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3:20am

Mon October 24, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Medicare Enrollment Comes Sooner This Year

The open enrollment period for Medicare beneficiaries is under way earlier this year — one of many upcoming changes.

Anne de Haas iStockphoto.com

If you're a senior on Medicare — or an adult child responsible for a senior on Medicare — here's something you should know: The annual "open enrollment" period for joining or changing prescription drug or private health plans is already under way.

"It's much earlier this year. It started on Oct. 15, and it's going to stop on Dec. 7," says Nancy Metcalf, a senior editor and health expert at Consumer Reports. "So you have your window right now."

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3:19am

Mon October 24, 2011
Around the Nation

Labor Worries Rise As Planting Season Nears In Ala.

Originally published on Tue October 25, 2011 10:26 pm

Farmer Scott Allgood, front, of Allgood, Ala., listens during a meeting of farmers and state officials to discuss the impact of the Alabama Immigration law on their livelihoods in Oneonta, Ala.

Dave Martin AP

Alabama farmers are facing a labor crisis because of the state's new immigration law as both legal and undocumented migrant workers have fled the state since the strict new rules went into effect last month.

So far, piecemeal efforts to match the unemployed or work release inmates to farm jobs are not panning out, and farmers are asking state lawmakers to do something before the spring planting season.

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3:00am

Mon October 24, 2011
National Security

U.S. Military Boosts Clean Energy, With Startup Help

Originally published on Mon October 24, 2011 5:03 pm

Lance Cpl. Dakota Hicks, from Laharpe, Ill., connects a radio battery to a portable solar panel system in Sangin District, Afghanistan.

William Price Small AP

With a bill of about $15 billion a year the U.S. military is the largest energy user in the country by far, so the Defense Department has been finding alternative ways to meet its energy needs with help from Silicon Valley.

But this partnership between the military and clean tech companies is taking some heat in the midst of discussions about Solyndra, the failed solar panel manufacturer, and the riskiness of green startups.

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3:00am

Mon October 24, 2011
Crisis In The Housing Market

Housing Crisis A Hot Topic For Presidential Hopefuls

Originally published on Mon October 24, 2011 5:03 pm

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, businessman Herman Cain, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann participate in a Republican presidential debate last week in Las Vegas.

Ethan Miller Getty Images

Home prices across the U.S. have dropped 30 percent from their peaks, a downturn that has sapped trillions of dollars in wealth from Americans. Not surprisingly, it's a hot topic for presidential candidates this campaign season. But so far, new ideas about how to fix the crisis have been scarce.

On Monday, President Obama is visiting Nevada, where he's expected to announce his administration's latest proposals on housing. The state is at the epicenter of the downturn, with the latest reports showing home prices and sales numbers continuing to slip.

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3:00am

Mon October 24, 2011
Election 2012

Latino Republicans Find Party A Tough Sell

Originally published on Mon October 24, 2011 5:03 pm

President Obama, seen here in North Chesterfield, Va., last week, is on a campaign swing through the West this week, making stops in California, Nevada and Colorado — states with significant Hispanic populations.

Jay Paul Getty Images

President Obama is on a campaign swing through the West this week, making stops in California, Nevada and Colorado — all states where Hispanic voters will play a pivotal role in next year's election.

Obama has lost popularity with Latinos recently, mostly due to the economy. But Hispanic voters looking for alternatives find problems with the Republican slate as well.

GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain recently said he'd "electrify" the U.S.-Mexico border fence "with a sign on it on the other side that says it can kill you."

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