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Two-year extension seen for canceled health plans
Written by RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 12:49

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration will allow a two-year extension for people whose individual health insurance policies don't comply with requirements of the new health care law. The decision will help defuse a politically difficult issue for Democrats during an election year.

A government official familiar with the policy said Wednesday that the administration has decided to extend for another two years a transition plan the White House announced last fall. The extension would be valid for policies issued up to Oct. 1, 2016. The official was not authorized to discuss the change on the record and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The cancellation of at least 4.7 million individual policies was the most politically damaging issue in the transition to a new insurance system under President Barack Obama's law.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Former IRS official, appears, refuses to testify at hearing
Written by STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 10:47

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner is once again refusing to answer questions at a congressional hearing on the targeting of tea party groups.

Lerner headed the IRS division that improperly targeted tea party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status from 2010 to 2012.

She appeared at a Wednesday hearing by the House Oversight Committee. But when Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (EYE'-suh) asked her questions about her role in the matter, Lerner invoked her constitutional right not to incriminate herself.

Lerner was the first IRS official to publicly disclose the targeting last spring. But this is the second time Lerner has declined to answer questions at a congressional hearing.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Canadian ship's guests got close-up of fire battle
Written by OSKAR GARCIA, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 07:16

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) — Guests aboard a naval refueling ship thought they were going to see some drills and learn more about life as a Canadian sailor on the Pacific. Instead, they got a firsthand view of their loved ones in action as the sailors battled an engine fire.

"We didn't know if it was a drill or if it's for real. We realized quickly it's for real," said Wade Kehler, whose son Sam is a combat information officer aboard the HMCS Protecteur. "We stood there in amazement and watched the crew get organized and go."

A U.S. Navy ocean tug on Tuesday was towing the Canadian ship with nearly 300 crew members on board to Hawaii's Pearl Harbor after the fire left 20 sailors with minor injuries.

The Protecteur was in the Pacific Ocean north of Hawaii when the fire broke out last week, the Canadian navy said.

Its passengers included some of the crew's family who had been traveling with the Protecteur on its return leg to Esquimalt, British Columbia. It is common for family to join crew members returning from long missions.

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'How We Die' author Nuland dies at age 83
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 07:19

HAMDEN, Conn. (AP) — Dr. Sherwin Nuland, a medical ethicist who opposed assisted suicide and wrote an award-winning book about death called "How We Die," has died at age 83.

He died of prostate cancer on Monday at his home in Hamden, said his daughter Amelia Nuland, who recalled how he told her he wasn't ready for death because he loved life.

"He told me, 'I'm not scared of dying, but I've built such a beautiful life, and I'm not ready to leave it,'" she said Tuesday.

Sherwin Nuland was born in New York and taught medical ethics at Yale University in New Haven. He was critical of the medical profession's obsession with prolonging life when common sense would dictate further treatment is futile. He wrote nature "will always win in the end, as it must if our species is to survive."

"The necessity of nature's final victory was accepted in generations before our own," he wrote. "Doctors were far more willing to recognize the signs of defeat and far less arrogant about denying them."

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Paul Simon, Sting rock Madison Square Garden
Written by JOHN CARUCCI, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 07:14

NEW YORK (AP) — Five minutes before the show was supposed to start, throngs of people were still waiting to pass through intense security outside Madison Square Garden. So, when Sting and Paul Simon took the stage a few minutes later, they played to scattered empty seats. But by the end of the second song, the arena was filled to capacity as the two touring musical icons brought the Garden to life.

From the first notes, you could feel the mutual admiration they had for each other. They shared vocals on Sting's "Brand New Day," followed by Simon's "The Boy in the Bubble." After covering Sting's "Fields of Gold," the Queens-born Simon addressed the hometown crowd to loud applause. He even acknowledged driving over the "Ed Koch Bridge," an insider nod to Simon and Garfunkel's "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)" and what the span is better known by in New York.

The pair rotated on and off stage for the next 2 1/2 hours. After the 72-year-old Simon left the stage for a little while, Sting dug into his solo and Police repertoire, covering songs like "Driven to Tears" and "Walking on the Moon." Before launching into "Englishman in New York," he told the crowd that there's nowhere in the world like the Garden, to thunderous cheers.

Simon then came on for his solo turn, playing hits like "Still Crazy After All These Years" and "Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard," which brought everyone to their feet. He was joined again by Sting on guitar, as Simon covered his touching ballad, "Fragile." At the end, Simon expressed his love for the song, and told Sting: "I wish I wrote it."

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