Nation Briefly

D.C.: FEMA official denied job

The man who oversaw a fake Federal Emergency Management Agency news conference is out of a job. John Philbin, FEMA’s former external affairs director, was to take over public affairs for the Director of National Intelligence on Monday. But after Philbin’s involvement in staging a fake FEMA press conference, DNI Mike McConnell decided not to have him as his top public information officer. Journalists did not attend the conference last Tuesday about the California wildfires, although they were given a conference call number they could use to listen in, but not ask questions. A half-dozen questions were asked at the event — by FEMA staff members posing as reporters.

Compromise on kids insurance

President Bush and other critics of a $35 billion spending increase for children’s health insurance say they’ll support expanding coverage to families of four making as much as $62,000 a year, but they want to limit states’ ability to go beyond that level. Congress is considering the renewal of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program for an additional five years, but differences remain over who the program should cover and how much money should be spent. The flexibility that states have in defining income is one of the differences that will probably need to be resolved for Democrats to override a promised veto from Bush.

Texas: Suspect walks out of jail

A slaying suspect escaped from jail in San Antonio by assuming the identity of another inmate and was on the loose for more than six hours before authorities realized he was gone, officials said. He was still at large Monday. The man who escaped, David Sauceda, 27, walked out of jail early Sunday morning when he recited the personal information of his cellmate, Michael Garcia, who was being released on bail, according to the sheriff’s department. Sauceda and his brother, Jesse Sauceda, were charged in the November 2006 killing of a San Antonio man, and with robbing a 59-year-old woman after binding her with duct tape.

Florida: Extra day in space

At Cape Canaveral, NASA asked its orbiting astronauts Monday to take a closer look at the gears that control the international space station’s solar wings to try to find out what’s grinding inside and causing steel chips to clog the system. The work will keep shuttle Discovery in orbit an extra day. It will now return to Earth on Nov. 7.

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