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Nation/World

Deadline softened on health coverage

– The Obama administration is granting more time for people to apply for health care if they started the process but were unable to complete it before the March 31 deadline.

Health and Human Service spokesman Aaron Albright said Tuesday night the administration will be ready to help people “in line” by the deadline finish their applications, either online or over the phone.

The White House had hinted last week such a grace period was in the works.

The administration is racing to sign up at least 6 million people in the new health insurance markets offering subsidized private coverage.

Nation

Civilian kills 1, shot dead at naval base

A civilian approaching a Navy destroyer at the world’s largest naval base late Monday took a weapon from a sailor who was standing watch and used it to shoot and kill another sailor who was trying to help his embattled colleague, Navy officials said Tuesday.

Navy security forces then killed the suspect, who was authorized to be on Naval Station Norfolk and did not bring his own weapon on base, according to Capt. Robert Clark, the base’s commanding officer. The identities of the civilian and the sailor who were killed have not been released.

Emergency brake failed in derailment

An emergency track-side braking system activated but failed to stop a Chicago commuter train from jumping the tracks and barreling to the top of an escalator at O’Hare International Airport, a federal investigator said Tuesday.

The events that led to Monday’s accident, which occurred around 3 a.m. and injured more than 30 passengers, apparently began with the train operator dozing off toward the end of her shift, according the union representing transit workers.

Gay marriage ban back on indefinitely

A federal appeals court Tuesday put an indefinite halt to gay marriage in Michigan while it takes a longer look at a judge’s decision overturning a 2004 ban on same-sex nuptials.

The court granted the state’s request to suspend a ruling by U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman, who declared the voter-approved ban unconstitutional Friday. That suspension had been set to expire today.

Oil spill’s effects apparently minor

Environmental groups as well as state and federal officials are encouraged by ongoing assessments that seem to show the effect an oil spill in the Houston Ship Channel on wildlife has been relatively minor.

But they remain cautious, saying they are still finding injured animals that they are cleaning and treating.

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard partly reopened the ship channel Tuesday.

World

North Korea fires mid-range missiles

North Korea early today test-fired what appeared to be two mid-range ballistic missiles, South Korea said, hours after Pyongyang rivals South Korea, Japan and the United States met in the Netherlands to discuss the country.

Such a launch would be a violation of U.N. resolutions and a big step up from a series of shorter-range rocket launches the North has staged in recent weeks in apparent protest of ongoing annual military drills by Washington and Seoul that the North claims are invasion preparation.

It also comes on the fourth anniversary of the deadly sinking of a South Korean warship that Seoul and other nations blame on a North Korean torpedo. Pyongyang denies involvement in the sinking, which killed 46 sailors.

US, Russia proceed with space launch

Their relationship on Earth may be at its lowest ebb in decades, but the U.S. and Russia haven’t allowed their disagreements over Ukraine get in the way of their joint mission in space.

Early today, a rocket carrying a Russian-American crew to the International Space Station blasted off successfully from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Pistorius expected to testify this week

Oscar Pistorius will probably testify at his trial this week, a defense attorney said Tuesday after prosecutors rested their case against the double-amputee runner who is accused of murder in his girlfriend’s death.

In a rare public comment, Pistorius said he was going through “a tough time” as the case advanced.

“We’ve got a lot ahead of us,” he told reporters after the court adjourned.

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