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Updated: 17 min 58 sec ago

U.S. agency fixes problem hampering Obamacare applications

Sat, 02/14/2015 - 17:11

A day before the open enrollment deadline for private health coverage under Obamacare, some consumers were unable to submit applications because of "intermittent issues" with income verification, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department said on Saturday. It said in a statement that it had worked with the Internal Revenue Service to fix the problem. The department said consumers who were affected should log into their account on the website and click on their 2015 application to finish it and complete their enrollment for coverage. The department said anyone who was unable to submit an application because their income could not be verified due to this or any other technical problem will receive an extension for enrollment.

Autopsy shows New York Times writer Carr died of lung cancer

Sat, 02/14/2015 - 16:53

NEW YORK (AP) — New York Times media columnist David Carr died of complications from metastatic lung cancer, according to autopsy results released Saturday.

In Newark, the American dream is this year's sweetest Valentine

Sat, 02/14/2015 - 15:29
By Peter Wolf NEWARK, N.J. (Reuters) - For more than 200 couples who lined up in Newark, New Jersey, on a frigid Valentine's Day morning, the city's plan to sell building lots at the bargain price of $1,000 a piece was a chance to make the American dream come true. The turnout was also beyond the wildest dreams of the officials who came up with the idea of offering a sweetheart deal to attract fledgling families to neighborhoods of the state's largest city that need of an influx of new residents. "Families are the core of community, so we wanted to change the perception of our community, to get people to choose to live in Newark," said Mayor Ras Baraka. "But this has taken on a life of its own." Baraka, the son of poet and activist Amiri Baraka, said a website about the sale drew 10,000 hits, and the offer has garnered international media attention.

U.S. agency says work to fix problem hampering Obamacare applications

Sat, 02/14/2015 - 13:50

A day before the open enrollment deadline for private health coverage under Obamacare, some consumers are unable to submit applications because of "intermittent issues" with income verification, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department said on Saturday. A senior U.S. health official said last week that nearly 7.5 million people had signed up for 2015 Obamacare health plans through the federal exchange, and that demand was increasing as the Feb. 15 deadline approached.

Not again! Another winter storm bears down on New England

Sat, 02/14/2015 - 11:42

BOSTON (AP) — Mother Nature is proving to be cold-hearted to New England for Valentine's Day.

One dead, three police hurt in shooting at Copenhagen Islam debate

Sat, 02/14/2015 - 11:02

A gunman killed at least one person and wounded three police officers after opening fire Saturday on a cultural centre in Copenhagen as it was hosting a debate on Islam and free speech. Swedish artist Lars Vilks -- the author of controversial Prophet Mohammed cartoons that sparked worldwide protests in 2007 -- was among those at the debate targeted by the gunman, who fled the scene after a shootout with police. Danish Prime Minister Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt described the assault as "a terrorist attack" as Danish television showed the windows of the Krudttonden cultural centre pock-marked by multiple bullet holes.

Police: 1 dead in shooting at Copenhagen free speech event

Sat, 02/14/2015 - 08:46

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A gunman fired on a cafe in Copenhagen as it hosted a free speech event Saturday, killing one man, Danish police said. The event was organized by Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who has faced numerous threats after caricaturing the Prophet Muhammad.

FBI monitoring investigation of fire at Houston Islamic center

Sat, 02/14/2015 - 07:55
By Camilo Smith HOUSTON (Reuters) - The FBI is monitoring an investigation into a fire that destroyed a building at an Islamic institute in Houston and could take a more active role, a bureau spokeswoman said on Saturday. The blaze early on Friday at the Quba Islamic Institute destroyed one of three buildings there, but no one was injured, fire officials have said. Houston Fire Department arson investigators were working to pinpoint the cause of the fire, but no official determination has been made, officials said. The FBI says hate crimes are fully or partly motivated by bias against race, religion, ethnicity, disability, gender or sexual orientation.

Obama asks labor secretary to mediate in West Coast Ports dispute

Sat, 02/14/2015 - 07:31

President Barack Obama has asked Labor Secretary Tom Perez to travel to California to help spur an agreement in talks with the dockworkers' union that have led to closed ports along the U.S. West Coast, the White House said on Saturday. "The negotiations over the functioning of the West Coast Ports have been taking place for months with the administration urging the parties to resolve their differences," White House spokesman Eric Schultz said. "Out of concern for the economic consequences of further delay, the president has directed his Secretary of Labor Tom Perez travel to California to meet with the parties to urge them to resolve their dispute quickly at the bargaining table." Perez has been in contact with the parties and will keep Obama updated, he said. Negotiators for the union representing 20,000 dockworkers at 29 ports and management's bargaining agent, the Pacific Maritime Association, have agreed to a federal mediator's request for a 48-hour news blackout after a bargaining session on Thursday, which was the parties' first face-to-face meeting in nearly a week.

