National briefs: Tank cars called inadequate

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WASHINGTON -- None of the tank cars currently in service carrying Bakken crude oil is adequate for carrying that product, a rail industry representative testified Tuesday, but until new federal regulations are completed, the use of inadequate cars will continue.

That includes tank cars built to higher standards adopted by the industry since 2011. Such cars have failed in at least two recent derailments. Yet in the absence of the new rules, crude oil shippers and refiners continue to rely on them to meet the demands of North America's energy resurgence.

The National Transportation Safety Board long ago recommended improvements to the industry's workhorse DOT-111 model tank car, which has proved vulnerable to punctures and ruptures in numerous accidents over the years involving hazardous materials.

Obama tours Wash. slide

OSO, Wash. -- Swooping over a landscape of unspeakable sadness and death, President Barack Obama took an aerial tour Tuesday of the place where more than three dozen people perished in a mudslide last month. He pledged a nation's solidarity with those who are enduring "unimaginable pain and difficulty" in the aftermath of the destruction.

"We're going to be strong right alongside you," Mr. Obama promised the people whose lives were upended when a wall of mud and water swept away the hillside on March 22 and took with it at least 41 lives and dozens of homes.

Even as the president flew overhead, the search for bodies continued below. Two people were still listed as missing.

N. Mexico officer kills teen

ALBUQUERQUE -- Less than two weeks after federal officials rebuked the Albuquerque Police Department for a rash of unjustified officer-involved shootings, an officer fatally shot a 19-year-old woman suspected of stealing a vehicle and pointing a gun at police, authorities said.

Mary Hawkes became the first person to be killed by Albuquerque police since the U.S. Justice Department released a scathing report that called for a systematic change to address what it said was a long-ingrained culture of deadly force within the police department.

Soon after Monday's shooting, Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden Jr. made a televised statement, stating that an officer fired at Hawkes, who had led police on a foot chase. "The suspect stopped, turned and pointed a handgun at close range," Chief Eden said.

Molestation IDs sought

MINNEAPOLIS -- The FBI asked for the public's help Tuesday to identify at least 90 potential victims of a suspected child predator who worked at 10 American and other international schools abroad for more than four decades before committing suicide last month in Minnesota.

William James Vahey, 64, killed himself in Luverne, Minn., on March 21, the FBI said. That was two days after agents in Houston filed for a warrant to search a computer thumb drive that belonged to Vahey, a U.S. citizen with residences in London and Hilton Head Island, S.C. An employee of the American Nicaraguan School in Managua, where Vahey had recently taught ninth-grade world history and geography, gave the drive to the U.S. Embassy there.

The storage device contained pornographic images of at least 90 boys, ages 12 to 14, who appeared to be drugged and unconscious, the FBI said. The agency's spokeswoman in Houston, Special Agent Shauna Dunlap, told The Associated Press that investigators suspect all of the boys in the images were students of Vahey's, going back to 2008, and that he had molested all of them.


-- Compiled from news services


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