Nation and world briefs

  • Updated: April 7, 2014 - 9:58 PM

down under: Britain’s royal family — Duchess Kate, Prince William and baby Prince George — arrived in New Zealand on Monday for a three-week trip that also includes Australia.

Photo: Associated Press,

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Illinois

NTSB: Sensors too far back in rain crash

A sensor for an automatic braking system was too close to the end of the track to prevent a crash at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, according to a preliminary federal report released Monday. The National Transportation Safety Board’s one-page analysis of the dramatic March 24 crash at the airport’s underground station said the Chicago Transit Authority train was traveling at 26 mph when it passed a “trip stop” that activated the emergency braking system. More than 30 people were injured.

Washington, D.C.

Medicare reverses cuts to private plans

Medicare has reversed proposed payment cuts to private health plans in the popular Medicare Advantage program for the second straight year amid strong lobbying from health insurers and Capitol Hill. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said after proposing in February a 1.9 percent cut to private plans that government payments to insurers in the Medicare Advantage program will increase 0.4 percent on average in 2015. The increase, CMS said, is slightly higher than what insurers had requested.

Afghanistan

Roadside bomb kills 15 people

A roadside bomb killed at least 15 people traveling in vehicles that had been diverted from a main road after an earlier attack in southern Afghanistan. The blast came after a relatively calm weekend in which no major attacks were reported as Afghans voted for a new president and provincial councils. The Taliban had threatened violence to disrupt Saturday’s vote. But security forces tightened their grip and only sporadic attacks took place.

Cuba

Judge asked to free ailing Gitmo detainee

Lawyers for the last former British resident imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, asked a federal judge to order his release because he has been given a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental and physical ailments. The motion on behalf of the detainee, Shaker Aamer, 45, a Saudi citizen, represents a new tactic by lawyers seeking the release of Guantanamo detainees by building on a court’s decision last year that a Sudanese detainee should be allowed to leave because of health problems.

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