Washington, D.C.

VA says doctor network is too complex

A top Veterans Affairs official told lawmakers that the government’s network of private doctors available to veterans at taxpayer expense is “too complicated.” Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson said reforming what has become an inefficient, unwieldy bureaucracy is crucial to making outside care “part of the fabric of VA care” to meet growing demand.


New York

Mayor outlines plan to curb homelessness

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a plan to create 15,000 housing units aimed at curbing homelessness over the next 15 years — an action that triggered more calls for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to match the commitment. Homelessness has grown during de Blasio’s tenure from 53,000 people staying in shelters to a peak of more than 59,000 last December.



Salt Lake City elects openly gay mayor

Salt Lake City just elected its first openly gay mayor. Though the election was held Nov. 3, the vote count was just made official. “Today is not just about making history,” Mayor-elect Jackie Biskupski, a Democrat, said. “It is about people. It is about affecting change.”



At least 49 dead in suicide bombings

At least 34 people were killed and another 80 wounded in a suicide bombing in Yola. Later, two more suicide bombers killed at least 15 people in the northern city of Kano and injured 53. The blasts were the latest by Boko Haram, Nigeria’s homegrown extremists. Boko Haram was named the world’s most deadly extremist group in the Global Terrorism Index.



Closure of coal-fired power plants proposed

The government called for the closing of all coal-fired power plants in the country by 2025, and proposed that use of the plants be restricted two years sooner. The move came in advance of a United Nations conference on climate change.



Italian missionary injured in attack

Unidentified assailants wounded an Italian missionary working in northern Bangladesh in the third attack on foreigners there since late September. The Roman Catholic missionary, Piero Parolari, is a physician who has lived in the region for more than 30 years, according to police.



Dissidents deported from Thailand

Two Chinese dissidents who had sought sanctuary in Thailand were sent back to China, despite winning official recognition as refugees, rights groups said. The groups denounced Thai authorities for betraying the two men’s right to flee feared political persecution and torture.

News services