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News Wrap: Judge strikes down Texas abortion restriction

October 28, 2013 at 12:00 AM EST
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GWEN IFILL: Penn State University will pay nearly $60 million to 26 men over claims they were sexually abused as children. Former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted last year of abusing 10 boys. They are among those who settled with the university today. We will have more on the payouts and what led to them later in the program.

A federal judge in Texas struck down a new state restriction on abortion clinics today, one day before it was scheduled to take effect. The rule requires doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Opponents said that would force dozens of clinics to close. Another provision banning abortions after 20 weeks will take effect tomorrow.

The government’s health insurance exchange Web site is back up after an all-day outage Sunday. It involved a critical data hub run by Verizon. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney also acknowledged today that insurers are canceling thousands of existing policies, something the president promised wouldn’t happen.

JAY CARNEY, White House Press Secretary: It’s correct that substandard plans that don’t provide minimum services that have a lot of fine print that leaves consumers in the lurch often because of annual caps or lifetime caps or, you know, carve-outs for some preexisting conditions, those are no longer allowed, because the Affordable Care Act is built on the premise that health care is not a privilege, it’s a right, and there should be minimum standards for the plans available to Americans across the country.

GWEN IFILL: In some cases, patients will get better coverage at about the same cost. In others, they will pay more.

Chemical weapons inspectors in Syria have failed to reach two sites on their list because it’s too dangerous. That means they have missed an early deadline under a U.N. mandate to destroy Syria’s chemical arsenal by mid-2014. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said today its experts checked 21 of 23 designated sites. They’re still hoping for access to the others.

Funerals were held across Iraq today after the latest wave of attacks killed at least 66 people on Sunday. Well over half the victims were killed in Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad. Car bombs exploded over 30 minutes targeting commercial areas. Meanwhile, a roadside bomb killed 18 people in a lawless district of Eastern Afghanistan. Most were women and children returning from a wedding.

A hurricane-force storm battered Britain and Northern Europe today, killing at least 13 people.

We have a report on the damage in Britain from Tom Clarke of Independent Television News.

TOM CLARKE: After hours of rain, the worst of the winds arrived on the south coast in the early hours of the morning. By dawn, west-facing seafronts were still taking a battering.

The Environment Agency was out checking over sea defenses, but the winds were already moving inland.

Overnight, this was one of the windiest places in Britain, with gusts up more than 80 miles an hour being reported here at Portland in Dorset. But the feared coastal flooding didn’t happen, because the storm coincided with low tide.

 But what did surprise meteorologists was how the storm managed to sustain powerful gusts as it tracked across the south and east of England. As well as a fatal gas main explosion in Hounslow, falling trees killed two other people. A teenage girl was crushed as she slept in a static caravan in Kent, another man killed when a tree fell on his car during rush hour in Hertfordshire.

Everywhere else, the damage was general and random. Most buildings escaped unscathed, except for those on under construction or not secured to the ground. The most widespread impact was on people trying to get around on a half-turn Monday morning.

Trees blocking major roads was predictable enough, but with 100-plus trunks and branches on the rail network, train disruption was far worse than most travelers expected. The storm has now moved off into the north Sea, but the conditions that created it persist.

GWEN IFILL: Germany was also hard-hit, with widespread rail and air travel disruptions, and six deaths.

Ellis Island reopened to the public today, almost a year to the day since superstorm Sandy hit. Water from the storm swamped the boilers and electrical systems of the island’s museum that documents decades of immigrant arrivals. The site had no power for months after the storm. More than a million photographs and other artifacts remain in storage while renovations continue.

Pediatricians are urging parents to limit children’s access to tweeting, texting, and other online activities to two hours a day. The American Academy of Pediatrics published its new policy today. The group noted that unrestricted screen time and communications have been linked to cyber-bullying, obesity, and sleeplessness.

Jury selection opened in London today in the first criminal trial triggered by a phone hacking scandal. Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson are former editors of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World tabloid, now out of business. They allegedly plotted to hack the phones of celebrities, politicians, and crime victims, and illegally paid public officials for information.

Wall Street’s week started on a subdued note. The Dow Jones industrial average lost a point to close below 15,569. The Nasdaq fell three points to close at 3,940.