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Friday, November 2, 2012

U.S. Adds More Jobs than Expected in October

The U.S. economy added more jobs in October than economists forecast, the last Labor Department employment report before the presidential election showed today. Companies hired 171,000 people, compared with 114,000 in September. Excluding government agencies, payrolls increased by 184,000. It is the 25th straight month of job growth. Even still, the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in September as more people entered the labor force. This number does not include people in part-time positions looking for full-time work, or people who gave up on finding a job. “This morning we learned that companies hired more workers in October than at any time in the last eight months,” said President Barack Obama at a rally in Ohio. Romney, focusing on the unemployment rate, told supporters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin: “today’s increase in the unemployment rate is a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill.” “You continue to see improvements in people’s perceptions of what’s happening in the job market,” noted UBS Securities Chief Economist Maury Harris.

CIA Played Crucial Role in Benghazi Attack

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) played a crucial defensive role in the September 11 attack of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that claimed the lives of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three American staffers. Senior CIA officials who did not want to be identified described how a rescue party that worked undercover enlisted Libyan militia members for help, ran to the consulate and searched for Ambassador Stevens in the flaming building, to no avail. The group then proceeded to evacuate the consulate staff to its base, an annex of the U.S. mission, waiting for back up teams to come from Tripoli, Libya’s capital. Soon after their arrival, a mortar attack on the annex killed two CIA security officers who were protecting the base from the roof. The CIA officials spoke today to deny accusations by news outlets, including Fox News, that the agency’s chain of command prevented officers in Benghazi to respond to calls for help. “There were no orders to anybody to stand down in providing support,” one official said. The official also denied that the Deparment of Defense didn’t support the CIA in the operation. The military diverted a drone to oversee the consulate’s evacuation, sent the two reinforcement teams from Tripoli, and lent a plane to carry wounded Americans as well as Stevens’ body out of Libya.

Nigeria Executes at Least 30 People in Islamic Stronghold

Nigerian soldiers executed 30 people during raids into the city of Maiduguri, believed to be a stronghold for the Islamic sect Boko Haram, which has fought for Nigeria to become an Islamic state since 2009, using methods such as bombings and gun attacks. Troops from Nigeria’s Joint Task Force (JTF) were sent into Maiduguri, raiding houses, shooting some people singled out as terrorists and taking others away. Yesterday, Amnesty International published a report saying the JTF was committing abuses against human rights in its fight against the sect, stoking the extremist insurrection. Boko Haram, an indigenous group that became a Salafist jihadist organization three years ago, has become the main security threat to Nigeria’s government. Its members believe Nigeria should have no interaction with the Western World whatsoever. Nigeria is the world’s 10th largest oil producer, before Kuwait and Venezuela.

NYC Marathon Cancelled

After days of tension over the New York City marathon, which was scheduled for Sunday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced its cancellation today. After Hurricane Sandy, Bloomberg said it would be maintained as a show of resilience. Citizens and politicians resisted the decision, arguing it would be insensitive to the residents who are still working through the damage left by Sandy and that it would make more sense to use the city’s resources for recovery efforts. This is a first for the world’s largest marathon, which has taken place every year since 1970, including in 2001, two months after the destruction of the twin towers. “We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event — even one as meaningful as this — to distract attention away from all the critically important work that is being done to recover from the storm and get our city back on track,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

Weekend Read: Nine Long Stories for Undecided Voters

For undecided U.S. voters, The New Yorker compiled nine long articles to pore over before next Tuesday’s election. They cover the two candidates, the U.S. political landscape, climate change, foreign policy, and more. Find and read them all here.

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