Good morning. Here are some of the stories we’re following today:
1. 'Ugly and brutal': N.Y. commuter train crash kills six
Six people were killed after a crowded commuter train slammed into a sport utility vehicle on the tracks north of New York City on Tuesday. The crash caused the SUV to explode in a fireball that set the front of the train ablaze, officials said. Initially, officials said seven people had died, while at least 12 people were injured. "It's a painful reminder to all of us how precious life is, and sometimes how random it can be," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo later told reporters. Survivors recounted a dramatic jolt, and some had to break the glass windows on doors to reach safety. "A number of us were smelling fumes from the car, fuel, and we said, 'You know, we need to get out,'" one passenger said. Read more in NEWS.
2. Jordan executes two prisoners after ISIS kills hostage
ISIS released a grisly video Tuesday of the death of a Jordanian pilot who was purportedly shown being burned alive — a different tactic on the usual beheadings committed by the Islamist jihadists. In response, Jordan early Wednesday executed two prisoners, including a would-be suicide bomber whom ISIS had wanted in a prisoner swap. The death of pilot Lt. Muath al Kasasbeh took place only a few hours after Jordanian King Abdullah met in Washington, D.C., with President Barack Obama, prompting Abdullah to cut his trip short. Jordanians took to the streets demanding revenge for al Kasasbeh's death. Read more in NEWS.
3. Taiwan plane clips elevated highway after takeoff
A car's dashcam caught the incredible moment a plane just after takeoff cartwheeled into a Taiwan highway Wednesday before submerging into a river. Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Agency said 23 of the 58 passengers and crew on board were confirmed dead. 15 were rescued, leaving 20 others unaccounted for. Rescuers were scrambling to pull survivors from the wreckage. Teams in rubber rafts clustered around the wreckage of the aircraft in the waters, while some survivors managed to swim to safety. Read more in NEWS.
4. Anti-vaccine movement in spotlight after measles outbreak
Experts say it may not be such a good idea to slam parents who decide not to vaccinate their kids because of their beliefs. Doing so could be counterproductive — and make them not want to revisit the issue at all, one risk communication expert told NBC News. "When you attack somebody's values, they get defensive," David Ropeik said. At least 102 cases have been reported in this new measles outbreak linked to Disneyland. Meanwhile, a survey from the Pew Research Center published last week found that 68 percent of American adults believe that vaccinations of children should be required, while 30 percent say that parents should be able to decide not to vaccinate their kids. Read more in HEALTH.
5. Author Harper Lee releasing surprise 'Mockingbird' sequel
The literary world was in shock Tuesday when book publisher Harper announced it will release a sequel to the Pulitzer Prize-winning author's 1960 masterpiece, "To Kill a Mockingbird." The novel, which Lee titled "Go Set a Watchman," was written in the mid-1950s — penned before the must-read novel about lawyer Atticus Finch and his defense of a falsely accused black man in the Depression-era South. "To Kill a Mockingbird" was later made into a movie starring Gregory Peck, and it won three Academy Awards. The famously reclusive Lee is unlikely to do a book tour; she hasn't given an interview since 1964. Read more in POP CULTURE.
And now this ...
New smart glasses developed by researchers at Oxford University have the potential to help blind people to see using 3D camera technology.