JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.S. economy turned in the weakest jobs growth in three years last month. Today’s Labor Department report showed a net gain of just 74,000 jobs in December. The unemployment rate did fall from 7 percent to 6.7 percent, largely because many people gave up looking for a job. Paul Solman will break down the numbers, right after the news summary.
Wall Street had a muted reaction to the jobs report. The Dow Jones industrial average was down slightly, losing seven points to close at 16,437. The Nasdaq rose 18 points to close at 4,174. For the week, the Dow lost two-tenths of a percent; the Nasdaq rose 1 percent.
That data breach at the Target company over the holidays was far worse than first reported. The nation’s third largest retailer said today that up to 110 million customers were affected, well over the initial estimate of 40 million. The latest disclosure includes phone numbers, e-mail and mailing addresses. Last month’s involved credit and debit card numbers. Target says customers will not be liable for any fraudulent charges.
The U.S. House voted overwhelmingly today to set new data security requirements for the president’s health care law. The Republican bill says that enrollees must be notified within two days if there’s a breach involving their personal information.
That touched off jousting on the House floor.
REP. HENRY WAXMAN, D-Calif.: So, today, House Republicans are resorting to scare tactics. They’re bringing up a poorly thought-out bill based on a false premise that healthcare.gov is not secure. The truth is, I will say it again, there have been no successful security attacks on healthcare.gov.
REP. ERIC CANTOR, R-Va.: Why wouldn’t we take precautions to help people? That’s all this bill does is, it says if there is a risk of data breach, we should afford people opportunity to take corrective action immediately. That’s it. There’s no message in there. This is just trying to help people.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The bill ultimately passed 291-122, with 67 Democrats joining the Republicans. It is not expected to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate.
The Obama administration is changing lead contractors on the healthcare.gov Web site. Medicare/Medicaid officials confirmed today that CGI Federal will not be retained. It oversaw a disastrous rollout of the site in October. The administration plans to hire Accenture instead.
Federal authorities announced an investigation today into a chemical spill that’s largely shut down Charleston, West Virginia. The spill tainted the Elk River and cut off the supply of water for drinking, cooking and bathing. We will hear from the mayor of Charleston later in the program.
The federal government will recognize more than 1,000 gay marriages performed in Utah since late December. Attorney General Eric Holder announced today the same-sex couples are eligible for federal benefits, for now. A federal judge struck down Utah’s ban on gay marriage in late December. The state is appealing the decision.
The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, may not sign a deal letting U.S. troops stay there, at least not any time soon. “The Washington Post” reported today the U.S. ambassador has cabled Washington that he doubts Karzai will sign before elections in April. That’s much later than Washington wants, but a State Department official said this today.
JEN PSAKI, State Department: We recognize that, at this time, it is up to President Karzai to determine what it is in Afghanistan’s best interests, and we continue to work on the ground with — with President Karzai and his team and encouraging them to sign the BSA. So those efforts remain under way, and there shouldn’t be any confusion of that.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The agreement would govern any U.S. forces who remain in Afghanistan after most foreign troops leave this year. Without a deal, the U.S. has warned that it will pull out all troops.
A diplomatic storm over the strip search of India’s deputy consul general in New York took a new turn today. An American diplomat was expelled by New Delhi, as the Indian official was allowed to leave the U.S. She was granted immunity on federal charges that she forced a housekeeper to work more than 100 hours a week for low pay, and then lied about it. Her arrest and body search last month had outraged Indians.
In Syria, a human rights group reports nearly 500 people died this week in fighting between al-Qaida militants and other rebel factions. The conflict has spread across four provinces. Also today, state media said government forces around Homs killed dozens of rebels who tried to break a siege of the city.
A Pentagon report today found an ingrained culture of sexism at the nation’s military academies. Reports of sexual assaults at West Point, Annapolis and the Air Force Academy actually fell a little, from 80 to 70, in the last year. But officials said that may be due to peer pressure.
MAJ. GEN. JEFFREY SNOW, Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office: Sexual assault is a crime and has no place in our academies, just as it has no place in our armed forces. The academies are aware we develop the future leaders of the military. That is why it is essential that the department instill in its future leaders a commitment to fostering a climate of dignity and respect.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In a related development, the superintendent at the Naval Academy dropped charges against a second football player accused of sexually assaulting a female classmate last March. Trial is pending for a third Midshipman in the incident.
President Obama has tapped a former head of the Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer, to be vice chairman of the Federal Reserve. The nominee is currently a professor at MIT and holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and Israel. If confirmed by the Senate, Fischer will replace Janet Yellen, who’s taking over as Fed chair. A civil rights pioneer who helped spark sit-ins across the South died overnight. In 1960, Franklin McCain and three other black college students took seats at a segregated Woolworths lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. They were denied service, but they kept coming back, and the protests spread. In later years, McCain became a research chemist and a sales executive. He was 73 years old.