Updated 

In Brief | Nation & World | 12-26-13


Egypt’s interim government declares the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group

CAIRO — Egypt’s military-backed interim government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization Wednesday, intensifying its campaign of arrests and prosecutions targeting its members and tightening the noose on the group’s network of charities and businesses.

The unprecedented executive decision likely ends any chance of reconciliation between the government and the 85-year-old Brotherhood, still Egypt’s most organized political group. It marks a stunning reversal of fortunes for the long-outlawed organization that saw member Mohammed Morsi reach Egypt’s highest office in the country’s first democratic election, only to be ousted in a popularly backed military coup in July. And it takes a step that not even autocrat Hosni Mubarak took in his nearly 30-year rule.

Hossam Eissa, deputy prime minister and minister of higher education, read the government’s declaration, saying the decision was in response to Tuesday’s deadly bombing in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura which killed 16 people and wounded more than 100. It was the deadliest militant bombing since Morsi’s ouster and showed growing reach of the country’s Islamic insurgency, previously concentrated in the northern Sinai.

Although Eissa and the government offered no proof of the Brotherhood’s involvement, the accusation instilled in the public mind the image of the group as being behind the surge in violent attacks.

The Brotherhood has denied being responsible for the Mansoura attack. Earlier Wednesday, an al-Qaida-inspired group called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, or the Champions of Jerusalem, said it was behind the suicide bombing to avenge the “shedding of innocent Muslim blood” at the hands of Egypt’s “apostate regime.”

To avoid health insurance gaps, consumers need patience and persistence

CHICAGO — The deadline has passed, and so too the surprise grace period, for signing up for health insurance as part of the nation’s health care law.

Now what?

For those who were able to navigate the glitch-prone and often overwhelmed healthcare.gov website, there’s still work to be done to make sure success online leads to actual coverage come the new year.

The first step experts recommend is to call your insurance company and double-check they received your payment.

What if you missed the Christmas Eve deadline and still want insurance in 2014, as the health law requires of most Americans? You may be without health insurance for a month, but you can still sign up for coverage that will start in February.

Thousands left without power in US, Canada as restoration efforts hindered by wind, snow

LITCHFIELD, Maine — Utility crews from Maine to Michigan and into Canada worked Wednesday to restore power to the more than half a million homes in the U.S. and Canada that were left in the dark by last weekend’s ice storm and people slowly trickled out of shelters to spend Christmas Day at their finally warm homes.

But not everyone was so lucky, including Ashley Walter, who was forced to spend Christmas at a shelter set up in a school in Litchfield, Maine, with her husband, Jacob, and their month-old daughter, Leah.

The family lost power Saturday, got it back temporarily then lost it again Sunday and have been without since. Ashley, 27, and Leah stay warm at the shelter while Jacob makes frequent trips home to check on their cats and water pipes.

The frigid temperatures that cloaked a region from the Great Lakes to New England meant that ice remained on power lines and limbs. Officials worried that wind gusts of more than 20 mph could bring down more branches and that 2 to 6 inches of snow in places on Thursday would hamper line crews trying to get to remote spots.

By wire sources