by Reuters
Sunday, 27 October 2013 21:12 GMT



U.S. official faces grilling over Obamacare website fiasco

WASHINGTON - A key administration official overseeing the launch of Obamacare insurance exchanges will go before a congressional committee to explain how the website failed. (USA-HEALTHCARE/CONGRESS, 1,000 words)

Two Republican congressmen defend U.S. spying abroad

WASHINGTON - Two Republican congressmen defend Washington's surveillance programs abroad in reaction to protests from allies after the wide scope of the eavesdropping was revealed this year by former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden (USA-SECURITY/, 550 words)

German paper says Obama aware of spying on Merkel since 2010

BERLIN - A German newspaper said on Sunday that U.S. President Barack Obama knew his intelligence service was eavesdropping on Angela Merkel as long ago as 2010, contradicting reports that he had told the German leader he did not know. (GERMANY-USA/SPYING (UPDATE 1, PIX), 800 words)

For Monday:

Michael Jackson's physician, Conrad Murray, due to be released from California prison

LOS ANGELES - Conrad Murray, the cardiologist convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of pop star Michael Jackson, will be released from a California prison on Monday. Murray, who was sentenced to four years in prison in 2011 for adiministering the lethal dose of a powerful surgical anesthetic to Jackson, will have served two years of his sentence due to overcrowding in California prisons. (PEOPLE-MICHAELJACKSON/PHYSICIAN; ETA TBD)

Judge may issue ruling on effort to block Texas abortion law

AUSTIN - A judge in Austin could issue a ruling on Monday whether to block parts of a new anti-abortion law set to go into effect at the end of October. (USA-ABORTION/TEXAS, story on merit)

Infomercial pitchman Kevin Trudeau, jailed for contempt, scheduled to appear at federal court status hearing

CHICAGO - Infomercial pitchman Kevin Trudeau is scheduled to appear in federal court on Monday for a status hearing in his case. Trudeau was jailed for contempt on Tuesday by a federal judge for failing to disclose all of his assets or pay a nearly $38 million civil judgment. USA-TRUDEAU/PITCHMAN, story on merit)

Judge to sentence ex-Arizona congressman convicted of fraud and extortion

TUCSON, Ariz. - A federal judge is to sentence former U.S. Representative Richard Renzi of Arizona, convicted in June of fraud, extortion and money laundering stemming from a federal land swap deal when he was in office. (USA-CRIME/RICHARDRENZI, 400 words, ETA TBD)

Maine "hermit" to face sentencing

AUGUSTA, Maine - A man who walked into the woods shortly after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and spent 27 years living alone, supporting himself by burglarizing nearby camps, is due in court for sentencing. (USA-MAINE/HERMIT, 400 words, expect by 4 p.m. ET)

Arraignment for man accused of killing son of NFL's Adrian Peterson

A South Dakota man accused of killing the 2-year-old son of NFL running back Adrian Peterson is scheduled to be arraigned on murder and manslaughter charges in the circuit court that covers the Sioux Falls area. (USA-CRIME/PETERSON, about 350 words, on merit)


Colombia's FARC frees ex-U.S. marine after four months in jungle

BOGOTA - Colombia's FARC guerrillas have freed a former U.S. marine who was kidnapped in June while he trekked through the jungle in a known guerrilla area, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the U.S. government said on Sunday. (COLOMBIA-REBELS/HOSTAGE (UPDATE 3), 450 words)

Colorado prosecutor unsure if he would have charged JonBenet parents

A Colorado prosecutor said his predecessor's decision not to prosecute the parents of slain child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey was made because of a lack of evidence to prove the case, but could not say if he would have made the same choice. (USA-COLORAD/JONBENET, 650 words)

Mother and four children killed with meat cleaver in New York

NEW YORK - A New York woman and her four young children were hacked to death with a meat cleaver in their Brooklyn home at the weekend and the father's cousin will be charged with their murders on Sunday, the New York Police Department said. (USA-NEWYORK/STABBING (UPDATE 1), 185 words)

Two held in stabbing at Indiana University

Police arrested two men on Sunday following a stabbing outside a student apartment complex at Indiana University in Bloomington that prompted a campus-wide alert and a search for the suspects, the university said. (USA-INDIANA/KNIFE (UPDATE 2), 234 words)

Hawaii lawmakers to hold special session to consider gay marriage

HONOLULU - Hawaii, which had a pioneering role in the acceptance of same-sex marriage in the United States two decades ago, could become the 15th state to extend marriage rights to gay couples when state lawmakers meet this week for a special session. (USA-GAYMARRIAGE/HAWAII, 630 words)

Former South African politician Sexwale arrested in New York - SABC

JOHANNESBURG - Prominent South African businessman and anti-apartheid stalwart Tokyo Sexwale was arrested in New York after his name was on a list of people banned from entering the United States, national broadcaster SABC said on Sunday, citing his lawyer. (SAFRICA-SEXWALE/, 230 words)


