The outage was confirmed by a Google representative in the Google News Help forum. Harvey P. from Google said:
As you may have noticed, earlier today Google News was temporarily unavailable for some users. Beginning at around 1:25 and ending around 1:54 Pacific Time, some users saw a server error message with instructions to try their requests again later. This issue has now been resolved. We know how important Google News is to our users and apologize for the disruption.
Please let us know if you have any additional questions or comments below.
Google News has gone down before. We reported a Google News outage about 6 months ago.
Forum discussion at Google News Help.