2016-10-01 / World / National

Briefly

Hurricane Matthew now Category 4

Hurricane Matthew has rapidly strengthened into a powerful Category 4 storm, and a hurricane watch has now been issued for Jamaica.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Friday night that Matthew is packing top sustained winds of 140 mph after gaining new strength Friday over the central Caribbean.

The storm is located about 75 miles north of Punta Gallinas, Colombia, and about 465 miles southeast of Kingston, Jamaica.

Authorities also issued a tropical storm watch for the southwestern coast of Haiti. A tropical storm warning remains in effect along the coast from the Colombia-Venezuela border to Riohacha.

Forecasters say Matthew is expected to turn toward the west-northwest by Saturday night and then toward the northwest on Sunday. The center says the storm’s expected path over the central Caribbean is forecast to bring Matthew near Jamaica on Sunday.

Authorities question train engineer

HOBOKEN, N.J. (AP) — Federal investigators trying to figure out the cause of the deadly rail crash at the Hoboken station questioned the engineer Friday and hoped to lift clues from the train’s black box recorders, though one of the devices was proving difficult to extract from the twisted wreckage.

Thomas Gallagher answered investigators’ questions and was cooperative, according to a government official who was not authorized to discuss the case and spoke on condition of anonymity. The official would not disclose what Gallagher said.

Gallagher’s NJ Transit commuter train crashed through a steel-and-concrete bumper and hurtled into the waiting area at the Hoboken terminal Thursday morning, killing a woman on the platform and injuring more than 100 other people.

Gallagher, 48, a NJ Transit engineer for about 18 years, was pulled from the wreckage, treated at a hospital and released.

Hackers target voter systems in 20+ states

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hackers have targeted the voter registration systems of more than 20 states in recent months, a Homeland Security Department official said Friday.

The disclosure comes amid heightened concerns that foreign hackers might undermine voter confidence in the integrity of U.S. elections. Federal officials and many cybersecurity experts have said it would be nearly impossible for hackers to alter an election’s outcome because election systems are very decentralized and generally not connected to the internet.

The official who described detecting the hacker activity was not authorized to speak publicly on the subject and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. It was unclear, the official said, whether the hackers were foreign or domestic, or what their motives might be. ABC News earlier reported that more than 20 states were targeted.

The FBI last month warned state officials of the need to improve their election security after hackers targeted systems in Illinois and Arizona. FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers this week that the agency is looking “very, very hard” at Russian hackers who may try to disrupt the U.S. election.

Boy charged with firing on playground

ANDERSON, S.C. (AP) — A 14-year-old South Carolina boy was charged as a juvenile Friday with murder and three counts of attempted murder after authorities say he killed his father and opened fire on students at a school playground, wounding three people.

The boy did not show any emotion as he walked into the courtroom wearing a yellow jumpsuit. He was unrestrained, not wearing handcuffs or leg shackles, as required by state law in most juvenile cases.

His lawyer, Frank Epps, noted that the teen has given a statement to law enforcement and asked that investigators not question him again without his lawyer present. The judge agreed to that, and ordered the teen to be held in jail.

The boy’s mother sat on the front row during the brief hearing and left the courtroom sobbing and leaning on another woman.

The Associated Press typically does not identify juveniles charged with crimes.

Authorities say the teen shot his 47-year-old father at their home on Wednesday afternoon before driving a pickup truck three miles to Townville Elementary. The teen crashed the truck at the school, got out and started firing during recess.

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