Most computer users trying to access US government health care site are running into lengthy delays, dead ends, or frozen screens. Officials are stating that by the end of November, any remaining issues will be "minor".
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The management consultant President Barack Obama has asked to oversee the fixes to HealthCare.gov says there are dozens of problems that need to be addressed, but the system is fixable.
Jeffrey Zients tells reporters that it will take a lot of work, but the majority of the issues will be resolved by the end of November. At that point, he says users should experience far fewer errors, though he stops short of promising the problems will go away completely.
The system is made up of layers of components interacting in real time with consumers, government agencies and insurance company computers.
A private contractor responsible for two components of the website has been assigned to lead the fix. Quality Software Systems built the federal data hub, a major linchpin that works relatively well, and an accounts registration feature that froze and caused many of the initial problems.
Until now, officials at the federal government's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had the lead role on HealthCare.gov, but they appear to have gotten in over their heads.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Amid incidents of pets dying from dog treats, the Food and Drug Administration is proposing long-awaited rules to make pet food and animal feed safer.
The rules put forward Friday were not the direct result of this week's problem. They stem instead from a sweeping food safety law passed by Congress almost three years ago. Like rules proposed earlier this year for human food, they would focus on preventing contamination before it begins.
The announcement comes as the FDA says it hasn't yet determined a cause of almost 600 dog deaths believed to be linked to pet jerky treats imported from China.
The proposed rules would require those who sell pet food and animal feed in the United States to follow certain sanitation practices and have detailed food safety plans.
NEW YORK (AP) -- A Tennessee man is being held on six counts of criminal possession of a weapon pending an arraignment after a loaded, defaced rifle was found in his checked luggage at New York's Kennedy International Airport.
Keenan Draughon (DRAW'-guhn) was arrested Saturday morning as he prepared to board a flight to Charlotte, N.C.
A police spokesman says the 23-year-old Clarksville man also had high-capacity magazines, which are illegal in New York.
U.S. Transportation Security Administration rules allow only unloaded weapons in checked luggage.
The police spokesman says the serial numbers on two rifles were defaced. He says Draughon was also carrying two handguns in his checked luggage.
PHOENIX (AP) -- Police are investigating the shooting deaths of five people and two dogs found at a Phoenix apartment complex.
Sgt. Tommy Thompson says officers responded to a call about shots fired at the complex around 9 a.m. Saturday. Officers eventually narrowed down their search area to two apartments.
Television station KNXV reports officers entered the first apartment and found the bodies of four people. Two were on the patio and two were outside. Two dead dogs were also found.
In the second apartment nearby, Thompson says officers found the body of the suspected gunman.
Police say the suspect died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Police have not released any names or any details about what might have prompted the shootings.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Authorities say a man who was operating a ride at the North Carolina State Fair has been charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon after the ride injured five people.
The fair said in a news release Saturday that 46-year-old Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow, of Quitman, Ga., had been arrested. Witnesses say the ride had stopped and people were getting off when it started moving again.
Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said after inspecting the ride, investigators determined it had been tampered with and critical safety devices were compromised.
Tutterrow is employed by an independent ride contractor. A telephone call to Tutterrow was not immediately returned.
Three people are still in the hospital.
DEADLY CAR CRASH
LODI, Calif. (AP) -- Police in Lodi (LOH'-deye), California say a driver involved in a car crash that killed five family members had been drinking with his father shortly before the accident Tuesday.
According to police, 28-year-old Ryan Christopher Morales had been released from prison last month and did not have a driver's license. He remains in the hospital in critical condition.
A search warrant filed with the San Joaquin Superior Court indicates that an officer could smell alcohol on Morales as he was pinned inside a GMC Yukon.
The document said Morales was speeding during rush hour when he struck a Ford F-150 carrying a Lodi family, including a woman seven months pregnant.
Luis Miranda was killed, along with his pregnant wife Viviana Rodriguez. Also killed were three of their four young children. One son survived.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- For the first time, the Justice Department says it intends to use information gained from one of the government's warrantless surveillance programs against an accused terrorist.
That could set the stage for a Supreme Court test of the Obama administration's approach to national security.
The high court so far has turned aside challenges to the law on government surveillance.
The terrorism case involves Jamshid Muhtorov, who was accused in 2012 of providing material support to the Islamic Jihad Union, an Uzbek terrorist organization that, authorities say, was engaging NATO coalition and U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
According to court papers, the FBI investigated Muhtorov after his communications with an overseas website administrator for the IJU.
The program at issue in the case is commonly called "702," a reference to the numbered section of the surveillance law on Internet communication.
FOOD RECALL-SALAD RECALL
(AP) -- Taylor Farms is recalling broccoli salad and slaw sold across 25 eastern and southern states because they contain ingredients that may be contaminated with Listeria.
Taylor Farms says the packaged food includes ingredients recalled earlier this week by Reser's Fine Foods. The food was sold at deli counters in supermarket chains including Price Chopper, Shaw's, Shoprite, Acme Markets, Stop & Shop and others between Oct. 19 and Oct. 24. Separately, grocers Winn-Dixie and Giant Food say they have removed the items from their stores and are offering customers refunds.
There have been no reports of illnesses.
Reser's has recalled 109,000 cases of refrigerated, ready-to-eat items that were distributed across the U.S. and Canada because they may contain the Listeria monocytogenes bacterium. Listeria can lead to miscarriages in pregnant women and serious illness for those with weakened immune systems.
Arrest ends CA shootout that wounded 6 officers
ROSEVILLE, Calif. (AP) -- Police say a wanted California parolee fired first in a shootout that left six officers injured and led to an hours-long standoff in a suburban Sacramento city before he surrendered.
A Roseville police spokesman says one officer with a jaw wound and a federal agent shot in the leg remain hospitalized in serious condition. Four other Roseville officers injured by shrapnel were treated and released.
The 32-year-old suspect in the violent confrontation is a validated gang member with a criminal record that includes assault and carjacking.
Samuel Nathan Duran was taken to the Placer County jail Saturday after being treated for scrapes and cuts after surrendering just after midnight.
Duran is being held on a parole violation, but Roseville Police Chief Daniel Hahn says he expects multiple charges of attempted murder would be added.
Duran's aunt tells the Sacramento Bee the family did not believe he fired the shots that struck the federal agent and that the police response to the incident was excessive.
Mojave Desert gunman's life crumbled to bloody end
RIDGECREST, Calif. (AP) -- Life had been unraveling for the man who led police on a wild chase across the Mojave Desert with hostages in his trunk.
Officers fatally shot Sergio Munoz (moon-YOHS') Friday after he killed one woman and wounded a man, then called police to say he would "wreak havoc" on the small city of Ridgecrest.
Munoz's 15-year-old daughter says in a Facebook post that her dad was a good person whose life was hijacked by drugs.
Police have said that Munoz recently lost his job, and his estranged wife says she was distancing herself and their kids from him because he was making bad choices.
It wasn't clear when Munoz took the hostages, both of whom were expected to survive gunshot wounds.
WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) -- Fire officials say a dog reaching for treats turned on a stove and started a fire causing smoke damage to an apartment in the central Washington city of Wenatchee.
Wenatchee Fire Marshal Mark Yaple tells KPQ radio that it appears the black Labrador was reaching for a bag of dog food left on a stove top when it turned on the stove with its paw.
Yaple says the residents were not at home when fire crews arrived.
He says emergency crews were able to revive the dog with mouth-to-snout resuscitation. Damage was estimated at $10,000.
Wenatchee, a city of more than 30,000, is about 130 miles from Seattle.
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