Zaha Hadid brings her creative touch to Miami skyline

Sat, 02/14/2015 - 06:22

By David Adams MIAMI (Reuters) - For renowned international architect Zaha Hadid, something in Miami never added up: the architecture didn't match the city. The city lacked residences to back up its diverse, international population and burgeoning reputation for high-end culture, including Art Basel, a large, annual contemporary fair.With that in mind, she recently broke ground on her luxury tower on Miami's downtown bayfront. Employing her trademark sinewy curves and column-free spaces, the structure will twist over 700 feet into the sky to provide views reaching across Biscayne Bay and past Miami Beach to the Atlantic Ocean. Billed as offering a "six--star lifestyle" with a private rooftop helipad, scented ambiances and an indoor aquatic center, it seeks to set a new standard in Miami's growing number of luxury residencies with prices starting at $6 million.

Barack Obama thought 'Yes We Can' was 'too corny' — but Michelle did not

Sat, 02/14/2015 - 05:07

During his 2004 run for U.S. Senate, Barack Obama wondered if the campaign slogan "Yes We Can" was too corny. According to David Axelrod, Obama's media consultant at the time, it took Michelle Obama to convince the then-Illinois state senator that it wasn't.

Coroner orders inquest in fatal police shooting in Washington state: paper

Sat, 02/14/2015 - 00:46
By Victoria Cavaliere SEATTLE (Reuters) - A Washington state coroner has ordered an inquest into the fatal shooting by police of a man who was throwing rocks at the officers in an incident captured on video, according to a newspaper report on Saturday. Franklin County coroner Dan Blasdel ordered the review to determine whether the killing of Antonio Zambrano-Montes in the city of Pasco, about 200 miles (320 km) southeast of Seattle, was justified or reckless, the Tri-City Herald reported. His shooting comes amid heightened tension over policing in the United States after incidents including the killings of two unarmed black men last year by white police officers in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson and New York City.

Ukraine ceasefire in doubt as fresh fighting kills 28

Sat, 02/14/2015 - 00:07

Fighting has raged on in Ukraine, throwing doubts on a ceasefire deal due to take effect over the weekend, with the US saying Russia is still deploying heavy arms and Kiev warning that shelling of civilians had intensified. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Friday that the continuing bombardment of civilians in eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian separatist rebels was already undermining the peace plan reached in Minsk a day before. "Unfortunately after the Minsk agreement, Russia's offensive has significantly increased.

Subpoenas arrive as Oregon governor announces departure

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 23:53

Federal agents are looking into the influence-peddling scandal that led to the abrupt end of Gov. John Kitzhaber's political career.

New storm threatens blizzard conditions in New England

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 21:02

(Reuters) - Another winter storm was taking aim at the winter-weary U.S. Northeast on Saturday, threatening blizzard conditions and severe cold in parts of New England already buried under six feet (1.8 meters) of snow, forecasters said. The latest storm was tracking east across the Great Lakes and was expected to gather strength as it approaches the Atlantic coast, spreading a blast of arctic air and snow from Virginia to southern Canada, the National Weather Service said. The most severe weather was poised for the New England coast from Saturday into Sunday, the National Weather Service said. Blizzard conditions are also expected in Rhode Island, eastern Connecticut, New Hampshire and coastal Maine, AccuWeather predicted.

Houston arson investigators probe fire at Islamic center

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 18:20

By Camilo Smith HOUSTON (Reuters) - Arson investigators from the Houston Fire Department are probing a blaze that destroyed a building at an Islamic institute in the city on Friday, officials said. There has been no official determination yet of what caused the fire at the Quba Islamic Institute in the pre-dawn hours of Friday, fire officials said, adding no one was injured. In a video on the institute's Facebook page, Ahsan Zahid, son of the imam, said fire officials told him the fire appeared intentional. Zahid urged the Islamic community and supporters not to assign blame until the investigation concluded.

WSJ: Iranian leader Ayatollah Khamenei sent Obama secret letter

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 17:17

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has responded to overtures from U.S. President Barack Obama amid nuclear talks by sending him a secret letter, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. Citing an Iranian diplomat, the paper said the Iranian cleric had written to Obama in recent weeks in response to a presidential letter sent in October. Obama's letter suggested the possibility of U.S.-Iranian cooperation in fighting Islamic State if a nuclear deal was secured, the paper said, quoting the diplomat. Khamenei's letter was "respectful" but noncommittal, it quoted the diplomat as saying.

Oregon governor's resignation elevates Secretary of State Kate Brown

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 15:28

The resignation of Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber instantly promoted the liberal Democrat who is next in line to succeed him: the 54-year-old secretary of state who has long been thought to have her eye on Oregon's top elected position.

Obama adviser John Podesta's biggest regret: Keeping America in dark about UFOs

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 15:08

Outgoing senior Obama adviser John Podesta reflected on his latest White House stint Friday, listing his favorite moments and biggest regrets from the past year. Chief among them: depriving the American people of the truth about UFOs.

California has three new measles cases, Arizona says outbreak winding down

Fri, 02/13/2015 - 14:48

By Dan Whitcomb LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California public health officials have confirmed three more cases of measles in an outbreak that began in late December, bringing to 113 the total number of people believed to have been infected in the state. Health officials in Arizona, where seven cases of measles have been documented, said the outbreak would likely be considered over in that state if no further infections were reported over the weekend. Across the United States, more than 150 people have been diagnosed with measles, many of them linked to an outbreak that authorities believe began when an infected person from out of the country visited Disneyland in late December. The California Department of Public Health said 39 of the 113 people who contracted measles in the state were believed to have been exposed while visiting Disneyland.