Nation Briefs

Flu prompts Boston to declare emergency

BOSTON – Boston declared a public health emergency Wednesday as flu season struck in earnest and the state reported 18 flu-related deaths so far.

The city was experiencing its worst flu season since at least 2009, Mayor Thomas Menino said, with about 700 confirmed cases of the flu, compared with 70 all of last season.

Massachusetts was one of 29 states reporting high levels of “influenza-like illness,” according to the most recent weekly flu advisory issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ferry strikes New York dock; dozens injured

NEW YORK – A high-speed ferry loaded with hundreds of commuters from New Jersey crashed into a dock in lower Manhattan on Wednesday during the morning rush hour, seriously injuring 11 people, including one who suffered a severe head wound falling down a stairwell.

Scores of people who had been standing, waiting to disembark, were hurled to the deck or launched into walls by the impact, which came after the catamaran Seastreak Wall Street slowed following a routine trip across New York Bay and past the Statue of Liberty, passengers said.

Crane collapses in New York, 7 hurt

NEW YORK – A crane collapsed onto a building under construction near the East River waterfront Wednesday, injuring seven people, three of whom needed to be extricated from underneath the fallen machinery.

The red crane toppled around 2:30 p.m., sprawling across the metal scaffolding and wood planking that made up the first floor skeleton of a residential building in the New York City borough of Queens.

Clinton ‘thrilled’ to be back at work

WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday she is “thrilled to be back” at work after a monthlong absence because of illness, a concussion and a blood clot near her brain. But she said she is looking forward to leaving the job as America’s top diplomat and taking a break for at least “a little while.”

“I am back in the swing,” Clinton told reporters in her first public appearance since returning Monday to the State Department, where she was greeted by cheers and a standing ovation by senior staffers.

Associated Press