5 held hostage in West Virginia post office

WYTHEVILLE, Va. —Negotiators were trying to coax an armed man to release five hostages that had been held for hours Wednesday in a post office in a rural, mountain town in western Virginia.

Shots were fired earlier, but there were no reports of injuries, and relatives say the hostages have been able to contact them by phone. The suspect made no demands other than to ask for a pizza, said Pete Rendina, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

An officer delivered food and drinks to the front door of the post office at the request of the suspect, state police said in a news release. Earlier reports said the man was in a wheelchair, but state police said he entered the building pushing one.

Electrical malfunction halts Amtrak trains

NEWARK, N.J. —An electrical malfunction outside New York City brought train service to a standstill Wednesday and spotlighted problems on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor that persist despite a long-term effort to upgrade its aging power supply system.

Trains from Boston to Washington were delayed for about three hours after a low voltage reading was detected near a substation in North Bergen, N.J., where trains go under the Hudson River en route to Manhattan. Thousands of commuters and holiday travelers were stranded or left scrambling for alternative transportation.

"It's pretty awful," said Nick Fesette, 22, whose duffel bag rested on the floor of New York's Penn Station next to two white garbage bags full of wrapped gifts for his family in upstate New York.

Service was restored at about 11:30 a.m., and trains were running at or close to schedule by about 4 p.m.