National news briefs: 2/17/13
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3 states default on health care
WASHINGTON -- Florida, New Jersey and Tennessee will not partner with the federal government to create the online insurance marketplaces required under President Barack Obama's health care law, the states' governors announced Friday, ending months of speculation and starting a new chapter in the implementation of the law.
The exchanges in those states -- and others that have declined to set up their own exchanges or partner with the federal government -- will be run by federal officials, at least through 2014.
According to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, as of now, 17 states and the District of Columbia have said they are planning on running their own exchanges; 26 states are defaulting to the federal government, and seven will jointly run the exchanges with the federal government.
Federal pay raise targeted
WASHINGTON -- The House on Friday approved legislation to stop a 0.5 percent pay raise for federal workers from taking effect in April.
Under a presidential order, the pay increase will kick in after the government's last temporary spending plan expires, unless lawmakers agree to block the salary bump.
The vote on the House bill was 261 to 154, with only 10 Republicans voting against it and 43 Democrats supporting it. The measure faces questionable prospects in the Senate, where similar House-approved measures died last year.
The bill's sponsors argued that the pay increase would cost $11 billion over 10 years, and it comes at a time when automatic cuts are threatening the federal workforce. The sequester could force unpaid furloughs for federal employees.
Facebook hacking probed
WASHINGTON -- Facebook Inc., operator of the largest social network with more than 1 billion members, is working with the FBI to investigate a malware attack, people with knowledge of the matter said Saturday.
Facebook said Friday that it was subjected to a "sophisticated attack" by hackers last month, without saying where the attack originated. Investigators haven't found any evidence that user data were compromised, Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook said on its website. The people who discussed the FBI's involvement asked not to be identified, citing the sensitive nature of the probe.
Malware infected laptops used by Facebook employees when they visited a mobile developer's website, the company said. The attack also affected other companies, Facebook said, without identifying them.
BMW issues car recall
DETROIT -- BMW is recalling almost 570,000 cars in the U.S. and Canada because a battery cable connector can fail and cause the engines to stall.
The recall affects popular 3-Series sedans, wagons, convertibles and coupes from the 2007 through 2011 model years. Also included are 1-Series coupes and convertibles from 2008 through 2012, and the Z4 sports car from 2009 through 2011.
The cable connectors and a fuse box terminal in the cars can degrade over time, and that can break the electrical connection between the trunk-mounted battery and the fuse box at the front. If that happens, the cars could lose electrical power, causing the engines to stall unexpectedly, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in documents posted on its website Saturday.
The company says in documents sent to NHTSA that the problem stems from movement between the battery cable and the fuse box.
First Published February 17, 2013 12:00 am