- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 5, 2008

CALIFORNIA

Homes evacuated after derailment

MECCA — A freight train derailed in the Southern California desert and four tanker cars were leaking unknown quantities of hydrochloric and phosphoric acid, forcing home evacuations, authorities said.

No one was injured when nearly 30 of the Union Pacific train’s 65 cars derailed Monday night about 140 miles southeast of Los Angeles. It was headed from West Colton to El Centro.

About 40 homes remained evacuated yesterday because of the hazardous fumes, fire officials said.

It was not clear why the train derailed, said James Barnes, director of media information for Union Pacific.

OREGON

State holds health insurance lottery

PORTLAND — Oregon is conducting a one-of-a-kind lottery, and the prize is health insurance.

The state will start drawing names this week for the chance to enroll in a health care program designed for people not poor enough for Medicaid but unable to afford insurance.

More than 80,000 people have signed up since registration for the lottery opened in January. A few thousand will be chosen for the program.

“It’s better than nothing; it’s at least a hope,” said Shirley Krueger, 61, who signed up the first day. Her part-time job leaves her ineligible for her employer’s insurance plan and with too little income to buy her own. It has been more than six months since she could afford to take insulin regularly for her diabetes.

ARKANSAS

Winter storms pound country

LITTLE ROCK — Deep snow, heavy rain and sleet snarled travel and caused scattered flooding yesterday from the Mississippi Valley to the East Coast.

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