Under fire, ‘Obamacare’ going live — with glitches
WASHINGTON (AP) — Contentious from its conception, President Barack Obama’s health care law has survived the Supreme Court, a battle for the White House and rounds of budget brinkmanship. Now comes the ultimate test: the verdict of the American people.
A government shutdown could dampen the rollout Tuesday as insurance markets open around the country. But it won’t stop the main components of “Obamacare” from going live as scheduled, glitches and all. The biggest expansion of society’s safety net since Medicare will be in the hands of consumers, and most of their concerns don’t revolve around ideology and policy details.
People want to know if they can afford the premiums, if the coverage will be solid, where the bureaucratic pitfalls are and if new federal and state websites will really demystify shopping for health insurance. Full answers may take months. Expect the rollout to get off to a slow start, with some bumps.
Airlines promise a return to civility, for a fee
NEW YORK (AP) — Airlines are introducing a new bevy of fees, but this time passengers might actually like them.
Unlike the first generation of charges which dinged fliers for once-free services like checking a bag, these new fees promise a taste of the good life, or at least a more civil flight. Extra legroom, early boarding and access to quiet lounges were just the beginning. Airlines are now renting Apple iPads preloaded with movies, selling hot first class meals in coach and letting passengers pay to have an empty seat next to them. Once on the ground, they can skip baggage claim, having their luggage delivered directly to their home or office.
In the near future, airlines plan to go one step further, using massive amounts of personal data to customize new offers for each flier.
Global study: World not ready for aging population
The world is aging so fast that most countries are not prepared to support their swelling numbers of elderly people, according to a global study going out Tuesday by the United Nations and an elder rights group.
The report ranks the social and economic well-being of elders in 91 countries, with Sweden coming out on top and Afghanistan at the bottom. It reflects what advocates for the old have been warning, with increasing urgency, for years: Nations are simply not working quickly enough to cope with a population greying faster than ever before. By the year 2050, for the first time in history, seniors over the age of 60 will outnumber children under the age of 15.
FDA approves first pre-surgical breast cancer drug
WASHINGTON (AP) — A biotech drug from Roche has become the first medicine approved to treat breast cancer before surgery, offering an earlier approach against one of the deadliest forms of the disease.
The Food and Drug Administration approved Perjeta for women with a form of early-stage breast cancer who face a high risk of having their cancer spread to other parts of the body. Surgery to remove tumors is usually the first step in treating most forms of cancer. Perjeta is the first drug to be approved as a pre-surgical step.
Doctors hope that using cancer drugs earlier could help shrink tumors, making them easier to remove. In some cases, that could allow women to keep their breasts, rather than having a full mastectomy. Doctors also say that treating the disease at its earliest stages could prevent tumors from returning later, though studies have not yet established that benefit.
Eurozone inflation falls to lowest since Feb 2010
LONDON (AP) — Inflation across the 17 countries that use the euro fell further below target in September, official figures showed Monday, news that could encourage the European Central Bank to cut interest rates again if the recovery across the eurozone stalls.
Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office, said consumer prices were up 1.1 per cent in the year to September, down from the 1.3 per cent rate recorded the previous month. September’s rate was also the lowest since February 2010 and below expectations — the consensus in the markets was for a more modest decline to 1.2 per cent.
The statistics agency said energy and food prices drove the fall in September. However, the core rate — which excludes food, alcohol and tobacco — also fell, to 1 per cent from 1.1 per cent, further proof that underlying price pressures are benign.
IKEA starts selling solar panels for homes
STOCKHOLM (AP) — Swedish flat-pack furniture giant IKEA will start selling residential solar panels at its stores in Britain, the first step in its plan to bring renewable energy to the mainstream market worldwide.
The company started selling solar panels made by China’s Hanergy in its store in Southampton on Monday. It will sell them in the rest of Britain in coming months, it said.
A standard, all-black 3.36 kilowatt system for a semi-detached home will cost 5,700 British pounds ($9,200) and will include an in-store consultation and design service as well as installation, maintenance and energy monitoring service.
Rio de Janeiro dreams of (being) Hollywood
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — For Mayor Eduardo Paes, it’s not enough that Rio de Janeiro is both an Olympic and a World Cup host city. He’s determined to turn Rio into a Woody Allen city, too, and has gone to extraordinary lengths to persuade the director to shoot a movie here, meeting with Allen’s sister, dispatching him handwritten notes and even pledging to underwrite 100 per cent of production costs. Scoring a film by the legendary director would help cement Paes’ vision for the city: to turn Rio into a cinema hub, the Los Angeles of South America.
While Hollywood needn’t watch its back just yet, there’s no doubt that Brazil’s film industry is booming, as the Rio film festival that runs through Oct. 10 puts on display.
The country is on track to make 100 feature films this year, up from 30 in 2003, and it’s increasingly sought out by foreign productions cashing in on the government’s generous subsidies and incentives. New studio complexes are in the works, and cinemas are mushrooming across Brazil to keep pace with ever-growing numbers of moviegoers, many of them new members of the middle class who were pulled out of poverty by a decade of booming economic growth.
By The Associated Press=
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 128.57 points to close at 15,129.67. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 10.20 points to 1,681.55. The Nasdaq fell 10.12 points to 3,771.48.
Benchmark oil for November delivery dropped 54 cents to $102.33 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Wholesale gasoline fell 4 cents to $2.63 per gallon. Natural gas lost 3 cents to $3.56 per 1,000 cubic feet. Heating oil retreated 2 cents to $2.97 per gallon.
Brent crude, the benchmark for international crude used by many U.S. refineries, slipped 26 cents to $108.37 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.