Americans Are Signing Up for Obamacare in Record Numbers
Health

Americans Are Signing Up for Obamacare in Record Numbers

Why It Matters: The Affordable Care Act is expanding its reach.Despite a recent warning from former President Donald J. Trump, the front-runner in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, that he was “seriously looking at alternatives” to the Affordable Care Act, the latest surge in marketplace enrollment is a testament to the law’s enduring power.Legislation passed earlier in the Covid-19 pandemic increased federal subsidies for people buying plans, lowering the costs for many Americans. The Biden administration also lengthened the sign-up period and increased advertising for the program and funding for so-called navigators who help people enroll.“More and more people are realizing they can come onto the marketplace,” said Cynthia Cox, the director of the Program on the A...
Czech University Shooting: At Least 15 Are Killed in Prague Rampage
World

Czech University Shooting: At Least 15 Are Killed in Prague Rampage

Fourteen people were killed and more than 20 others wounded in a shooting rampage at Charles University in the Czech Republic on Thursday, the authorities said. The gunman, a 24-year-old student in world history at the university, also killed himself after the shooting spree in central Prague.The police say they believe he first killed his father in their family home in a village near the town of Kladno, outside of Prague, Andrew Moravcik, a spokesman for the Czech police, said in an interview. Some of the injured were in critical condition, he added.The gunman was partly identified by the police as David K. European police officials often give only a first name and last initial for privacy reasons. Speaking at a news conference in Prague, the chief of the national police force, Martin Von...
New Jersey Deli Scheme Leads to Securities Fraud Guilty Plea
Technology

New Jersey Deli Scheme Leads to Securities Fraud Guilty Plea

A man involved in a brazen plot to manipulate the stock price of a New Jersey deli’s parent company pleaded guilty to securities fraud on Wednesday.James T. Patten, 64, of North Carolina, admitted to orchestrating a series of misleading trades in an apparent bid to enrich himself and two co-defendants in U.S. District Court in Camden, N.J.Mr. Patten faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $5 million for securities fraud. He also pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.Mr. Patten’s lawyer, Ira Lee Sorkin, said in an interview on Wednesday that attention on the case “was exaggerated beyond any perception — that this was some $100 million fraud involving a delicatessen...
NFL Power Rankings Week 16: 49ers, Ravens on top, plus a surprise from every team
Sports

NFL Power Rankings Week 16: 49ers, Ravens on top, plus a surprise from every team

We’re coming down the stretch of the NFL season, and the playoff seedings and Power Rankings are starting to sort themselves out, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been some surprises along the way. Today, we’re going to look at one surprising aspect of each team’s season.And then we’re going to start looking forward to a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in Week 16 of the season.(Last week: 1)Sunday: Beat Arizona Cardinals 45-29Surprise: Brock PurdyWe’ve let all the talk about whether the second-year quarterback is a top-10 quarterback in the league or even possibly the MVP obscure what remains at its heart the most remarkable story in the league. Purdy, the last pick of the 2022 draft, is now 16-3 as a starting quarterback. His passer rating (119) and expected points added per dropback (.32) lea...
Cubicles Reappear in Offices as Employees Return
Business

Cubicles Reappear in Offices as Employees Return

Among office designers and architects, cubicles are rarely mentioned. The once-ubiquitous fixture, so popular in the 1980s and ’90s, has become vilified as a sign of the dehumanization of the work force. Design experts today say cubicles are a “hard no.”And yet cubicles, like scrunchies, are back, spurred by demand from employers and employees alike.“I frankly thought the cube market was dying,” said Brian Silverberg, who sells refurbished and used office furniture with his brother, Mark, in their store, the Furniture X-Change in North Brunswick, N.J. “We have sold more cubes in the last three years than in the five years before,” he said, adding that 2024 would be “bigger than this year.”Covid-19 was an amplifier of a trend that preceded the pandemic. But as workers returned to the office...
New Hope — and an Old Hurdle — for a Terrible Disease With Terrible Treatments
Health

