VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press
OBAMA, BOEHNER TRADE BARBS, HINTS OF COMPROMISE
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner traded heated rhetoric yet also showed signs of compromise Tuesday, a frustratingly inconclusive combination that left an eight-day partial government shutdown firmly in place and the threat of an unprecedented national default drawing closer.
Stocks fell significantly - the Dow Jones average by 159 points - as political gridlock endured. And, in the latest in a string of dire warnings, the International Monetary Fund said failure to raise America's debt limit could lead to default and disrupt worldwide financial markets, raise interest rates and push the U.S economy back into recession.
Even the deaths of U.S. servicemen over the weekend in Afghanistan were grist for the politicians. The Pentagon said that because of the partial shutdown it was unable to pay the customary death benefits to the survivors. Republican House Speaker John Boehner said Congress had passed legislation last week permitting the payments, adding it was "disgraceful" for the administration to say otherwise.
In Congress, a plan by Senate Democrats to raise the debt limit by $1 trillion to stave off a possible default drew little evidence of support from Republicans.
And a proposal by the House Republicans to create a working group of 20 lawmakers to tackle deficit issues drew a veto threat from the White House, the latest in a string of them as the administration insists the GOP reopen the government and avert default before any negotiations on deficit reduction or the three-year-old health care law can take place.
QUESTIONABLE DESIGN BLAMED FOR HEALTH WEBSITE WOES
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A decision by the Obama administration to require that consumers create online accounts before they can browse health overhaul insurance plans appears to have led to many of the glitches that have frustrated customers, independent experts say.
Most e-commerce websites - as well as medicare.gov - are not designed to require those merely browsing to set up accounts. But it's one of the first steps on healthcare.gov.
Consumers trying to create their accounts multiplied the volume of online transactions that overwhelmed the website last week, causing long waits and exasperation. Many people were stopped by a balky security questions page.
The administration threw in additional computing hardware to handle the volume, and deployed software experts to patch the mechanism for creating accounts, but reports of delays persisted Tuesday.
For President Barack Obama, glitches involving his signature legislation are an unwelcome twist. A devoted smartphone user, his political campaigns were models of high-tech efficiency. Yet the problems that have surfaced so far with healthcare.gov don't even involve the site's more complicated functions.
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YAHOO'S EMAIL BECOMES MORE LIKE GMAIL IN REDESIGN
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Yahoo's free email service is becoming a bit more like Google's Gmail as part of its second makeover in less than a year.
The similarities to Gmail probably aren't coincidental. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer helped design some of Gmail's features while she was a top executive at Google Inc. Since its debut nearly a decade ago, Gmail has grown into the world's most popular email service.
Yahoo's redesigned email unveiled Tuesday includes a Gmail-like tool that will thread together emails related to specific topics so they appear as a succession of messages. The "conversation view" has become a widely used email feature since Gmail helped popularize the concept after it embraced the format in 2004.
Users can turn off Yahoo's new conversational tool if they want.
Another new feature will enable Yahoo's email users to decorate their inboxes with a selection of scenic pictures plucked from the company's photo-sharing service, Flickr. Gmail has been allowing its users to spruce up their inboxes with various themes for years.
When Yahoo's email users choose a picture as their backdrop, the same look will automatically appear on the mobile email applications that the company is modifying as part of the redesign. The updated apps are for Android devices, Apple Inc.'s iPhone and iPad and tablets running on Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 8 operating system.
In another change, Yahoo is now promising each email account a maximum of one terabyte, or about 1,000 gigabytes, of storage. The Sunnyvale, Calif., company says that amount should be enough to cover the storage needs of its average email user for about 6,000 years. Yahoo Inc. had previously promised its email users that they would never run out of storage, but it hadn't established a specific limit
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