Washington, D.C.

Health coverage sign-ups climb

About 11.4 million people signed up for President Obama's health plan or renewed their coverage for 2015, raising the possibility that enrollment may surpass the administration's goal in the second year of the program. Enrollment closed Feb. 15 for coverage through health plans offered on the marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act. The Obama administration hopes to have at least 9.1 million people paying for coverage bought through government-run marketplaces this year.

Pentagon spokesman steps down

Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary and the public face of the U.S. military, is stepping down, a casualty of a new defense secretary who has reservations about having a uniformed officer represent the department in its dealings with the media. Ashton Carter, who was confirmed as defense secretary last week, wants a civilian in the role of spokesman.


Four injured in refinery explosion

Four workers suffered minor injuries after a large explosion at the Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance. About 47 firefighters responded after the explosion. The blast was followed by a ground fire that was quickly extinguished.


Two killed in mosque attack

At least two people were killed in an attack on a mosque in Islamabad that belongs to the Shiite Muslim community. At least six people were wounded. Authorities believe a man opened fire before throwing a grenade, or possibly before a suicide jacket he was wearing partly exploded.


2014 was country's deadliest year

Last year was the deadliest for civilians caught up in Afghanistan's war since the United Nations began keeping records in 2009. Civilian casualties, which include deaths and injuries, were up 22 percent from the previous record set in 2013, and they surpassed 10,000 for the first time.

News services