What to Know
- Gov. Chris Christie is halting payments to Amtrak following a second derailment at Penn Station that is causing headaches for commuters
- The FDA approved more drugs, and two to three months faster on average, than European regulators did in recent years, new research shows
- "Friends" alum David Schwimmer and wife Zoe Buckman are separating after six years of marriage, the actor confirmed
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Christie Threatens to Sue Amtrak, Demands Inspection
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is halting payments to Amtrak following a second derailment at Penn Station that is causing headaches for commuters in the nation's busiest rail hub. In a letter to Amtrak's chairman published Thursday in the New York Times, Christie said he directed New Jersey Transit to withhold funds until an independent inspection verifies Amtrak's Northeast Corridor is in a state of good repair. The governor also says he's asked the attorney general to consider filing a lawsuit to recover money that NJ Transit pays to use the rail line. Amtrak said it hopes to have full rail service restored at Penn Station by Friday, four days after a second derailment in two weeks caused headaches for commuters at the nation's busiest rail hub. Amtrak made its announcement Wednesday after the heads of the two major commuter rail lines that use Penn Station leveled strong criticisms and called for swifter action. Rail service has been cut back since Monday morning's derailment took out eight of 21 tracks maintained by Amtrak. The Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit were still operating on abbreviated schedules on Thursday. Bearing the brunt of criticism from angry riders, their directors took aim at Amtrak, which owns and operates the tracks, signals and switches in the station complex.
Trump Condemns Syria Attack But Won't Telegraph US Response
His expression grave and his words emphatic, President Trump declared the deadly chemical attack in Syria had crossed "many, many lines" and abruptly changed his views of Syrian President Bashar Assad. But he refused to say what the U.S. might do in response. Trump issued no ultimatums in comments that were being scoured by world leaders for signs of how the new president would react to a global crisis. In a rare reversal of roles, Trump was more reserved than many of his top advisers — including his U.N. envoy, who revived the hard-hitting rhetoric of Trump's political campaign and strongly hinted some U.S. action was coming. He blamed the attack squarely on Assad's forces, though the embattled Syrian leader and his Russian backers denied it. He suggested that the assault that killed 72 people had diminished his former reluctance to plunge the U.S. further into the complex and dangerous turmoil in the Middle East.
Dems Elevate Attacks as Supreme Court Showdown Nears
Senate Democrats elevated their attacks against President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, portraying him as an ally of the powerful and an enemy of the weak as an explosive showdown loomed on the Senate floor. Republicans defended Judge Neil Gorsuch, accusing Democrats of trying to block him out of frustration over Trump's election victory. Democrats begged to differ, returning again and again to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision last year to deny consideration to then-President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, who was ignored for nearly a year by Senate Republicans after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Instead McConnell kept Scalia's seat open, a calculation that is now paying off hugely for Republicans and Trump, who will be able to claim the biggest victory of his presidency to date if Gorsuch is confirmed as expected. First, though, looms showdown votes, when 44 Democrats and independents intend to try to block Gorsuch by denying Republicans the 60 votes needed to proceed to final passage.
FDA Approves More Drugs, and Faster, Than Europe, Study Shows
Contrary to some political claims, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved more drugs, and two to three months faster on average, than European regulators did in recent years, new research shows. The new research compared how new drugs fared before the FDA and the European Medicines Agency between 2011 and 2015. The FDA approved more drugs than the Europeans — 170 versus 144 — with a median review time of 306 days versus 383 days in Europe. Reviews were speedier at the FDA for drugs for cancer and blood diseases, but not other maladies, compared to the Europeans. The FDA also moved quicker on so-called orphan drugs, for relatively rare conditions.
3-D Printing Gives Blueprint For Tumor Surgery, Advocates Say
A strategy that has been used primarily for heart surgeries at Omaha, Nebraska's Children's Hospital and Medical Center is now being used by some pediatric surgeons faced with operating on tumors. Since November, the hospital has asked its 3D Printing department to develop actual-sized 3D models of tumors and the organs and blood vessels around them. It helps children better understand where the cancer is in their body - and assists surgeons in the operating room. "The possibilities are endless," said the 3D printing coordinator at Children's. The 2-dimensional CT scan does little to interest a 4-year-old, but the 3D model of their insides is a different story.
Baldwin Says He Was Unaware Reed Underage During Filming
Alec Baldwin reveals in his new memoir, "Nevertheless," he was enraged in 2006 after discovering Nikki Reed, his co-star and love interest in the film "Mini’s First Time," was underage at the time of filming, reports The Wrap. The actor wrote it never occurred to him to ask Reed’s age. At the time of filming Baldwin was 47. Conflicting reports put Reed's age at the time of filming as either 16 or 17. In the film Baldwin plays stepfather to a rebellious Reed, who begins working with an escort agency where Baldwin is also a client. While the two engage in a torrid love affair, no explicit sex scenes were filmed between the two actors. In the film Baldwin plays stepfather to a rebellious Reed, who begins working with an escort agency where Baldwin is also a client. While the two engage in a torrid love affair, no explicit sex scenes were filmed between the two actors.
David Schwimmer, Wife Separating, He Confirms
David Schwimmer and wife Zoe Buckman are separating after six years of marriage. The "Friends" alum confirmed the news to Us Weekly. "It is with great love, respect and friendship that we have decided to take some time apart while we determine the future of our relationship," the pair told the weekly in a statement. Schwimmer, 50, and Buckman, 31, have been together for more than 10 years. They first met on the set of Run in 2007, which filmed in London. A few years later, Buckman moved to Los Angeles to be with her future husband. The couple shares one daughter together, a five-year-old girl named Cleo Buckman Schwimmer.