Fitz File: Friday, December 26 - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Fitz File: Friday, December 26

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Here's what you need to know from The Fitz File for Friday, December 26, 2013:

ROCKVILLE MAN CAPTIVE IN PAKISTAN - Do you remember the name: Warren Weinstein? He is a 72-year-old international development expert from Rockville, Maryland who's been held captive in Pakistan for 2 years now. This morning there is a new video out of Weinstein begging for President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to help get him released. In the tape he asks the U.S. to negotiate with his captors, saying he feels “totally abandoned and forgotten.” For it's part the US State Department released a statement saying it has not independently verified the video but called for "We reiterate our call that Warren

UNEMPLOYMENT DROPS - You're likley to know fewer people looking for work this month. The Labor Department is reporting today that applications for unemployment benefits dropped by 42,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 338,000, the biggest drop since November 2012. But economists say the figures from late November and December are warped by seasonal volatility around the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's holidays. Hiring has been healthy the past four months. The unemployment rate fell in November to 7 percent.

OBAMACARE SIGNUP SURGE - As 2013 comes to a close the White House says people are flocking to the HealthCare.Gov site to sign up for coverage. The problem now is all this last minute traffic is putting pressure on insurance companies to process hundreds of thousands of new customers in a very short time. The phone lines have also had long hold times. Even though the admistration offered a "extension to provide for that increase" it will serve as another point of criticism ObamaCare's opponents . Its expected that few weeks of the Affordable Care Act in 2014 will be confusing. People who believe they have coverage might not get their insurance cards on time, there is concern amoung some that they may might fall through the gaps.

NATIONWIDE UPS DELAYS - If you're wondering what happened to a package you were waiting for you might have to wait a while longer. UPS says they are experiencing heavy holiday volume and making every effort to get packages to their destination. The problem apparently resulted from a heavier than expected volume of air package, that overloaded UPS's capacity just before Christmas. Why the overload? With a shorter shopping season between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it's likely many shoppers turned to online sales to compensate for the reduced time to head to the stores.
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