National briefs: Work hours vote alters health care

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WASHINGTON -- House Republicans renewed their election-year assault on President Barack Obama's health care law Thursday, their opposition undimmed just days after Mr. Obama celebrated news that more than 7 million Americans had signed up for coverage under the law.

The GOP-led chamber voted 248-179 to change the law's definition of full-time work from 30 hours a week to 40 hours a week. The result would be that fewer workers would get employer-sponsored health coverage and hundreds of thousands more people would be uninsured, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Republicans said the change would restore the traditional definition of full-time work while providing needed relief to businesses that are struggling with increased costs from the health care law.

Court won't stop execution

HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- The U.S. Supreme Court said Thursday that it won't stop the execution of a Texas serial killer whose attorneys want the state to release information about where it gets its lethal injection drug.

The last-day plea from Tommy Lynn Sells' lawyers was rejected about an hour before his scheduled execution, planned for Thursday evening in Huntsville. The one-paragraph ruling did not elaborate on why the justices made the decision and did not indicate any dissents.

Bill OKs firing warning shots

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Floridians could fire warning shots or display a weapon in self- defense under a bill approved by the Florida Legislature on Thursday.

The measure now goes to Gov. Rick Scott for his signature. He has not indicated as yet whether he will sign it. The bill says someone can threaten the use of force if that person feels his or her life, home or property were at risk of harm.

N.J. paper cuts 167 jobs

NEWARK, N.J. -- The Star-Ledger of Newark, the biggest newspaper in New Jersey and among the largest in the nation by print circulation, announced Thursday that it would cut 167 jobs, including 40 newsroom positions.

The cuts come just days after the newspaper's owner, Advance Publications, announced a plan to centralize journalism, advertising and marketing across The Star-Ledger, its sister publications and NJ.com, a news portal.

$30M gifted to museum

WASHINGTON -- The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum is receiving a $30 million gift from Boeing and will use the money to renovate its main exhibition space that serves as home to such icons of aviation as the Wright Brothers' airplane and Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis.

Officials at the Smithsonian made the announcement Thursday, saying that the renovation is expected to be completed in 2016, the museum's 40th anniversary.

Saturn's moon holds water

WASHINGTON -- Inside a moon of Saturn, beneath its icy veneer and above its rocky core, is a sea of water the size of Lake Superior, scientists announced Thursday.

The findings, published in the journal Science, confirm what planetary scientists have suspected about the moon, Enceladus, ever since they were astonished in 2005 by photographs showing geysers of ice crystals shooting out of its south pole.


-- Compiled from news services

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