Billionaire PM cements grip in Georgia, ally elected president

TBILISI - A little-known ally of billionaire Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili won a landslide victory in Georgia's presidential election on Sunday, cementing the ruling coalition's grip on power after Mikheil Saakashvili's 10-year rule. (GEORGIA-ELECTION/ (UPDATE 5, TV, PICTURE), 600 words)

As Iraq seeks U.S. arms, bombs kill another 55

BAGHDAD - A dozen bombings in Iraq kill 55 people as the prime minister prepares to travel to Washington to seek President Barack Obama's help in confronting a wave of sectarian violence fueled by Syria's civil war. (IRAQ-VIOLENCE/ (UPDATE 3, PICTURE, TV), 800 words)

Kurdish militants tighten grip on Syria's northeast

AMMAN - Kurdish militants move to consolidate their control of an oil-producing region in northeastern Syria after seizing a border crossing with Iraq from Islamist rebels, activists say. (SYRIA-CRISIS/, PICTURE, TV), 650 words)

+ See also:

- SYRIA-CRISIS/OPCW, 300 words


Chile's Bachelet set to return to power but obstacles await

RANCAGUA, Chile - Michelle Bachelet is a safe bet to return to power in Chile's presidential election but, now touting a more ambitious program of leftist reforms, she will need every ounce of her political skill to push them through. (CHILE-ELECTION/BACHELET (ANALYSIS, PIX, TV), expect by 2000 GMT/4 P.M. ET, 1,600 words)

Argentina's ailing president faces tough congressional vote

BUENOS AIRES - Argentine President Cristina Fernandez is expected to lose some of her congressional clout in Sunday's midterm election as the ailing leader faces complaints over galloping inflation and a weakening currency. (ARGENTINA-ELECTION/ (UPDATE 1, TV, PICTURE), 600 words)


Iranian capital takes down some anti-American posters

DUBAI - Tehran authorities have taken down some anti-American posters, amid signs Iran is seeking better relations with the United States as the two sides prepare to hold talks over its nuclear program. (IRAN-USA/POSTERS, 350 words)

+ See also:

IRAN NUCLEAR/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 350 words

In Libya's east, a former rebel commander tests Tripoli

BREGA, Libya - For Libyan militia leader Ibrahim al-Jathran, shutting down half the country's oil production with an armed militia is not a crime, it is the start of a just battle for a fair share of country's petroleum wealth. (LIBYA-OIL/PROTESTS/, NEWSMAKER, PICTURE, TV), 1,200 words)

Palestinian downturn bites, aid falters, tunnels collapse

RAMALLAH, West Bank - The crackdown on the Gaza Strip and stagnation in the West Bank mean the Palestinian economy might shrink this year after average annual growth of about 9 percent in 2008-2011. (PALESTINIANS-ECONOMY/ (ANALYSIS), 1,200 words)

Egypt seeks to lure Gulf investors amid turmoil

CAIRO - Egypt is planning a charm offensive to persuade Gulf Arab entrepreneurs to invest in its economy, battered by political upheaval, protests and violence. (EGYPT-INVESTMENT/, 500 words)

Saudi women say they will keep pushing for right to drive

RIYADH - Saudi women demanding the right to drive say they will keep up their campaign a day after government warnings and a heavy police presence thwarted their call for many women to get behind the wheel. (SAUDI-WOMENDRIVING/, 700 words)


Czech Social Democrats look to protest party to form govt

PRAGUE - The Social Democrats look to new centrist party ANO to help form a government after narrowly winning a Czech election that punished the establishment for sleaze and budget cuts. (CZECH-ELECTION/, 650 words)

Spaniards rally against court's freeing of ETA member

MADRID - Thousands of people rally in Madrid to protest against a European court ruling which released an ETA member from jail and opened the way for dozens of other convicted Basque separatists to walk free. (SPAIN-ETA/ PICTURE), 450 words)


Blasts kill 5 at rally for Indian opposition candidate Modi

NEW DELHI - Explosions at an Indian election rally kill five people and wound 83 in the eastern city of Patna, the chief minister of Bihar state says. (INDIA-POLITICS/BLASTS (UPDATE 3), 660 words)

Abe: Japan won't tolerate force to change region

ASAKA, Japan - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tells Japanese troops that Japan would not tolerate the use of force to change the region's status quo, comments likely to rile Beijing which is locked in a long and bitter territorial dispute with Tokyo. (JAPAN-DEFENCE/ (UPDATE 1), 600 words)

Afghan watchdog blames government for election shortcomings

KABUL - Afghanistan's independent election watchdog blames the government for failing to prepare the ground for next year's presidential election, and an opposition leader accuses President Hamid Karzai of trying to influence the vote. (AFGHANISTAN-ELECTIONS/, 400 words)

+ See also:



