WASHINGTON (AP) — A bitterly divided Congress has plunged the nation into a partial government shutdown as a deadlock over President Barack Obama's health care law stalled a temporary funding bill, forcing about 800,000 federal workers off the job and suspending all but non-essential government activities. The shutdown, the first since the winter of 1995-96, closed national parks, museums along the Washington Mall and the U.S. Capitol visitors center. Agencies like NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency will be all but shuttered. People classified as essential government employees — such as air traffic controllers, Border Patrol agents and most food inspectors — will continue to work.NEW YORK (AP) — From New York's Liberty Island to Alaska's Denali National Park, the U.S. government closed its doors as a bitter budget fight idled hundreds of thousands of federal workers and halted all but the most critical government services for the first time in nearly two decades. A midnight deadline to avert a shutdown passed amid Congressional bickering, casting in doubt Americans' ability to get government services ranging from federally-backed home loans to supplemental food assistance for children and pregnant women.WASHINGTON (AP) — Campers in national parks are to pull up stakes and leave, some veterans waiting to have disability benefits approved will have to cool their heels even longer, many routine food inspections will be suspended and panda-cams will go dark at the shuttered National Zoo. Those are among the immediate effects when parts of the government shut Tuesday because of the budget impasse in Congress.CHICAGO (AP) — Millions of Americans will be able to shop for the first time Tuesday on the insurance marketplaces that are at the heart of President Barack Obama's health care reforms, entering a world that is supposed to simplify the mysteries of health coverage but could end up making it even more confusing, at least initially. Whether consumers will be pleased with the experience, the premiums and the out-of-pocket costs of the plans offered to them will finally start to become clear. Tuesday's rollout comes after months of buildup in which the marketplaces, also known as exchanges, have been both praised and vilified.WASHINGTON (AP) — For years, the Obama administration has been preparing for the launch of new health insurance exchanges, intended to expand coverage to millions of Americans. But this is far from the grand opening President Barack Obama may have expected. The exchanges are starting up just as most of the federal government is shutting down. Congress missed its midnight deadline to extend the government's funding.WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite soothing assurances from Iran's new leaders, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu implored President Barack Obama on Monday to keep punishing sanctions in place against Tehran — and even tighten them if the Islamic republic advances its nuclear programs while negotiating with the U.S. Netanyahu nevertheless signaled he would not block Obama's efforts to seek a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear impasse, even as he expressed skepticism about the Iranian governmentNAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Jewelry cases smashed. Mobile phones ripped from displays. Cash registers emptied. Alcohol stocks plundered. For the second time in two months, poorly paid Kenyan security forces that moved in to control an emergency are being accused of robbing the very property they were supposed to protect. First the troops were accused of looting during a huge fire in August at Nairobi's main airport.DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Inspectors charged with the enormous task of overseeing the destruction of Syria's deadly chemical weapons stockpiles kicked off their mission Monday, racing to meet tight deadlines against the backdrop of civil war. The Syrian regime lashed out at the rebels, claiming government forces are fighting mostly al-Qaida-linked militants and refusing to talk with the main Western-backed opposition group — a blow to U.S.-Russian efforts to hold a peace conference by November.ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Before stepping out of his house, Asif Ali gives his route careful consideration. The 28-year-old builder from Pakistan blames far-right street gangs for three attacks he suffered near his home in a poor area of Athens where a recent killing triggered Greece's crackdown on the Nazi-inspired Golden Dawn party. Ali says he was beaten unconscious by a group of men dressed in black, attacked months later by a gang on motorcycles and assaulted again last December when three men boarded the bus he was taking to a construction site and broke his nose.VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis convenes his parallel cabinet on Tuesday for a first round of talks on reforming the Catholic Church, bringing eight cardinals from around the globe together in a novel initiative to get local church leaders involved in helping make decisions for the 1.2-billion strong universal Catholic Church. While the aim is for Francis to get advice, the Argentine Jesuit has already started making a mark on his own, with important Vatican appointments already made and clear-cut indications of the direction he wants to take the church that have elated liberals and alarmed many conservatives.
AP Health Issues
AP Top News at 3:20 a.m. EDT
Published: October 1, 2013   |   Updated: October 1, 2013 at 07:20 AM