National news briefs: 4/5/14

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3 million more on Medicaid

WASHINGTON -- Enrollment in Medicaid has increased by 3 million people, to more than 61 million, largely because of the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration said Friday.

Moreover, it said, the increases were much greater in states that had expanded Medicaid eligibility.

The new figures compare enrollment in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program in February with the average monthly enrollment in July to September 2013, just before the health insurance marketplaces opened.

Gay marriage law targeted

CINCINNATI -- A federal judge said Friday that he will order Ohio to recognize out-of-state gay marriages, a move that would strike down part of the state's ban on gay marriages but stop short of forcing it to perform same-sex weddings.

Judge Timothy Black announced his intentions to issue a ruling April 14 following final arguments in a lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of the marriage ban.

High-speed trading

WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department is investigating high-frequency stock trading to see if any of the practices violate insider trading laws, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Friday.

Brokerage firms use high-frequency trading to get a jump on their competitors. Powerful computers analyze market information and then execute buy and sell orders for stocks within a fraction of a second.

Train operator fired

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Transit Authority has fired the operator of the train that crashed into the platform at O'Hare International Airport and scaled an escalator, injuring more than 30 people.

The unnamed operator, 25, was issued a termination notice Friday that is effective immediately, the agency said. It cited the March 24 derailment as the "second of two serious safety violations" committed by her.

Execution carried out

HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- A serial killer was put to death Thursday after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his lawyers' demand that Texas release information about where it gets its lethal injection drug.

Tommy Lynn Sells, 49, was the first inmate to be injected with a dose of newly replenished pentobarbital that Texas prison officials obtained to replace an expired supply of the powerful sedative.

Diplomatic transparency

WASHINGTON -- After a string of embarrassing confirmation hearings in which President Barack Obama's picks for ambassador displayed gaps of knowledge on the countries they were to serve in, the State Department has agreed to publish details on the qualifications of future nominees.

The move comes after the American Foreign Service Association, a group of over 1,600 foreign service employees, threatened to sue the State Department last month.

Also in the nation ...

Mississippi's Gov. Phil Bryant signed into law Thursday a measure that allows individuals and organizations to sue the government over laws that they feel thwart their ability to practice religion. ... The fire that killed two firefighters as it burned through a brownstone in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood was caused by welders working at the back of a neighboring building, the Boston Fire Department said Friday.


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