Come at Me, World!

Federal offices will be closed Thursday in the Washington, D.C., area as the region braces for the worst of a winter blast that has already brought misery to stranded motorists in North Carolina and hundreds of thousands of people without power across the South.

A winter storm warning for the Washington area is in effect until 3 p.m. Thursday. The National Weather Service was predicting as much as 8 inches of snow across the area, most heavily along the Interstate 95 corridor.

Snow will mix with rain and sleet Thursday morning before turning to rain and sleet in the afternoon, the weather service said. Dustings of snow were falling across the area by Wednesday evening.

Former New Orleans mayor C. Ray Nagin — who became the face of a desperate, drowning city during Hurricane Katrina — was convicted Wednesday on charges of accepting bribes from city contractors while in office.

Nagin, a Democrat, was found guilty by a federal jury on 20 of 21 criminal counts, including bribery, conspiracy and wire fraud. He was acquitted on one count of bribery.

The House approved a year-long suspension of the nation’s debt limit Tuesday in a vote that left Republicans once again ceding control to Democrats after a collapse in support for an earlier proposal advanced by Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio).

In a narrow vote, 221 to 201, just 28 Republicans joined nearly all Democrats to approve a “clean” extension of the government’s borrowing authority — one without strings attached — sending the measure to the Senate for a final vote, probably this week.

Since 1980, the debt ceiling has been raised 42 times.

The legislation, which Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) vowed to pass and President Obama said he would sign, would eliminate any chance of default on $17.2 trillion in debt — and the financial havoc that would ensue — until March 2015.

The Republican surrender probably ended a three-year war by the House GOP against what had been an obscure procedural maneuver to ensure that the nation’s past bills were paid on time. In early 2011, after claiming the majority, Republicans seized on the debt ceiling as leverage from which they could gain major concessions from Obama.

WASHINGTON — More than 1.1 million people signed up for health insurance through federal and state marketplaces in January, according to the government, and the number of young people enrolling increased faster than that of any other group.

The results were hailed by Obama administration officials, who expressed increased optimism that they had overcome their initial stumbles and erased many doubts about the viability of the health care law.

Most promising, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, is that 25 percent of those signing up for insurance from October through January were ages 18 to 34 — the young and presumably healthy people whom insurance companies need as customers in order to keep premiums reasonable for everyone.

It took 192 lasers and a building big enough to contain three football fields, but physicists have finally produced a pair of nuclear fusion reactions that created more energy than was in the fuel to start with.

The reactions lasted less than a billionth of a second, and they released only a few thousand joules — enough to power a 100-watt light bulb for less than three minutes. But it marks the first time scientists have been able to harness the power of stars here on Earth.

There are some promising things going on today in some extents. Although there is good news in the world, it is nothing compared to the atrocities that we see to this day all over the world. There is war, famine, death, and destruction everywhere and we need to be mindful of some of those things too. If we can harness the power of the sun and if we can come together for a common goal, then what can else can we do together when disaster strikes and we finally face all the bad things in the world that many of us are scared to face?