RSS
10 things you need to know today: November 17, 2013
Hollande pledges continued pressure on Iran's nuclear program, a new goal for ObamaCare, and more
 
French President Francois Hollande will continue opposing the easing of nuclear sanctions on Iran.
French President Francois Hollande will continue opposing the easing of nuclear sanctions on Iran. John Moore/Getty Images

1. Obama administration manages Healthcare.gov expectations
The Obama administration will consider the new federal insurance marketplace a success if 80 percent of users can buy health-care plans online, according to officials. The measure is the first concrete performance standard in the three and a half years since the government began to design the health exchange. It is now guiding the work of government employees and contractors racing to repair the faulty website by the Nov. 30 deadline. Administration officials acknowledge that until recently, they had no concrete definition for how well Healthcare.gov should work, but they say one would not have made sense before the site went live Oct. 1. [Washington Post]
………………………………………………………………………………

2. France pledges support for Israel ahead of Iran talks
French President Francois Hollande assured Israel on Sunday that France will continue to oppose easing economic sanctions against Iran until it's convinced Tehran has stopped pursuing nuclear weapons. Hollande's pledge, at the start of a three-day visit to Israel, may help Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to convince world powers to toughen terms of a proposed nuclear deal with Iran ahead of negotiations reconvening this week in Geneva. [Reuters]
………………………………………………………………………………

3. Philippine president to stay in hardest-hit region
President Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines said Sunday that he will live in Tacloban in the Typhoon-battered Leyte province until he sees more progress in the aid effort. Almost every building in the city was damaged or destroyed by the Nov. 8 Typhoon Haiyan, which killed 3,974 people. The storm left about 1,200 people missing. [USA TODAY]
………………………………………………………………………………

4. Woodward says ObamaCare rollout isn't Obama's Watergate
President Obama's mishandling of the Affordable Care Act rollout has been incompetent, Bob Woodward said on Fox News Sunday, but it doesn't rise to past president-dooming scandals. "What this is, it's a mess, clearly, but what it isn't, and I think you have to look at the question of motive. And the president's motive here, even though there were deep problems with the implementation, he wants to do something good for 30 million people and get them health insurance," Woodward said. "So this isn't Watergate, this isn't Clinton and Monica Lewinsky." Woodward did say the ACA rollout is a harbinger of bad things to come for Obama's White House. [Politico]
………………………………………………………………………………

5. Drone malfunction injures two soldiers
Two sailors received minor burns Saturday after a drone malfunctioned and crashed into a guided missile cruiser off the coast of Southern California. The ship, the USS Chancellorsville, was testing combat weapons systems off the coast of Point Mugu. The drone was being used to test the ship's radar tracking when it malfunctioned, veered out of control, and struck the cruiser. The Navy is investigating the cause of the malfunction. [CNN]
………………………………………………………………………………

6. Boeing leads Airbus on first day of Dubai Air Show
Boeing and Airbus scored record orders on Sunday, the first day of the Dubai Air Show, with Emirates accounting for the bulk of purchases as it signed deals valued at more than $100 billion for wide-body aircraft. The opening day of the show reasserts the Middle East's position as the growth engine in the global aviation industry. [Businessweek]
………………………………………………………………………………

7. Discovered Nazi-era loot under dispute
The German government knew for 19 months that a huge trove of art, possibly including works stolen by the Nazis, had been found, but kept quiet while prosecutors carried out their investigation. Cornelius Gurlitt, the German owner of more than 1,400 art works estimated to be worth $1.35 billion, says he will not give them up voluntarily. He added that the paintings were "acquired legally." The collection includes works by Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Otto Dix, and Max Liebermann. [Huffington Post, BBC News]
………………………………………………………………………………

8. Amtrak loses $72 million from free wine and cheese
Amtrak, the federally supported national railroad, lost $72 million in food-service expenses last year, almost all from long-distance trains on which passengers get complimentary wine and cheese. Inspector General Ted Alves highlighted the shortfalls in testimony at the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing. Florida Republican John Mica said that any improvements in food service finances had been a result of accounting tricks. [TIME]
………………………………………………………………………………

9. MSNBC suspends Baldwin's talk show
Alec Baldwin's new weekly MSNBC talk show was suspended for two episodes one day after the actor was videotaped using an anti-gay epithet against a photographer during a New York street encounter. In a statement on MSNBC's website, Baldwin wrote that he "did not intend to hurt or offend anyone with my choice of words, but clearly I have – and for that I am deeply sorry." [People]
………………………………………………………………………………

10. Jolie, Martin, Lansbury accept honorary Oscars
Angelina Jolie, Steve Martin, and Angela Lansbury accepted honorary Oscar statuettes Saturday at a private dinner at the Hollywood & Highland Center. Italian costume designer Piero Tosi was also honored, but did not attend the ceremony. The Governors Awards were not televised but portions of the ceremony may be included in the Academy Awards telecast on March 2, 2014. [CBS News]

Get '10 things you need to know today' in your inbox each morning. Sign up for the email version here.

 
Terri is a freelance writer at TheWeek.com. She's a graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism, and has worked at TIME and Brides.

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week