National briefs: Pa. has worst bridge problem

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WASHINGTON -- New federal data revealed Thursday that 63,000 U.S. bridges are in need of more significant repair, with Pennsylvania having the worst problem.

The Keystone State has 5,218 deficient bridges -- almost one-quarter of its bridges.

Deficient bridges -- those rated poor or worse because load-carrying elements have deteriorated -- can have a consequential impact on consumers. As they continue to decline, weight restrictions often result, and when trucks delivering shipments to market take longer, roundabout routes, some prices can increase.

The data were compiled by American Road and Transportation Builders Association.

Oregon insurance exchange

WASHINGTON -- With encouragement from the Obama administration, an Oregon panel recommended Thursday that the state turn over control of its beleaguered health insurance exchange to the federal government.

State officials concluded that it would be much less expensive to use the federal website,, than to repair the one built for their marketplace, Cover Oregon.

The Oregon exchange -- like those in Hawaii, Maryland and Massachusetts -- has been plagued with technical problems that made it difficult for consumers to enroll online. All four states have Democratic governors who strongly support President Barack Obama's effort to expand coverage under the 2010 health care law.

Fast start for measles

NEW YORK -- Health officials are worried about recent U.S. measles outbreaks that so far have caused more illnesses than at the same point of any year since 1996.

Authorities say 129 cases in 13 states were reported by mid-April, the bulk of them in California and New York City. Most were triggered by travelers who caught the virus abroad and spread it in the United States among unvaccinated people. Many of the travelers had been to the Philippines, where a recent measles epidemic has caused at least 20,000 illnesses.

Blue Angels misconduct

SAN DIEGO -- The Navy this week revealed details about the former commanding officer of the Blue Angels aerial demonstration team who was relieved of duty, saying that not only did he allow sexually inappropriate misconduct, he may have also encouraged it.

Last week, the Navy announced that Capt. Gregory McWherter had been relieved of duty as executive officer of Naval Base Coronado because of initial findings of an investigation into misconduct during his tours as commander and flight leader of the Blue Angels.

In a statement Wednesday, the Navy said allegations included "lewd speech, inappropriate comments and sexually explicit humor" and pornography.

Internet pay-for-priority

LOS ANGELES -- The Federal Communications Commission is proposing to allow a pay-for-priority fast lane on the Internet for movies, music and other services to get to people's homes.

The proposed rules come after a federal appeals court struck down previous "net neutrality" rules designed to prevent Internet access providers such as Comcast from discriminating against certain traffic flowing to their customers.

Under the proposal, an access provider could demand that high-traffic services such as Netflix pay for preferential treatment. The proposal would include safeguards to make sure the arrangements don't harm consumers or stifle competition and free speech.

-- Compiled from news services


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