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Happening Today: Amtrak, Tax Bill, Narcan, Alternative Remedies, Dustin Hoffman

What to Know

  • Federal investigators say the Amtrak train that hurtled off an overpass and onto a highway was traveling at 80 mph in a 30 mph zone
  • The divide over naloxone, the popular overdose antidote, shows just how elusive solutions are on the front lines of the U.S. opioid crisis
  • Three women who accuse Dustin Hoffman of inappropriate sexual behavior recounted being starstruck and stunned by his advance toward them

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Amtrak Train Was Traveling at 80mph in 30mph Zone, NTSB Says

An Amtrak train making the first-ever run along a faster new route hurtled off an overpass south of Seattle and spilled some of its cars onto the highway below, killing at least three people, injuring dozens and crushing two vehicles, authorities said. Attention quickly turned to the train's speed. Federal investigators say the train was traveling at 80 mph in a 30 mph zone. Bella Dinh-Zarr, an NTSB board member, said at a news conference that information from the event data recorder in the rear locomotive provided information about the train's speed. Dinh-Zarr said it's not yet known what caused the train to derail and that "it's too early to tell" why it was going so fast.

GOP Set to Roll $1.5T Final Tax Bill Through House, Senate

Their long-sought political goal within grasp, Republicans in Congress are set to catapult sweeping $1.5 trillion tax legislation through the House, rolling over a dozen GOP defectors from high-tax states. The Republicans' final drive to deliver the tax package to an eager President Trump begins with a vote in the House. Quickly following, a vote later in the day in the Senate is expected to seal the deal. Both tallies likely will cling along party lines. The Senate result was in doubt in recent weeks. Only on Friday did Republican leaders cement the needed support for the legislation, securing endorsements from wavering GOP senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Bob Corker of Tennessee. More holdout GOP senators— moderate Susan Collins of Maine and Mike Lee of Utah — came into the fold. Now the biggest reshaping of the U.S. tax code in three decades is on a clear path to passage and a presidential signing into law.

Trump Administration Blames N. Korea for Big Ransomware Attack

President Trump's administration is publicly blaming North Korea for a ransomware attack that infected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide in May and crippled parts of Britain's National Health Service. Homeland security adviser Tom Bossert wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Monday night that North Korea was "directly responsible" for the WannaCry ransomware attack and that Pyongyang will be held accountable for it. Bossert said the administration's finding of responsibility is based on evidence and confirmed by other governments and private companies, including the United Kingdom and Microsoft. "North Korea has acted especially badly, largely unchecked, for more than a decade, and its malicious behavior is growing more egregious. WannaCry was indiscriminately reckless," he wrote. Bossert said the Trump administration will continue to use its "maximum pressure strategy to curb Pyongyang's ability to mount attacks, cyber or otherwise."

On the Front Lines of Drug Crisis, U.S. Police Split on Narcan

One sheriff firmly believes it's a call of duty for his deputies to carry a nasal spray that brings people back from the brink of death by drug overdose. Less than 50 miles away, his counterpart is dead set against it, saying it subjects deputies to danger while making no lasting impact on the death toll. The divide over naloxone, the popular overdose antidote, between nearby sheriffs in two hard-hit counties in one of the hardest-hit states for drug deaths shows just how elusive solutions are on the front lines of the U.S. opioid crisis. Some police officials cite lack of resources for obtaining, maintaining and tracking supplies and for training in when and how to use it. They worry about taking on new duties they say are better suited for medical workers, divert them from fighting crime and can put them in danger. They get support from some citizens weary of people who overdose repeatedly. Police who do carry it say that development of a nasal spray called Narcan makes naloxone simple to administer, that the $75 two-dose kits are usually given to them by health departments or community organizations, that it's not a major burden to track and maintain supplies and that it's a natural extension of their mission to serve and protect.

U.S. Health Officials to Target High-Risk Alternative Remedies

U.S. health officials plan to crack down on a growing number of unproven alternative remedies, focusing on products containing dangerous ingredients that have occasionally been linked to serious injury and death. The Food and Drug Administration issued a new proposal for regulating homeopathic medicines that have long been on the fringe of mainstream medicine. The agency plans to target products that pose the biggest safety risks, including those marketed for children or for serious diseases. But under the government's framework, the vast majority of low-risk products would remain on the market. Popular homeopathic brands include Zicam Allergy Relief and Cold-Eeze. Long regarded by scientists as a form of modern-day snake oil, homeopathic products are treated as drugs under law, but not supported by modern science. Most remedies contain heavily diluted drugs, vitamins and minerals.

Dustin Hoffman Accusers Say He “Eroded” Self-Confidence, Dignity

Three women who accuse Dustin Hoffman of inappropriate sexual behavior recounted to NBC News being starstruck when they met the celebrated actor — and then stunned by Hoffman's advances toward them. Two were underage when the alleged sexual misconduct happened. The third says she was subject to night after night of inappropriate touching during months on Broadway with him. "It eroded my self-confidence and my dignity," Kathryn Rossetter, who co-starred with Hoffman in the Broadway production of "Death of a Salesman" and the subsequent TV movie version of the screenplay, told NBC News. "It was humiliating and demeaning ... he robbed me of the joy of that experience." Rossetter is one of several women who recently came forward with decades-old allegations against Hoffman.

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