High court considering case of Medicaid recipients’ rights

The Supreme Court began its new term Monday with a complicated case about whether those who provide care and receive benefits under the Medicaid program for the poor can go to court when a state tries to cut spending on the program.

California, which reduced its reimbursement rate for the program by 10 percent, and the Obama administration say individuals do not have a right to go to court. They say only the federal government may determine whether the rates paid to doctors and other providers are proper under the federal Medicaid law.

But Washington lawyer Carter Phillips, representing the plaintiffs, said they must have some access to the courts when a conflict arises.

The court began its day by recognizing Justice Antonin Scalia’s 25th anniversary on the court.


Public bus driver berates woman with crying baby

A driver in Oregon’s largest public transit agency berated a woman and her crying baby into getting off a bus in a Portland suburb, saying “I can’t drive with that noise,” another passenger said Monday.

Over the loudspeaker, the female bus driver told the woman to distract the baby to quiet it down, passenger Jennifer Chapman said. Other passengers muttered that the driver should “just drive the bus, just do your job,” she said.

When the mother and the baby got off the bus at a stop in Hillsboro, other passengers also left en masse in protest, she added.

Mary Fetsch, a spokeswoman for the agency that runs mass transit in the Portland metropolitan area, said the driver has been placed on administrative leave while the agency investigates the complaint.


Finance chiefs say Greece will get loan installment

The eurozone’s finance chiefs indicated early Tuesday that Greece will get a loan installment it needs to keep paying its bills, even after Athens admitted that it would not be able cut its budget deficit as much as it had promised in return for help.

Fears have been growing that Greece, despite billions of euros in rescue loans, will eventually have to default on its massive debts, rocking the global economy as it is still struggling to recover from recession.

“We had no one advocating a default for Greece. Everything will be done to avoid that and it will be avoided,” Jean-Claude Juncker, the Luxembourg prime minister who also chairs the meetings of eurozone finance ministers, said after talks that ran late into the night.


Cryptozoologists to discuss possible existence of Yeti

Scientists from seven countries will gather to discuss the possible existence of the fabled Yeti and the creature’s biology and habits, Russian officials in the central Siberian town Tashtagol told the German news agency dpa.

Cryptozoological researchers from Russia, the United States and China will attend the meetings scheduled from Thursday to Saturday in Kemerovo province some 2,000 miles east of Moscow.

The experts will present “surprising insights, and unique photographs and audio recordings” about the creature, a Kemerovo spokesman said.

Local game wardens have cited evidence allegedly obtained by a motion-triggered camera in a cave some 50 miles away from Tashtagol as possible proof of the existence of an unknown hominid in the area.

Last year, the Kemerovo regional administration issued a “Yeti warning” and called on local residents to be on the lookout for a hairy bipedal creature which might come into the open looking for food because of forest fires burning in the area at the time.