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NEWSFLASH: Need-to-Know Stories 3/28 – 4/3


This week, a huge earthquake striked north Chile, registering at an 8.2 on the magnitude scale. A shooting in Fort Hood leaves four dead, including the gunman whose family was beyond devastated at his actions. Finally, the Obama administration has extended the health care enrollment deadline to April 15 for those who began signing up for coverage on the original March 31 cutoff date, but who could not complete their health care plan purchases due to site glitches.

Welcome back to NEWSFLASH, giving you the week's biggest stories!

Chile Struck By Massive 8.2 Magnitude Earthquake

An 8.2 magnitude earthquake rocked the region around the north port city of Iquique late Tuesday, forcing hundreds of thousands to evacuate.

Six people died in Tuesday’s quake, though strict building codes ensured that no other lives were lost. More than 2,500 homes sustained structural damages while 928,000 people were evacuated from the area.

The quake triggered a small tsunami off the coast of Iquique as well, with seven-foot waves hitting the shores hours following the event.

The region continues to experience aftershocks, including a second earthquake that was measured at 7.8 on Wednesday.

Both earthquakes came just weeks after two similar, albeit less powerful tremors, shook the region near Iquique. The recent frequency of earthquakes in the area has put residents and officials on guard.

Shooting Rampage at Fort Hood Leaves 4 Dead

A shooting at the Fort Hood military base in Texas left 16 injured and four dead, including the gunman who took his own life as police closed in on him.

Ivan Lopez, 34, was an Iraq war veteran who lived in the Fort Hood area with his family. Lopez opened fire in the late afternoon, taking three other lives before a confrontation with a female police officer.

The soldier put his hands up when he faced the officer, but then reached for a weapon and shot himself in the head.

Lopez was being evaluated for PTSD, anxiety and depression treatment at Fort Hood.

This was the second shooting to take place at Fort Hood within the past five years. In 2009, Major Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 people and injured 30 others. The Army psychiatrist was set to be deployed to Afghanistan.

Initial Obamacare Deadline Extended Until April 15

While the official Obamacare deadline for Americans to enroll in a health insurance plan was March 31, the government announced that April 15 would be the final cutoff for insurance packages that start in 2014.

The deadline was extended after site issues prevented many Americans from buying a health insurance plan by the end of the day on March 31. The extension will be for anyone who began signing up on the original deadline, but were unable to complete the purchase due to site glitches.

HealthCare.gov crashed twice on March 31 as Americans rushed to purchase coverage to meet the deadline.

The government has not been clear on how they will determine if an individual truly began signing up for a health care plan on March 31 and not later.

If citizens do not meet the April 15 extended deadline, they face tax penalties for not having health insurance.

However, the government has also announced that another signup period will be opened in November for plans beginning in 2015.

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