New Hope — and an Old Hurdle — for a Terrible Disease With Terrible Treatments

Three years ago, Jesús Tilano went to a hospital in a thickly forested valley in Colombia with large open lesions on his nose, right arm and left hand. He was diagnosed with leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease that is spread in the bite of a female sand fly and which plagues poor people who work in fields or forests across developing countries.He was prescribed a drug that required three injections a day for 20 days, each one agonizingly painful. Mr. Tilano, 85, had to make repeated expensive bus trips to town to get them. Then his kidneys started to fail, which is a common side effect of the drug, as are heart failure and liver damage.“The cure was worse than what I had before,” Mr. Tilano said.Leishmaniasis is a terrible disease, with terrible treatments that have hardly changed in a cent...
Ukraine Aid Bill Delayed as Border Talks Drag On
World

Ukraine Aid Bill Delayed as Border Talks Drag On

The prospects for passing legislation to speed military aid to Ukraine this year are fading, as Republicans balk at striking a quick deal on immigration policy changes they have demanded in exchange for allowing the bill to move forward.After a weekend of intensive bipartisan border talks yielded progress but no breakthrough, Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, acknowledged on Monday that negotiators were still far from completing a deal.“It’s going to take some more time to get it done,” he said on the Senate floor on Monday afternoon, laying out plans for the week that made no mention of any votes on the aid package for Ukraine.That was a reversal from last week, when Mr. Schumer announced he would delay the Senate’s holiday break and keep the chamber in ...
NASA Streams Cat Video From Deep, Deep Space
Technology

NASA Streams Cat Video From Deep, Deep Space

On Dec. 11, NASA engineers anxiously gathered at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., to view a cat video, wondering if it would be in the pristine high definition for which they had hoped.To their relief, it was. For the first time, high-definition video — this one of a lab employee’s cat named Taters — was streamed from 18.6 million miles away, or roughly 80 times the distance from the Earth to the moon, the farthest ever.The demonstration was part of NASA’s Deep Space Optical Communications experiment, aimed at improving the infrastructure for communication beyond the Earth’s orbit. As one example, if humans are to go to Mars, the need exists for larger amounts of data to be transmitted over a longer distance. This demonstration marked another step toward such a possibilit...
Sean Payton’s flare-up at Russell Wilson puts coach-QB relationship back in spotlight
Sports

Sean Payton’s flare-up at Russell Wilson puts coach-QB relationship back in spotlight

(Editor’s note: This is excerpted from Mike Sando’s Pick Six of Dec. 18, 2023.)Sean Payton blasting quarterback Russell Wilson on the sideline, then suggesting he was merely upset about officiating, invited all sorts of speculation.It’s hard to fault Payton for losing his cool when officials wiped out a Broncos touchdown with an offensive offside call that seemed indefensible. As one former head coach put it, officials have “lost their minds” searching for penalties associated with Philadelphia’s tush-push plays.It’s just difficult to understand why Payton would funnel any of that rage toward his quarterback.GO DEEPERSean Payton downplays sideline flare up with Russell WilsonThe nature of Payton’s relationship with Wilson faded into the background during a five-game winning streak fueled b...
Prices for Some Goods Are Actually Falling This Holiday Season
Business

Prices for Some Goods Are Actually Falling This Holiday Season

American shoppers, burned by more than two years of rapid inflation, are getting some welcome relief this holiday season: Prices on many products are falling.Toys are almost 3 percent cheaper this Christmas than last, government data shows. Sports equipment is down nearly 2 percent. Bigger-ticket items are also showing price declines: Washing machines cost 12 percent less than a year ago, for example. And eggs, whose meteoric rise in prices last winter became a prime example of the country’s inflation problem, are down 22 percent over the past year.Consumer prices, in the aggregate, are still rising, though not nearly as quickly as a year ago. Most groceries still cost more than they did a year ago. So do most services, such as restaurant meals, haircuts and trips to the dentist. And housi...