VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press
MOLOKAI WOMAN SHOT AND KILLED; SUSPECT ARRESTED
KAUNAKAKAI, Hawaii (AP) — Police in Molokai say they have arrested a 33-year-old man on suspicion of shooting and killing his 24-year-old girlfriend in Kaunakakai.
Police said Thursday that the shooting happened Wednesday night at an apartment complex along Kamehameha Highway.
Authorities say the man was arrested later at his home without incident.
HOUSE PASSES GOP BUDGET PLAN PROMISING DEEP CUTS
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Republican-controlled House passed a tea party-flavored budget plan Thursday that promises sharp cuts in safety-net programs for the poor and a clampdown on domestic agencies, in sharp contrast to less austere plans favored by President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies.
The measure, similar to previous plans offered by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., demonstrates that it's possible, at least mathematically, to balance the budget within a decade without raising taxes.
But its deep cuts to programs for the poor like Medicaid and food stamps and its promise to abolish so-called "Obamacare" are nonstarters with the president, who won re-election while campaigning against Ryan's prior budgets. It passed on a mostly party-line 221-207 vote.
The House measure advanced as the Democratic Senate debated its first budget since the 2009 plan that helped Obama pass his health care law.
The dueling House and Senate budget plans are anchored on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum in Washington, appealing to core partisans in the warring parties that are gridlocked over persistent budget deficits. Obama is exploring the chances of forging a middle path that blends new taxes and modest curbs to government benefit programs.
OBAMA HEALTH LAW ANNIVERSARY FINDS TWO AMERICAS
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Three years, two elections, and one Supreme Court decision after President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, its promise of health care for the uninsured may be delayed or undercut in much of the country because of entrenched opposition from many Republican state leaders.
In half the states, mainly led by Democrats, officials are racing deadlines to connect uninsured residents to coverage now only months away. In others it's as if "Obamacare" - signed Mar. 23, 2010 - had never passed.
Make no mistake, the federal government will step in and create new insurance markets in the 26 mostly red states declining to run their own. Just like the state-run markets in mostly Democratic-led states, the feds will start signing up customers Oct. 1 for coverage effective Jan. 1. But they need a broad cross-section of people, or else the pool will be stuck with what the government calls the "sick and worried" - the costliest patients.
Insurance markets, or exchanges, are one prong of Obama's law, providing subsidized private coverage for middle-class households who currently can't get their own. The other major piece is a Medicaid expansion to serve more low-income people. And at least 13 states have already indicated they will not agree to that.
"It could look like two or three different countries," said Robert Blendon, a Harvard School of Public Health professor who studies public opinion on health care. "The political culture of a state is going to play an important role in getting millions of people to voluntarily sign up."
OBAMA URGES ISRAELIS TO COMPROMISE FOR PEACE
JERUSALEM (AP) -- President Barack Obama delivered an impassioned appeal Thursday for Israel to recognize that compromise will be necessary to achieve lasting security and to take steps to reverse an "undertow" of international isolation that is worsened by its failure to make peace with the Palestinians. Militants again underscored Israel's vulnerability by firing rockets into a southern border town.
Obama declared anew that Israeli expansion of housing settlements in disputed territory only hinders chances for fruitful negotiations with the Palestinians, but he did not say as he has in the past that they must be halted.
Reminding an audience of Israeli university students that the United States is their country's best friend and most important ally, Obama said the U.S. will never back down on its commitment to Israel's defense, particularly against threats such as the one posed by Iran and its nuclear program.
"As long as there is a United States of America, you are not alone," he told a packed audience of university students who erupted frequently with applause and standing ovations at Jerusalem's convention center
The applause continued even as Obama stressed that Israel must make peace with the Palestinians if it is to ensure its survival and long-term viability as a homeland for the Jewish people. Israeli occupation of areas that the Palestinians claim for their own state must end, and progress toward creating that Palestinian state will help Israel's relations with the rest of the world, notably in its Arab-dominated neighborhood, he said.
UNIVERSE AGES 80M YEARS; BIG BANG GETS CLEARER
PARIS (AP) -- New results from looking at the split-second after the Big Bang indicate the universe is 80 million years older than previously thought and provide ancient evidence supporting core concepts about the cosmos - how it began, what it's made of and where it's going.
The findings released Thursday bolster a key theory called inflation, which says the universe burst from subatomic size to its now-observable expanse in a fraction of a second. The new observations from the European Space Agency's $900 million Planck space probe appear to reinforce some predictions made decades ago solely on the basis of mathematical concepts.
"We've uncovered a fundamental truth of the universe," said George Efstathiou, director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmology at the University of Cambridge who announced the Planck satellite mapping result in Paris. "There's less stuff that we don't understand by a tiny amount."
"It's a big pat on the back for our understanding of the universe," California Institute of Technology physicist Sean Carroll, who was not involved in the project, told The Associated Press. "In terms of describing the current universe, I think we have a right to say we're on the right track."
The Big Bang - the most comprehensive theory of the universe's beginning - says the visible portion of the universe was smaller than an atom when, in a split second, it exploded, cooled and expanded faster than the speed of light.