U.N. peacekeeper killed as Congo's army gains ground

KINSHASA - A U.N. peacekeeper is killed and another injured during a third day of fighting between government forces and rebels in eastern Congo as the army presses toward the rebel stronghold of Rutshuru. (CONGO-DEMOCRATIC/REBELS (UPDATE 1), 600 words)

Somalia journalists beaten, radio stations taken off air

MOGADISHU - Somali security agents storm and shut down two radio stations, beat and detain reporters, and impound their equipment, their union says (SOMALIA-JOURNALISTS/, 400 words)

European, African observers say Madagascar election credible

ANTANANARIVO - Madagascar's first presidential election since a military-backed coup was free and fair, European Union (EU) and Southern African observers say, as early results trickled out two days after the poll. (MADAGASCAR-ELECTION/ PICTURE, TV, 400 words)


GLOBAL ECONOMY-No Halloween horrors in store from the Fed

LONDON - Back in May and June, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke played a trick on markets by sketching out a timetable for reducing the central bank's $85 billion-a-month bond buying. Investors recoiled in horror and bond yields surged. This week, though, they are in for a treat (ECONOMY-GLOBAL/WEEKAHEAD, 815 words)

Fed to hold its fire this week, wants clearer economic view

WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve officials are unlikely to make any shift to monetary policy this week as they wait for more evidence of how badly Washington's budget battle has hurt the U.S. economy (USA-FED/ (PREVIEW), 810 words)

Egypt seeks to lure Gulf investors amid turmoil

CAIRO - Egypt is planning a charm offensive to persuade Gulf Arab entrepreneurs to invest in its economy, battered by political upheaval, protests and violence (EGYPT-INVESTMENT/, 500 words)

+ See also:


Wall Street's love affair with Facebook hinges on mobile

SAN FRANCISCO - Facebook Inc finally earns Wall Street's love in the second quarter. Now it needs to make the relationship last. Its shares have doubled in just the last three months, buoyed by an increasing belief among investors that Facebook has finally struck a winning formula in mobile advertising (FACEBOOK-PREVIEW/, 740 words)

EXCLUSIVE-Washington lobbying law firm in merger talks -sources

Washington law firm Patton Boggs, well known for its lobbying and public policy work, is in talks to merge with a larger U.S. law firm, according to two former partners and a person with inside knowledge of the deal. (USA-PATTONBOGGS/ (EXCLUSIVE, UPDATE 1), 630 words)


Rocker Lou Reed of Velvet Underground dies at 71

NEW YORK - Lou Reed, the pioneering songwriter and musician behind the Velvet Underground, one of the most influential rock bands which fused art and music in collaboration with artist Andy Warhol, died on Sunday at the age of 71, his literary agent said. (USA-LOUREED/ (UPDATE 2), 650 words)

Rapper Chris Brown arrested in Washington over assault

WASHINGTON - Rapper Chris Brown was arrested and charged with assault in Washington early on Sunday after getting into a fight with a man outside a hotel near the White House, police said. (USA-BROWN/ARREST (TV), 200 words)

New U.S. TV network fuses news, satire for young Hispanics

LOS ANGELES/MIAMI - On Monday evening, U.S. cable network Fusion will launch with interviews of President Barack Obama and Republican Senator Ted Cruz. Later that night, four puppets will provide commentary on current events during a news chat show. (MEDIA-FUSION/ (UPDATE 1), 1,325 words)

'Bad Grandpa' tops 'Gravity' at North American box office

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK - Prankster comedy "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa" kicks Sandra Bullock's 3-D space thriller "Gravity" from the top of weekend box office charts in the United States and Canada, starting off with $32 million in ticket sales over its first three days (BOXOFFICE/ (UPDATE 1), 570 words)

+ See also:


Kiwi teenager Lorde scores debut number one in British charts

LONDON - Sixteen-year-old singer-songwriter Lorde has become the youngest artist to enter Britain's singles charts at number one since 1998, the Official Charts Company said on Sunday. (BRITAIN-CHARTS, 150 words)


Pastor who banned fried chicken leads Mississippi Obamacare push

HERNANDO, Miss. - When Dr Michael Minor first became pastor at Oak Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Hernando, Mississippi, in 1996, he discovered a population overcome by an epidemic of obesity.

Minor took dramatic action for a Southern preacher, banning fried chicken at church potlucks and setting up a walking track around the church perimeter. He is now taking on the much bigger task of trying to get the state's nearly 275,000 uninsured people to sign up for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. (USA-HEALTHCARE/NAVIGATORS (FEATURE), 1,200 words)

Connecticut official reports Obamacare data system down

WASHINGTON - A U.S. federal data system used to verify information for the Obamacare health exchange is experiencing an outage, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services told officials in Connecticut, a spokeswoman in the state said on Sunday. (USA-HEALTHCARE/DATA (URGENT), will be led, 100 words)

***************** Paul Thomasch Editor, U.S. General News Reuters Phone: 001-646-223-6280 Mobile: 001-646-303-6092


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