News around the world
States get 2nd chance at insurance exchange
HELENA, Mont. — The Obama administration said that states that have not adopted their own insurance exchanges may get a second chance to avoid getting one run solely by the federal government.
Only 11 states have fully embraced the idea of taking federal money to set up their own state-run insurance exchange, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services official said. The exchange, a key part of Obama’s health care overhaul, is designed to help uninsured people buy coverage from a choice of plans with federal tax credits.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services officials told Montana legislators Tuesday that the agency is working on a new partnership model to let state agencies help run the exchange — perhaps without the need for legislative authorization.
East Coast rocked by quake
MINERAL, Va. — The most powerful earthquake to strike the East Coast in 67 years shook buildings and rattled nerves from South Carolina to Maine on Tuesday. Frightened office workers spilled into the streets in New York, and parts of the White House, Capitol and Pentagon were evacuated.
The National Cathedral said its central tower and three of its four corner spires were damaged, but the White House said advisers had told President Barack Obama there were no reports of major damage to the nation’s infrastructure, including airports and nuclear facilities.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake registered magnitude 5.8 and was centered 90 miles southwest of Washington. It was mild by West Coast standards, but the East Coast is not used to quakes of any size, and this one briefly raised fears of a terror attack less than three weeks before the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11.
Libyan rebels hunt Gadhafi
TRIPOLI, Libya — Libyans hunting Moammar Gadhafi offered a $2 million bounty on the fallen dictator’s head and amnesty for anyone who kills or captures him as rebels battled Wednesday to clear the last pockets of resistance from the capital Tripoli.
While some die-hard loyalists kept up the fig
ht to defend Gadhafi, his support was crumbling by the hour. His deputy intelligence chief defected, and even his foreign minister said his 42-year rule was over.
A defiant Gadhafi vowed from hiding to fight on “until victory or martyrdom,” in an audio message early Wednesday.
He may have little choice. Asked by the British broadcaster Channel 4 if a negotiated settlement or safe passage for Gadhafi from Libya was still possible, Foreign Minister Abdul Ati al-Obeidi said: “It looks like things have passed this kind of solution.”
Rebel leaders were beginning to set up a new government in the capital. Their interim administration, the National Transitional Council, has been based in the eastern city of Benghazi, which fell under rebel control shortly after the outbreak of widespread protests in February.
“Members of the council are now moving one by one from Benghazi to Tripoli,” said Mansour Seyf al-Nasr, the Libyan opposition’s new ambassador to France.
Rebel officials are eager to prove they can bring a stable political future to Libya, and that their movement is more than an often-fractious collection of tribes, ethnicities and semiautonomous militias. Mahmoud Jibril, the head of the opposition government, outlined plans for a new constitution and elections and said officials were talking to the U.N. about sending up to 200 monitors to help ensure security in Tripoli.
Report says Sprint to get iPhone in October
NEW YORK — Sprint Nextel Corp., the country’s third-largest cell-phone company, will start selling the iPhone in mid-October, The Wall Street Journal said.
Citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, the newspaper said the wireless company will get to sell both the new iPhone 5 and the current model, the iPhone 4. The iPhone 5 will launch at the same time that AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless get it, the newspaper said.
Apple Inc. normally launches a new iPhone model in June or July, but this year’s launch has been delayed for unknown reasons. Apple watchers had expected the new phone to arrive in September, but speculation has recently shifted toward October.