WASHINGTON

Health care enrollment goal endangered by glitches

For the first month alone, the Obama administration projected that nearly a half million people would sign up for the new health insurance markets, according to an internal memo obtained by The Associated Press. But that was before the markets opened to a cascade of computer problems.

If the glitches persist that initial goal, described as modest in the memo, could slip out of reach.

The Sept. 5 memo, for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, lists monthly enrollment targets for each state and Washington, D.C., through March 31, the last day of the initial open enrollment period under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

The new online insurance markets, called exchanges in some states, are supposed to be the portals to coverage for most of the nation’s nearly 50 million uninsured people. Middle-class people without job-based coverage can shop for subsidized private plans, while low-income people are steered to an expanded version of Medicaid in states that have agreed to expand that safety net program.

Although the Oct. 1 launch of the markets was a top priority for the White House, the rollout was quickly overwhelmed by computer problems, and many potential customers still have not been able to enroll. Insurers say signups are coming through, but slowly. The administration has refused to release enrollment numbers.

MOSCOW

Large chunk of meteor recovered from Russian lake

Russian scientists have recovered a giant chunk of the Chelyabinsk meteor from the bottom of the lake it crashed into.

A meteor that blazed across the southern Urals in February was the largest recorded meteor strike in more than a century, with a shock wave from the explosion as 20 Hiroshima atomic bombs, as it landed near the city of Chelyabinsk.

Scientists on Wednesday recovered what could be the largest part of this meteor from Chebarkul Lake. They weighed it using a steelyard balance, which displayed 1,256 pounds before the scale broke.

– From news service reports