Up to 30,000 gallons of oil spilled when train derails

Thousands of gallons of oil leaked onto frozen ground after a train carrying crude from Canada to Chicago derailed Wednesday in western Minnesota.

The 94-car Canadian Pacific train was headed south near Parkers Prairie when it lost air pressure and went into emergency braking mode, police said. Fourteen tankers derailed, and three either leaked or spilled oil. No one was hurt.

An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 gallons leaked onto the ground. Aided by the cold weather, the spill was contained in a field and ditch in a rural area.

Initial recovery efforts likely will take a day or two, and excavations then will be done to determine if any oil was absorbed into the soil.


Transgender bathroom bill revised amid public outcry

Faced with an outcry from advocacy groups, an Arizona lawmaker has changed his proposed legislation to make it a crime for a transgender person to use a bathroom that doesn’t match his or her birth sex.

The new bill by state Rep. John Kavanagh ditches that effort and instead seeks to shield businesses from civil or criminal liability if they ban transgender people from certain restrooms. Businesses would be allowed to forgo such restrictions.

The conservative Republican said he listened to the criticism of what one local television station dubbed the “Show Me Your Papers Before You Go Potty” bill.

The revised bill is designed to shield businesses from lawsuits while protecting people from being exposed to what Kavanagh described as “naked men in women’s locker rooms and showers.”


Suspect in massacre offers to plead guilty, serve life

Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes has offered to plead guilty and serve the rest of his life in prison to avoid the death penalty. The deal would bring a swift end to the sometimes wrenching courtroom battle and circumvent a prolonged debate over his sanity.

Prosecutors haven’t said whether they would accept Holmes’ offer, and victims and survivors of last summer’s massacre were divided on what should be done.

Melisa Cowden, whose ex-husband was killed in the theater, said Wednesday she was resolutely opposed to a plea deal. “(Holmes) didn’t give 12 people the chance to plea bargain,” said Cowden, referring to the dozen people killed.

The attack during a crowded midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” also left 70 people injured.

The plea offer was disclosed in a defense court filing Wednesday.


Facebook CEO reportedly forming a political group

A person familiar with Facebook says CEO Mark Zuckerberg is forming a political group to address issues such as education reform, immigration and scientific research.

The person says the group will formally launch in the coming weeks. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the information is not public.

Zuckerberg, 28, has already used his Facebook wealth to address political issues close to him. He donated $100 million of Facebook stock to schools in Newark, N.J., and also plans to donate nearly $500 million in stock to a Silicon Valley charity to fund health and education issues.