Amtrak in South Carolina Collides with CSX Train
An Amtrak train carrying 139 passengers and eight crew members collided with an empty CSX train on a track in South Carolina early Sunday morning. Two Amtrak employees were killed in the crash, and at least 116 people sustained injuries requiring medical care, ranging from scratches to broken bones. According to a statement released by Amtrak, the 2:35am collision caused the lead engine to derail, followed by “some passenger cars.” The cause of the collision is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. Early findings, however, suggest that the Amtrak was on the wrong rail when it collided with the CSX at around 59 mph.
This is the third fatal incident involving Amtrak in the past three months. In December, an Amtrak in Washington derailed, killing three. Last Wednesday, an Amtrak chartered by Congressional Republicanscrashed into a garbage truck, killing a passenger.
FBI Involvement in Nassar Case
New information about the investigation into serial abuser Larry Nassar came to light this past weekend. Nassar, who has been accused of abuse by 265 young women and girls, was being investigated by the FBI as early as July 2015. The New York Times has identified 40 individuals who accuse Nassar of abuse from the time the FBI investigation started to news of his serial abuse came to light.
The length of the investigation has been attributed to the complicating factor of multiple jurisdictions where the incidents occurred, and due to victims declining interviews. When asked about the duty to warn potential victims, the now retired agent in charge of the Indianapolis FBI branch, Jay Abbott, responded, “there is a duty to warn those who might be harmed in the future, but everyone is still trying to ascertain whether a crime has been committed. And everybody has rights here.”
India Announces Major Health Care Proposal
The Indian government announced in its 2018/19 federal budget a plan to give free health insurance to a half a billion poor citizens. The plan, called “Modicare” after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, would cover$7,800 in healthcare costs for 100 million poor families and spend $188 million on “health and wellness” centers. Early estimates predict the plan would cost $1.7 billion per year if it is approved by the Indian Parliament.
This is an ambitious proposal because India currently spends less than 2% of its GDP on healthcare, compared to 3.1% by China and 8.3% by the United States. Average life expectancy in India is currently 68, while China’s is 76 and the United States’ is 78. Implementation of the plan is going to be made especially difficult by the limited access to healthcare facilities for the country’s rural population.
Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan Collaborate on Healthcare Plan
Amazon, JP Morgan, and Berkshire Hathaway announced last week that they would enter into a health care endeavor. The three conglomerates plan to launch a company that aims to cut costs for their domestic employees by integrating new health technologies.
Upon announcement, the shares of major healthcare employers such as Cigna, United Healthcare, and CVS have dropped significantly. Several are optimistic about this new joint venture, claiming that the three companies could use their joint bargaining power to reimagine corporate health care. Others are uncertain, citing the failure of companies like Google and Microsoft to succeed in similar realms. There is also concern about Amazon’s current trend to horizontally integrate amidst their recent acquisition of Whole Foods.
In Other News…
House Speaker Paul Ryan was ridiculed online for tweeting a story about a secretary saving $1.50 per week under the new tax bill.
After a battle with depression, Fidel Castro’s 68-year-old son committed suicide on Thursday, shocking the Cuban public.
Reality TV star Kylie Jenner made an announcement on Sunday that she had given birth to a daughter.
An oil tanker with 22 people onboard went missing off the coast of West Africa on Thursday.