Sebelius acknowledges problems...Mall reopens...Court hears religion case

WASHINGTON (AP) — Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is acknowledging problems with the startup of the health care law. But in testimony to a Senate committee, she's also defending that law, saying it's starting to drive down health care costs for consumers. She also said the problems with the website are being steadily fixed, and that it will operate smoothly for most people by the end of the month.

PARAMUS, N.J. (AP) — Extra police are on hand as New Jersey's largest shopping mall reopens two days after a young man fired multiple shots inside and then killed himself. The Garden State Plaza in Paramus (puh-RAM'-uhs) was closed after the shooting Monday night, and remained shuttered yesterday as investigators did a thorough search of the property. Prosecutors say 20-year-old Richard Shoop killed himself with the same weapon he used to fire the shots. He had left a note with his family suggesting he would harm himself. No other injuries were reported.

VERNON, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut judge is considering whether to let Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel (SKAY'-kul) go free on bail while he awaits a new trial in the 1975 slaying of neighbor Martha Moxley. Judge Thomas Bishop heard arguments this morning. Skakel's attorney calls the state's case weak and is pushing for immediate release. Prosecutors called the case strong and say Skakel should remain behind bars. Bishop ruled last month that Skakel's trial attorney failed to adequately represent him in 2002 when he was convicted.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has been wrestling today with the appropriate role for religion in government. The justices engaged in a lively give-and-take with attorneys arguing a case involving prayers at the start of council meetings in a New York town. A federal appeals court ruled that the Rochester suburb of Greece violated the Constitution because nearly every prayer in an 11-year span was overtly Christian. There were indications today that the justices might disagree with the appellate ruling.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans who passed part, but not all, of the GED test are rushing to finish it before a new version rolls out in January. About 1 million Americans who took the high school equivalency exam could be affected. GED scores will be wiped out when the new version arrives. It's the first update to the test in more than a decade.