Ohio train derailment: Bipartisan Senate group proposes safety legislation – National & International News – WED 1Mar2023

Ohio train derailment: Bipartisan Senate group proposes safety legislation.

US intelligence: Havana Syndrome not caused by foreign adversary.

Greece: At least 43 dead in head-on train collision.


Ohio train derailment: Bipartisan Senate group proposes safety legislation

A bipartisan group of six Senators, including Sens. Sherrod Brown (D) and J.D. Vance (R) of Ohio, has proposed new safety regulations for rail transport. Some of these proposals address rail transport generally while others target transport of toxic chemicals specifically.

The proposals in the Railway Safety Act of 2023 include:

  • A requirement that rail carriers give advance notice to state emergency response officials about what’s on the trains moving through their states.
  • Increased rail car inspections for trains carrying hazardous chemicals.
  • Requiring crews of at least two people for every train.
  • More inspections of wheel bearings (NTSB says an overheated wheel bearing caused the Ohio derailment).
  • More safety regulations and procedures for trains carrying hazardous substances.
  • Increased fines for wrongdoing by rail carriers.

What the bill does NOT appear to include:

  • A requirement designating any train carrying highly-flammable or toxic materials as a “High Hazard Flammable Train”.

Currently, a train has to be carrying 70 cars of such substances to get that label. The train that derailed in Ohio was only carrying five cars of vinyl chloride. An unknown number of cars were also carrying at least 5 other highly-flammable and toxic petrochemicals.

  • A requirement that railroad companies replace the Civil War-era braking systems used today with advanced Electronically Controlled Pneumatic (ECP) brakes.

During the Obama administration, Congress passed a law requiring all high-hazard flammable trains to have ECP brakes by 2025. That law was then struck down during the Trump administration.

To review, the East Palestine train was not labeled as a high-hazard flammable train and was not equipped with ECP brakes. ECP brakes likely would have prevented the disaster.

Click here for the full story (opens in new tab).


US intelligence: Havana Syndrome not caused by foreign adversary

After a 6-year investigation, the US intelligence community has arrived at the conclusion that the “Havana Syndrome” was not caused by enemy action. The Havana Syndrome got its name in 2016 after several US Embassy employees in Havana, Cuba, came down with set of strange and unexplained symptoms.

In today’s statement, a CIA official said they had assessed over 1000 cases. These symptoms varied widely, including nausea, headaches, dizziness, memory lapses and “cognitive fog”. The circumstances also varied widely. Some reported experiencing symptoms in their homes, others while they were walking their dogs, still others while driving.

Blame game

For years, the intelligence community publicly theorized that the attacks were the result of a Chinese or Russian microwave weapon. This is despite a lack of evidence that such a weapon existed or even theoretically could exist. 

More skeptical members of the medical and scientific community theorized that the “attacks” were consistent with mass hysteria. A study commissioned by the State Department even found that a sound associated with the onset of symptoms in Havana were identical to the mating call of a native cricket. For a long time, the State Department did not publicly acknowledge the results of this study, despite having paid for it.

The CIA’s new statement doesn’t entertain either of these down-to-earth possibilities. The statement merely says most of the cases “can be reasonably explained by medical conditions or environmental and technical factors, including previously undiagnosed illnesses”. However, the official did say the agency considered that extraterrestrial involvement, but ultimately ruled it out.

Click here for the full story (opens in new tab).

More: The Salem Witch Trials, Havana Syndrome and the Politics of Hysteria.

Related: US intel revives theory that COVID leaked from Chinese lab.



Greece: At least 43 dead in head-on train collision

Just before midnight local time last night, a passenger train with 350 people aboard was travelling north from the Greek capital of Athens to the second most populous city of Thessaloniki. As the train approached a tunnel, it collided head-on with a freight train headed south on the same track. Both trains were moving at speed, and the freight train was carrying heavy construction materials and equipment. The force of the collision caused the first cars of the passenger train to crumple. The cars behind them buckled and flexed skyward.

As of now 43 people are dead, most of them in the first two cars of the passenger train. The first car on these trains is usually a sleeper car while the second is the train’s canteen. There were also hundreds of injuries ranging from serious to minor. 

The collision took place outside the village of Tempi, about 15 miles north of the regional capital of Larissa. The station manager from Larissa has been arrested for negligence in the crash. Greece’s Transport Minister has also resigned.

This is the worst peacetime train disaster in Greece’s history. The railroad equipment for passenger rail is government-owned, but the passenger trains and stations have been operated by a private company since 2017.

Click here for the full story (opens in new tab).



Please share any thoughts, comments or questions in the Comments section below!

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.