Off-track. Investigators are considering whether excessive speed, human error, mechanical failure, or a combination of all three caused a deadly train wreck in the Bronx, N.Y., on Sunday. The National Transportation Safety Board has retrieved two data recorders from the train, which derailed on Metro-North Railroad’s Hudson line while going around a steep curve. Four passengers died in the crash, and about 60 people were injured. Officials said the human toll from the crash could have been much worse if it happened during the busy weekday commute or if any of the derailed cars had skidded into the nearby river. The train was about half-full at the time of the crash.
For your true love. PNC Bank has released its annual Christmas Price Index that totals the cost of the gifts named in the famous carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” This year the overall price of everything from the partridge in a pear tree to the 12 drummers drumming jumped 7.7 percent from last year. The prices of the nine ladies dancing and 10 lords a-leaping rose the most, at 20 and 10 percent, respectively. The total cost of the gifts was $27,393. If you wanted to stay true to the song and give the gifts cumulatively, repeating the prior days’ gifts each day, the bill would come to $114,651.
Arrowhead’s woes. One man is dead after a sports fan and his son found the man inside their vehicle in the parking lot of Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City on Sunday. The car owner and the unwanted visitor scuffled as the son ran for help during the National Football League game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Broncos. The cause of death for the man, who was in his 20s, is unknown, but authorities said they are investigating it as a homicide. It is the third violent death in a year at the Truman Sports Complex, home to the Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium and Kauffman Stadium, home to baseball’s Kansas City Royals. On Dec. 1, 2012, Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend at a nearby home, then shot himself at the team’s practice facility. In Sept. 2012, a gunman attacked a Royals employee in the same parking lot. The gunman shot the employee once in the abdomen and then returned to his vehicle and committed suicide.
Close encounter. The brilliant Comet ISON might have survived its close shave with the sun, scientists say. Last Thursday, the comet came within 1 million miles of the sun, close enough to destroy or at least break up the celestial snowball that scientists have watched closely for the past year. A light streak thought to be space dust left behind by the comet seemed to get brighter Friday, indicating part of the comet might have survived. If it did, it is likely smaller and won’t last much longer.