Injecting a rare shot of bipartisanship in the contentious health care overhaul, the Obama administration cleared four Republican-led states, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah, on Thursday to build their own consumer-friendly insurance markets. With open enrollment for millions of uninsured Americans just nine months away -- Oct. 1, 2013 -- the four states became part of a group totaling 17 states plus Washington, D.C., that have an initial go-ahead to build and run insurance exchanges. Another two states have gotten clearance to run their markets in partnership with the federal government. Significantly, the list included California, which has nearly 7.5 million uninsured residents, more than any other state.
200 arrested in child porn
More than 200 adults have been arrested in an international investigation of child pornography, Immigration and Customs said Thursday. ICE director John Morton said 123 child victims were identified during a five-week investigation that ended in December. Authorities found 110 victims in 19 U.S. states, and six others in other countries. Morton would say only that some cases were in Mexico. "Operation Sunflower" was part of ICE's effort to rescue victims, and arrest abusers and those who make or transmit child pornography.
Obama signs defense bill
President Barack Obama, on vacation in Hawaii, signed a $633 billion defense bill for next year despite serious concerns about the limits Congress imposed on his handling of terror suspects and lawmakers' unwillingness to back the cost-saving retiring of aging ships and aircraft.
CALIFORNIA: Teens drugged strict parents
Police say two teenagers used a prescription sleeping medication to spike the milkshakes of too-strict parents so they could log onto the Internet. The parents called police and a 15-year-old Rocklin girl and a 16-year-old friend were taken to Juvenile Hall near Sacramento. The girls bought milkshakes at a fast-food restaurants for the parents of one of them. The drug was mixed in the shakes and the couple fell asleep. Next day, the parents found a drug test kit. The girls said they wanted to use the Internet, which parents shut down at 10 p.m.