January Jobs Report Optimistic
The federal government released a jobs report Friday with good news for the American economy. Employers created 257,000 jobs in the month of January. The unemployment rate increased from 5.6 to 5.7 percent due to a significant increase in Americans reentering the workforce, inspired by the growing economy, as opposed to a decrease in the number of jobs.
The report also revised previous months’ estimates—147,000 more jobs were added in November and December than originally predicted. While the number of jobs had been consistently rising before this report, there finally appears to be some wage growth as well. Average earnings have risen 0.5 percent over the past month. As a whole, the report signals that employers are growing increasingly confident and hiring more workers, and potential employees are feeling more encouraged to jump back into the job market.
Yemeni President Resigns after Houthi Takeover
Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi resigned on Thursday in the wake of the palace takeover. On Friday, Yemen’s Houthi rebel group dissolved parliament and announced that it would set up a transitional national council of 551 members to replace the dissolved legislature. This announcement came after the failure of UN-sponsored peace talks.
Leaders of the Houthi rebels have also appointed four key ministers from the recently ousted government to a national security committee. These appointments appear to be aimed at reassuring Western countries and regional powers like Saudi Arabia that the militants are trustworthy, particularly in the fight against Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. However, Saudi Arabia and its allies denounced the Houthis’ new governing plan on Saturday, according to a statement by the official Saudi Press Agency. Meanwhile, the United States continued its drone strikes against al-Qaida targets in the country.
The Houthis mainly belong to a Shiite Muslim sect, the Zaydis, who make up nearly one-third of the country’s population and are dominant in the north.
Hackers Target Health Care Industry
Hackers broke into health insurer Anthem’s database on Thursday, stealing Social Security numbers, addresses, and email addresses. Cybersecurity experts believe that the breach indicates hackers are moving away from retailers such as Target and Home Depot and towards the health care industry. They warn that health centers could become an emerging market for cyber thieves because they contain data, such as a target’s date of birth or Social Security number, that cannot be destroyed in the same way a credit card number can. In 2014, health care companies were targeted in 42.5 percent of all data hacks.
Anthem, which insures over 80 million people, sent an email to customers warning them of information security scams. These phishing email scams offer fake credit protection services to customers concerned about the attacks in an attempt to steal even more information.
Anthem suspects, but has not confirmed, that Chinese hackers were behind the security breach. Although several Chinese IP addresses have been connected with the hack, Chinese hackers usually tend to target data that can help the Chinese economy, such as trade secrets. It is unclear what the hackers plan to do with the data, although experts have suggested that the information may be sold on the black market or used by the Chinese government.
The Anthem attack is the third largest hack since 2007 after those on Heartland Payment Systems and TK-TJ Maxx.
In other news…
Miss the Grammys last night? Catch up on the highlights with The Washington Post. Sam Smith was the big winner of the night, but Beck, Beyonce, and even Kanye West had their moments too.
ISIL claims that an American hostage was killed in the fallout of a Jordanian air strike on Friday. Neither American nor Jordanian forces have confirmed the death of 26-year-old Kayla Mueller, who has been in captivity for roughly 17 months.
NBC’s star news anchor Brian Williams has “temporarily” stepped down after it was revealed that he lied about being in a helicopter hit by an RPG in Iraq in 2003. The pilot of the chopper that was struck down says he contacted NBC 11 years ago to correct the inaccuracies but never heard back.
A physiology professor at the University of South Carolina was shot and killed by his ex-wife Thursday before she turned the gun on herself.
Several politicians are suspected of “testing the water” in making vaccinations a hot-button partisan issue, writes Tara Huelle for Politico. Politicizing the issue had devastating ramifications in Britain in 2002.
Foreign Policy’s Fiona MacGregor investigates the hidden world of Myanmar’s booming modeling industry.
A team of students at the University of Southern California created Project Syria, a virtual reality experience and “empathy generator” that brings the foreign conflict into focus.
Last Tuesday night, a Metro-North train crashed into an SUV stuck in the rail crossing, killing the driver and five passengers on the train.
Egypt’s crackdown on religious groups has tragic implications for charities and those they serve.