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News Wrap: Hurricane Joaquin batters the Bahamas

In our news wrap Friday, the Bahamas suffered heavy flooding, torrents of rain and howling winds from Hurricane Joaquin. There were no reports of casualties, but the U.S. Coast Guard reported a cargo ship missing with 33 people on board. Also, the September labor report showed employers added just 142,000 jobs, fewer than expected.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    In other news, the economy turned in a subpar showing for September. The Labor Department reported today that employers added 142,000 jobs, less than expected, as oil drillers and others cut back on hiring. The unemployment rate held steady at 5.1 percent, mainly because more people stopped looking for work.

    Wall Street reacted negatively at first, but then it shrugged off the jobs report, as energy stocks rallied. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 200 points to close above 16470, the Nasdaq rose 80 points, and the S&P 500 added 27. For the week, the Dow and the S&P gained 1 percent. The Nasdaq rose half of a percent.

    The Bahamas took the brunt of Hurricane Joaquin today. Heavy flooding, torrents of rain and howling wind destroyed homes and tore up trees, but there were no reports of casualties. At the same time, the U.S. Coast Guard reported that a cargo ship is missing, with 33 people on board.

  • CAPT. MARK FEDOR, U.S. Coast Guard:

    The real challenge is this vessel is disabled basically right near the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, right where the strongest winds are, so up to 140 miles per hour. So, the challenge is trying to get our assets as close as possible to try to find the vessel.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The hurricane began to weaken slightly this evening, and forecasters said it's likely to curve out into the Atlantic, and away from the U.S. East Coast.

    Word came today that the U.S. secretary of education, Arne Duncan, will step down in December, after six-and-a-half years on the job. He's one of the longest-serving members of the Obama Cabinet, and at today's White House announcement, he said he's going home to Chicago to spend more time with his family. ARNE DUNCAN, Secretary of Education: I love this work, I love this team, I love the president, I love the chance to serve. The only thing I love more is you guys. And I can't wait to come home, and see a couple more track meets and maybe get to coach Ryan a little bit, and maybe have a few more dinners, and maybe go to a movie someday. That would be pretty amazing.

    (LAUGHTER)

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The president named John King Jr. a senior Education Department official, to serve as acting secretary for the remainder of his administration. That avoids a confirmation fight with Senate Republicans, who've accused the administration of dictating policies to local schools.

    In Afghanistan, sporadic shooting echoed around Kunduz a day after government forces recaptured most of the city. The Taliban had held the provincial capital for three days, and, today, the militants' new leader hailed it a symbolic victory. Meanwhile, residents reported ongoing firefights, as Afghan troops swept through the city. They're trying to dislodge militants who are hiding in people's homes.

  • MAN (through interpreter):

    The security situation is not good in Kunduz. We are really concerned about this situation. We are not able to get out of our homes. We have no food to eat. We are really in trouble.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Meanwhile, the Taliban scored another advance overnight, seizing part of a northeastern province in Afghanistan.

    In Iraq, the top Shiite cleric called today for widening the war on the Islamic State group. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani issued a statement, saying: "It's not Iraq's battle alone, but the whole world. It's essential to join together all efforts."

    And the Vatican has distanced itself from a Kentucky county clerk who met with Pope Francis last week at the papal embassy in Washington. Kim Davis had been jailed for refusing to license same-sex marriages. She says the pope praised her courage, and told her to stay strong.

    But, today, Vatican officials played down the meeting, and said it wasn't an endorsement.

  • REV. THOMAS ROSICA, Vatican Spokesman (through interpreter):

    First of all, the meeting took place as the farewell greetings as the pope was leaving the Nunciature in Washington. The nuncio invited a number of guests, his own choice, to greet the pope, very brief greetings.

    And in the pope's characteristic kindness and his warmth and hospitality, he shook people's hands and gave them rosaries. We should understand it as that.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Instead, the official said the pontiff's only real audience was with a gay couple that Francis knew from his years in Argentina.

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