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News Wrap: Government’s insurance website goes offline overnight after glitches

October 8, 2013 at 12:00 AM EST
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JUDY WOODRUFF: In other news, the Supreme Court took on a major new case on campaign financing. Arguments focused on whether to throw out the limits on contributions by individuals. In 2010, the high court threw out limits on independent spending by corporations and labor unions. We will have more on this story right after the news summary.

The federal government’s new health insurance Web site had to be taken down again overnight, one week after it went live. Glitches have plagued the online enrollment system for uninsured Americans. The Obama administration has declined to release any numbers on how many people have managed to sign up.

There was word today that power surges have repeatedly damaged a massive new data storage facility for the National Security Agency. The Wall Street Journal reported 10 meltdowns over 13 months destroyed hundreds of thousands of dollars of hardware at the Utah site. The power problems have delayed the facility’s opening.

The U.S. commando raid that seized a top al-Qaida suspect in Libya is still making waves. Libyan jihadists vowed today to kidnap Americans in retaliation for the capture of Abu Anas al-Libi. And the U.S. military said that it’s moving some 200 Marines to a base in Italy, just in case.

In Washington, President Obama said that the Libya raid and another in Somalia doesn’t mean he’s expanding the war on terror.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: There’s a difference between us going after terrorists who are plotting directly to do damage to the United States and us being involved in wars. But where you have got active plots and active networks, we’re going to go after them.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The president didn’t directly address a question on whether the seizure of al-Libi complied with international law. More on all this later.

In Egypt, the army chief charged the Muslim Brotherhood with having threatened violence in a bid to forestall any move against former Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led the ouster of Morsi last July. He said today that Morsi should have resigned in the face of sweeping protests against his rule. Meanwhile, the death toll from Sunday clashes between the army and Morsi supporters rose to 57.

The Turkish government today lifted a ban on women in state institutions wearing Islamic head scarves. The restriction dates back almost 90 years and has kept many women out of government jobs. The new rules will not apply to the courts or to the military.

The president of Argentina is recovering from skull surgery in Buenos Aires. Cristina Fernandez had the operation today to remove a blood clot and to relieve pressure on her brain after an unspecified head injury. Supporters kept vigil outside her hospital and brought signs wishing the 60-year-old leader well.

SILVINA IAZURLO, Argentina (through interpreter): I’m worried. It seems to me that her head is her biggest asset. She is someone who’s very intelligent, and having to have an operation, regardless of how simple it is, always has it risks. I’m very worried that there won’t be someone able to replace her adequately.

JUDY WOODRUFF: A spokesman for President Fernandez emerged later to say the operation went well. The surgery can require several months of recovery time.

A Nobel Prize will go to two men who made a discovery that underpins all of modern physics.

We have a report on today’s announcement from Lawrence McGinty of Independent Television News.

LAWRENCE MCGINTY: It’s taken almost 50 years, but, today, the Nobel Prize for Physics finally went to one of science’s most original thinkers.

MAN: Peter Higgs at University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

LAWRENCE MCGINTY: It was 1964 when Peter Higgs predicted the existence of a subatomic particle now called the Higgs boson. But only in July, last year, did scientists manage to make the so-called God particle and so prove it existed.

The vindication of his theory 50 years ago brought a tear to his eye. Days after that, he was asked if he might win the Nobel Prize.

PETER HIGGS, Nobel Prize winner: I don’t know. I don’t have close friends on the Nobel Committee.

(LAUGHTER)

LAWRENCE MCGINTY: He’d be the first to give credit to the scientists at the world’s biggest atom smasher at CERN, near Geneva, whose experiments found the particle he predicted all those years ago.

Peter Higgs and Francois Englert will be receiving the Nobel medal in about two months’ time. But it’s a bit strange that the thousands of scientists at CERN who proved that the particle they predicted actually existed will get no recognition at all from the Nobel Committee. And that’s because this medal can only go to individuals.

After all the publicity last year, today, he was shy of the cameras.

MAN: He’s always been rather modest and actually looks to actually give other people credit where appropriate.

LAWRENCE MCGINTY: A modest man with a big idea that is now the bedrock of modern physics.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The revamped, more colorful American $100 bill went into circulation today. New security features include a blue three-dimensional ribbon next to the image of Benjamin Franklin’s face. There’s also a copper-colored inkwell. The $100 bill is the most frequently counterfeited U.S. currency overseas. Here at home, the $20 dollar bill is the counterfeiters’ choice.