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Dec 2, 2013

U.S. ship Cape Ray readied for possible chemical arms destruction

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government has begun outfitting a ship in its reserve ready force with equipment to enable it to destroy some of Syria’s chemical weapons at sea in the event Washington is asked to assist in the effort, a defense official said on Sunday.

The Maritime Administration vessel MV Cape Ray is being equipped with the newly developed Field Deployable Hydrolysis System, which was designed by the Defense Department to neutralize components used in chemical weapons, a defense official said on condition of anonymity.

Dec 1, 2013

Biden on delicate mission to defuse tensions in East Asia

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will try to strike a delicate balance of calming military tensions with China while supporting ally Japan against Beijing on a trip to Asia this week that is being overshadowed by a territorial dispute in the East China Sea.

Aiming to counter criticism that the United States is neglecting Asia because it is distracted by domestic politics and the Middle East, the White House has long been planning a visit by Biden to Japan, China and South Korea.

Dec 1, 2013

Obamacare website enters critical phase, unclear if fixes are enough

By Sharon Begley and Roberta Rampton

(Reuters) – The rollout of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law entered a critical phase on Saturday, the deadline for substantially fixing the program’s troubled enrollment website, as the administration scrambled to address the most obvious glitches.

The White House, facing mounting pressure from Republican opponents and members of Obama’s Democratic party, promised five weeks ago that by November 30 it would repair The site was designed to help people sign up for medical coverage but has been plagued by errors, outages, and slow speeds since a disastrous October 1 launch.

Nov 30, 2013

Obamacare website faces crucial weekend after technology overhaul

WASHINGTON, Nov 30 (Reuters) – Americans are getting their
first look on Saturday at whether a five-week, round-the-clock
technology overhaul has made it easier to use the troubled
website that is the backbone of President Barack Obama’s
landmark healthcare overhaul.

The White House had pledged that, which has
been plagued by errors, outages, and slow speeds since its
disastrous Oct. 1 launch – would be working for most people this

Nov 30, 2013

Crucial weekend for Obamacare website begins with a shutdown

WASHINGTON, Nov 30 (Reuters) – A crucial weekend for the
troubled website that is the backbone of President Barack
Obama’s healthcare overhaul appears to be off to a shaky start,
as the U.S. government took the site offline for
an unusually long maintenance period into Saturday morning.

Just hours before the Obama administration’s self-imposed
deadline to get the insurance shopping website working for the
“vast majority” of its users by Saturday, the Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it was
taking down the website for an 11-hour period that would end at
8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT) on Saturday.

Nov 30, 2013

U.S. healthcare website down overnight for extended upgrade

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government said it would take down the website at the center of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms for an extended 11-hour period overnight on Friday as technology experts push to complete upgrades by a November 30 deadline.

The website,, was supposed to make it easy to shop for health insurance required by the Obamacare law when it launched on October 1, but quickly turned into a political disaster after errors and timelags prevented most people who visited the site from signing up.

Nov 29, 2013

Obama says ‘nowhere to go but up’ after debacle

WASHINGTON, Nov 29 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s
popularity has taken a beating over the botched Oct. 1 launch of
Obamacare, but in a television interview set to air on Friday,
Obama said he believes Americans eventually will appreciate his
signature healthcare reform.

Reflecting on his poll numbers in an interview with ABC’s
Barbara Walters, Obama said: “I’ve gone up and down pretty much
consistently throughout.

Nov 29, 2013

China scrambles jets to new defence zone, eyes U.S., Japan flights

BEIJING/WASHINGTON, Nov 29 (Reuters) – China scrambled jets
on Friday in response to two U.S. spy planes and 10 Japanese
aircraft, including F-15 fighters, entering its new air defence
zone over the East China Sea, state news agency Xinhua said,
raising the stakes in a standoff with the United States, Japan
and South Korea.

The jets were scrambled for effective monitoring, Xinhua
cited air force spokesman Shen Jinke as saying. The report gave
no further details.

Nov 29, 2013

China military sends air patrols through new defense zone

BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China sent several fighter jets and an early warning aircraft into its new air defense zone over the East China Sea on Thursday, state news agency Xinhua said, raising the stakes in a standoff with the United States, Japan and South Korea.

Japan and South Korea also flew military aircraft through the zone on Thursday while Washington sent two unarmed B-52 bombers into the airspace earlier this week in a sign of support for its ally Japan. None of those aircraft informed Beijing.

Nov 28, 2013

The second coming of Obamacare website – will it work?

Nov 28 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s healthcare law
is facing its biggest test this weekend since its disastrous
Oct. 1 launch, as Americans find out whether the administration
has met a self-imposed deadline to fix its insurance shopping

Another major outage of glitch-ridden could
spell more political trouble for the president, who was forced
to apologize for the botched rollout and admit burdening
Democratic Party allies in their bids for re-election to
Congress in 2014.

    • About Roberta

      "Based on Capitol Hill, I help cover U.S. energy and environmental policy. I have reported on commodities since 1995, and have been with Reuters since 2002, moving to Washington from Canada in 2008."
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