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In our news wrap Thursday, U.S. job growth slowed in March, due in part to late-winter storms. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent, where it's been for six months. Also, the governor of Arizona announced that he's sending 150 National Guard members to the U.S.-Mexico border next week in response to President Trump's proclamation.
In the day's other news: U.S. job growth slowed in march, due in part to late winter storms.
The Labor Department reported that employers added a net of 103,000 jobs. That's down sharply from February. The unemployment rate for March held steady at 4.1 percent, where it's been for six months. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell gave an upbeat appraisal of the economy today. He said the Fed will continue gradually raising interest rates.
The governor of Arizona announced this evening that he's sending 150 National Guard members to the U.S.-Mexico border next week. That's in response to President Trump's proclamation this week, involving California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The president says that he wants a total of 2,000 to 4,000 Guard members to deploy.
To the Middle East, where fresh violence broke out along the Gaza border today, and Israeli troops shot dead nine Palestinians. Gazan health officials said over 1,000 others were wounded. Thick smoke billowed as Palestinians burned tires to obstruct the view of Israeli snipers. The troops responded with live fire and water cannons. In all, at least 29 Palestinians have been killed in the last week. The militant group Hamas is organizing the protests.
In South Africa, former President Jacob Zuma made his first court appearance on corruption charges, and insisted that they are politically motivated. He is accused of fraud, racketeering and money laundering in an arms deal from the 1990s. The 75-year-old arrived at the packed courtroom in Durban for a brief hearing.
Afterward, he rallied with supporters and proclaimed his innocence.
Jacob Zuma (through translator):
It has now appeared to me that those that are in charge of the law, and politicians as well, and just as everyone has human rights, I'm singled out as not having any human rights. They talk about me whatever way. Truth be told, they are lucky that people are no longer beaten.
Zuma served as president for nearly nine years, and resigned under pressure in February. His trial has been adjourned until June.
South Korea's former President Park Geun-Hye was sentenced today to 24 years in prison in a corruption scandal. A judge in Seoul ruled that the 66-year-old Park was guilty of charges ranging from bribery to extortion. He also fined her more than $16 million. Park was driven from office a year ago. Dozens of other top government and business leaders have been convicted in the same scandal.
Back in this country, Facebook has announced that people who run issue ads on the site will now have to confirm their identity and location. CEO Mark Zuckerberg also endorsed legislation to make social media identify those who place ads for political candidates. Zuckerberg is set to testify before Congress next week about recent disclosures of massive privacy breaches.
Republican Congressman Blake Farenthold of Texas resigned suddenly today. It follows revelations that he used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment claim. Farenthold had already said he wouldn't run for reelection. But in a statement today, he said, "I know in my heart it's time for me to move along."
And former Democratic U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka of Hawaii died today. He was the first Native American elected to Congress, and served more than 30 years, first in the House, later in the Senate. Daniel Akaka was 93 years old.
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