JOLIET, Ill. – For the first time on a key Midwestern route between Chicago and St. Louis, an Amtrak passenger train topped 110 mph Friday, ripping through fog-shrouded farm fields and blowing past cars on a parallel highway.
The test run on a special train packed with journalists, politicians and transportation officials was a milestone in President Obamas vision of bringing high-speed rail to the U.S. and transforming the way Americans travel.
It also was a welcome morale booster for high-speed rail advocates who have watched conservatives in Congress put the brakes on spending for fast train projects they view as expensive boondoggles.
Industry to be let in on cyberthreats
A new White House executive order would direct U.S. spy agencies to share the latest intelligence about cyberthreats with companies operating electric grids, water plants, railroads and other vital industries to help protect them from electronic attacks, according to a copy obtained by The Associated Press.
The seven-page draft order, which is being finalized, takes shape as the Obama administration expresses concern that Iran could be the first country to use cyberterrorism against the United States.
The military is ready to retaliate if the U.S. is hit by cyberweapons, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said. But the U.S. also is poorly prepared to prevent such an attack.
CIA thinking big with drone request
The CIA is urging the White House to approve a significant expansion of the agencys fleet of armed drones, a move that would extend the spy services decade-long transformation into a paramilitary force, U.S. officials said.
The proposal by CIA Director David Petraeus would bolster the agencys ability to sustain its campaigns of lethal strikes in Pakistan and Yemen and be able, if directed, to shift aircraft to emerging al-Qaida threats in North Africa or other trouble spots, officials said.
Study attempts to prevent Alzheimer’s
Three studies set to explore the use of experimental drugs that may become the first to change the course of Alzheimers disease arent looking to cure the illness. Their goal is to prevent it altogether.
The independent trials will begin in 2013 and run for three to five years, testing as many as five drugs in almost 1,500 volunteers who havent shown any of Alzheimers mind-altering symptoms, yet carry a strong genetic risk for the disease or display early physical evidence in the brain.
Pakistani shooting victim stands, writes
The British hospital treating a 15-year-old Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban raised hopes for her recovery Friday when doctors said she was able to stand with some help and to write.
Malala Yousufzai appeared with her eyes open and alert as she lay in a hospital bed, in the first photographs released by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham since she arrived from Pakistan on Monday.
Still, doctors said she shows signs of infection and faces a long, difficult recovery with uncertain prospects.