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U.S. hiring slows in November, jobless rate dives



U.S. employers added far fewer jobs than expected in November, as millions of unemployed Americans likely remained home. But the unemployment rate dropped sharply. Fred Katayama reports.

The pace of hiring slowed abruptly in the U.S. last month. New figures from the Labor Department out Friday show the economy added 210,000 new jobs in November – significantly below economists’ forecasts for as many as half a million, in line with the hiring surge in October.

But at the same time, the unemployment rate plunged, down to 4.2 percent – the lowest level since February 2020, just before the coronavirus pandemic.

And average wages rose.

The report paints a picture of a workforce that still hasn’t fully recovered after a year of health-related restrictions. Millions who lost their jobs have not returned to work. And the spread of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus poses a continued risk to the economic rebound.

Investors, however, initially liked the report, sending stocks higher at the market open. The less-than-stellar hiring number eased investors concerns about the Federal Reserve’s quicker tightening of monetary policy.

Analysts say the report probably won’t change the Fed’s timeline for paring back its massive bond purchases. But it could give the central bank more room to say it doesn’t have to accelerate the pace of reducing those purchases, especially amid the uncertainty posed by the Omicron variant.

Earlier this week, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank would consider a faster wind-down to its bond-buying program, which Wall Street saw as opening the door to earlier hikes in interest rates.

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Israeli soldiers use water cannons to stop protestors from breaking into PM’s house



Dramatic scenes in Israel as protestors take to the streets demanding a controversial judicial reform plan be scrapped

Dramatic scenes are unfolding in Israel following news the nation’s leader Benjamin Netanyahu has fired his defence minister.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Sunday after Gallant called for a halt to a controversial judicial reform plan.

Gallant, a lawmaker from Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, broke ranks on Saturday by publicly urging Netanyahu to suspend the legislation.

He said, “The growing rift in our society is penetrating the Israel Defense Forces and security agencies. This poses a clear, immediate, and tangible threat to the security of the state. I will not allow this.”

His dismissal marks the largest public fracture in Netanyahu’s coalition government over the proposed reforms that have sparked mass protests and even dissent from some in the nation’s revered military.

Others in Netanyahu’s party have begun to waver: A top lawmaker echoed the defense chief’s call to pause the contested judicial overhaul on Sunday.

Dissent from the premier’s own party and cabinet has compounded months of unprecedented mass protests by Israelis who fear the package of reforms could endanger court independence.

Netanyahu, who is on trial on graft charges that he denies, says the overhaul will balance out the branches of government.

A key bill effectively giving his religious-nationalist coalition more control over the appointment of judges is expected to be brought for ratification this week in the Knesset, where he and his allies wield 64 out of 120 seats.

But how – or even if – that as-yet-unscheduled vote will proceed has been thrown into question by Likud dissenters. #trending #featured

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Brace for impact: Passenger activates emergency slide on Delta flight



Passenger activates emergency slide on a Delta Air flight bound for Seattle

A scary situation for those passengers onboard Delta Air Flight 1714 after a passenger activated one of the aircraft’s emergency slides.

An individual has been arrested after opening one of the plane’s doors and exiting via the emergency exit slide as the crew prepared for takeoff from Los Angeles to Seattle.

The incident on the Delta flight took place around 10:40 a.m. local time on Saturday, while the plane was stationary at LA’s international airport.

The Boeing 737 was on the runway holding to taxi for takeoff when the passenger exited the aircraft.

The individual was initially detained by Delta staff before being arrested by local law enforcement.

The Federal Aviation Administration says customers are being reaccommodated on a new aircraft – apologising for any inconvenience and delay. #trending #featured

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Latitude Financial Services reports 7.9 million customer details stolen



The company is offering pay for the replacement of stolen I.D. documents

Latitude Financial Services says 7.9 million customers have had their driver’s licence numbers stolen.

More than 53,000 passport numbers have also been taken in the latest cyber attack, to grip Australia and New Zealand.

A further six million customers have had their names, addresses and phone numbers stolen.

Latitude is offering to pay for the replacement of stolen I.D. documents.

Up to 97 per cent of those records were taken before 2013, with some dating back to 2005.

The company says their review is ongoing into the matter and is contacting affected customers.

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