GALESBURG — The Galesburg City Council looked at a variety of tax increase options that would allow the city to avoid making staff cuts in emergency personnel. Five proposals were put forth, including increases in the sales tax, the property tax, the gas tax and the electricity tax to raise the necessary $755,000 to avoid the firings. City manager Todd Thompson told the Register-Mail that while they were being considered, neither he nor the council wants to put any of these tax increases into place. If no tax increase is put into place, current planned budget cuts would terminate the positions of three firefighters, two police officers and one fire trainer, as well as other city personnel. There are still two more board meetings for public and alderman input before the Nov. 18 budget deadline. (Source: The Galesburg Register-Mail)
WASHINGTON — Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius apologized before a congressional committee for problems with healthcare.gov, the website that is designed to help Americans comparison shop for health insurance, calling it a “debacle.” The website has been plagued with technical issues since its implementation, putting in danger the planned Jan. 1 rollout of more provisions of the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.
Sebelius also had to deal with anger from Republicans over the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are in danger of being dropped from their current coverage despite assurances from the Obama administration to the contrary. (Source: The Chicago Tribune)
BEIJING — A sports utility vehicle in Tiananmen Square struck and killed five people before bursting into flames in what officials now suspected of being a terrorist attack. Suspicion has fallen on the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a separatist group that aims at the independence of the western Xinjiang province from the Beijing government.
Hotels in the Beijing area have been informed that authorities are looking for nine men, eight of which are Uighurs, the ethnic group predominant in Xinjiang province. If the attack is linked back to the group it would be an expansion of the group’s activities, which previously have only been regional in nature. (Source: The Wall Street Journal)