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News Wrap: U.S. employers added fewer jobs than expected in August

In our Friday news wrap, U.S. businesses slowed their hiring in August amid global economic weakness and the tariff war with China. The Labor Department announced employers added a net of 130,000 jobs -- fewer than expected. Also, in Afghanistan, the Taliban staged another fatal assault as questions mounted about a potential peace deal. President Ashraf Ghani postponed an upcoming trip to D.C.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: U.S. businesses slowed their hiring in August amid global economic weakness and the tariff war with China.

    The Labor Department reports employers added a net of 130,000 jobs, fewer than expected. That total included 25,000 temporary workers hired for the 2020 U.S. census. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent, even as more people started looking for work.

    The chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, is playing down the risk of recession. He spoke at a conference in Switzerland today, and gave an upbeat view of what lies ahead, despite some uncertainty.

  • Jerome Powell:

    Our main expectation is not at all that there'll be a recession. I did mention, though, that there are these risks. And we're monitoring them very carefully and we're conducting policy in a way that will address them.

    But, no, I wouldn't see a recession as the most likely outcome for the United States or for the world economy, for that matter.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The Fed cut short-term interest rates in July, and is widely expected to do so again this month.

    The Taliban staged another fatal assault in Afghanistan today amid growing questions about a potential peace deal. The attack killed two people in the Western province of Farah, and fighting continued in the city hours later.

    Meanwhile, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani postponed a trip to Washington next week. His government says that a potential U.S. agreement with the Taliban could lead to all-out civil war.

    In Hong Kong, some 2,000 pro-democracy protesters surrounded a police station and subway stop in new confrontations with police. Officers answered with rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray, and the demonstrators used umbrellas to shield themselves. They also rejected promises to kill a much-criticized extradition law.

  • John Chan (through translator):

    The government is one that doesn't listen to the voice of the people. It doesn't have a mandate from the people. All it listens to is the central people's government. This is an issue that, during the last two to three months, everyone has been able to see really clearly. Our government is not working for us.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The protesters are now calling for an investigation of alleged police brutality and for direct elections of city leaders.

    The one-time strongman president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe has died. He led the African nation's black majority to power in 1980 and he ruled for 37 years, before being driven from office.

    John Ray of Independent Television News looks back at Mugabe's life.

  • John Ray:

    This is how he ended his days, in resentful retirement in a hospital in Singapore 5,000 miles from the country he liberated and the nation he enslaved.

    Robert Mugabe was already a faded force when we conducted what would be his last interview, a virtual prisoner at his sprawling mansion, the infamous Blue Roof. But he was as defiant as ever.

  • Robert Mugabe:

    We weren't that bad in comparison to other countries.

  • John Ray:

    The jubilant crowds that celebrated the end of his reign didn't agree. He had led them to ruin. Long gone, the youthful hero of the freedom struggle that ended white rule in Rhodesia, and founded a new nation with a new name.

    But Zimbabwe's new leader was ruthless from the start. He sent his army to slaughter opponents. At least 20,000 died.

  • Robert Mugabe:

    As long as dissidents come from a particular area, we will send troops to that area.

  • John Ray:

    Nor did racial reconciliation last. He drove white farmers from the land and handed it to political cronies. But as the farms burned, Zimbabwe starved, an era of hyperinflation and empty shelves. His opponents took a beating, but Mugabe had a scapegoat.

  • Robert Mugabe:

    We are not a British colony. You must know that. We are not a British colony.

  • John Ray:

    But the grinding poverty saw his people flee in their tens of thousands. In the end, he was ousted by his protege and rival Emmerson Mnangagwa, who paid this tribute tonight:

  • President Emmerson Mnangagwa:

    Comrade Mugabe bequeaths a rich and indelible legacy of tenacious adherence to principle on the collective rights of Africa and Africans in general.

  • John Ray:

    But from the bloodshed in Zimbabwe's first post-Mugabe election to the crackdown on protesters made desperate by unemployment and soaring prices, this nation still lives under the shadow of its founding father.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Robert Mugabe was 95 years old.

    Mexico now says the number of migrants arriving at its border to cross into the United States has fallen more than 50 percent in the last three months. The foreign minister announced today that some 64,000 people were stopped from crossing in August. That's down from more than 144,000 who crossed in May. Mexico deployed thousands of troops and police to slow the flow of migrants, after President Trump threatened tariffs.

    Back in this country, the Trump administration opened a legal assault today on California and four automakers over emissions standards. The U.S. Justice Department notified Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW that they are being investigated for possible antitrust violations.

    In July, the companies adopted California's emissions standards, which are tougher than those the administration favors.

    And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 69 points to close at 26797. The Nasdaq fell 13 points and the S&P 500 added two.

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