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In brief: Amtrak train, truck collide; 20 injured

HANFORD, Calif. – Two cars and the locomotive of an Amtrak train carrying about 169 passengers derailed Monday after colliding with a big rig truck in California’s Central Valley, authorities said.

At least 20 passengers suffered minor to moderate injuries, authorities said.

The 12:25 p.m. crash occurred when the driver of the tractor-trailer carrying cotton trash failed to yield and hit the train, authorities said. The impact pushed the two passenger cars and the locomotive off the tracks south of Hanford, a farming town.

The train traveled about 600 feet after the collision before hitting a switchback and derailing, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Scott Harris.

Police described the injuries to passengers as bumps, bruises, scrapes and possibly broken bones.

Officials say farmer eaten by his hogs

COQUILLE, Ore. – Oregon authorities are investigating how a farmer was eaten by his hogs.

Terry Vance Garner, 69, never returned after he set out to feed his animals last Wednesday on his farm near the Oregon coast, the Coos County district attorney said Monday.

A family member found Garner’s dentures and pieces of his body in the hog enclosure several hours later, but most of his remains had been consumed, District Attorney Paul Frasier said. Several of the hogs weighed 700 pounds or more.

It’s possible Garner had a medical emergency, such as a heart attack, or was knocked over by the animals, then killed and eaten, Frasier said, adding that at least one hog had previously bitten Garner. The possibility of foul play is being investigated as well.

A pathologist was unable to identify a cause or manner of death, the newspaper reported.

Holiday shopping to increase slower

NEW YORK – Americans are expected to spend more during what’s traditionally the busiest shopping season of the year, but they’re not exactly ready to shop till they drop like they have been in the past two years.

The National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group, said it expects sales during the winter holiday shopping period in November and December to rise 4.1 percent this year. That’s more than a percentage point lower than the growth in each of the past two years.

The shopping period accounts for up to 70 percent of economic activity for the year.

Hollywood sign getting makeover

LOS ANGELES – The Hollywood sign is set to undergo its most extensive refurbishing in nearly 35 years starting today, when crews will begin repainting the iconic white letters overlooking Los Angeles.

Workers will strip the letters of their paint and pressure-wash the exposed corrugated metal before priming and repainting them white, according to the Hollywood Sign Trust. The back of the sign will also be scraped, sanded and painted.

Mule teams and tractors helped lug the 50-foot-tall letters up the hillside when the sign was first built in 1923, according to the trust’s website. The sign read “Hollywoodland” until 1949, the first year the then-deteriorating sign was made over.


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Zimbabwe leader calls assassination attempt ‘cowardly act’

UPDATED: 8:14 p.m.

Zimbabwe’s president was unscathed Saturday by an explosion at a campaign rally that state media called an attempt to assassinate him, later visiting his two injured vice presidents and declaring the “cowardly act” will not disrupt next month’s historic elections.