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The Week in 5

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An Illustration of Facebook logo, on May 9, 2016. Facebook won a court case in China against Zhongshan Pearl River Drink Factory for using the name face book. (Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto/Sipa USA)

By Jack Hervela

304,000 jobs added in January while unemployment rises

The Bureau of Labor Department reported Friday employers added 304,000 jobs in January, making it the 100th month of continuous job growth.

This follows a December which added 220,000 jobs, yet January still saw a rise to four percent unemployment, due in part to the partial government shutdown.

As NPR reports, “Gains occurred in a number of sectors: Leisure and hospitality added 74,000 jobs, construction 52,000, health care 42,000, retail nearly 21,000 and manufacturing 13,000.”

An average of $27.56 an hour was made among workers last month, growing hourly earnings by 3.2 percent.

Federal workers furloughed during January were considered employees still under a bill signed Jan. 16 which, “requires employees of the federal government who are furloughed or required to work during the lapse in appropriations beginning on Dec. 22, 2018, to be compensated for the period of the lapse,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

Considering 100 months of job growth, reports have been optimistic of a strong economy and hopeful heading out of the shutdown.

“Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in December indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has been rising at a solid rate,” said the Federal Reserve in a Jan. 30 press release.

For the full BLS report, head here.  

Facebook initiates crackdown on Iran state-related fake accounts

Facebook announced Thursday the shutdown of 783 ‘inauthentic’ pages, groups or accounts tied to Iran, with organized regional sects in Syria, France, Germany, the U.S. and many more.

“This activity was directed from Iran, in some cases repurposing Iranian state media content, and engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior targeting people across the world, although more heavily in the Middle East and South Asia,” said Facebook Head of Cybersecurity Policy Nathaniel Gleicher in a press release.

These pages would recycle Iranian-State news and refurbish it based on locale, then commentate on topics such as, “Israel-Palestine relations and the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, including the role of the US, Saudi Arabia and Russia,” Gleicher said.

Some accounts date back to 2010 and raise questions on their involvement in events such as the Arab Spring with accounts traced to Yemen, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

Following their investigation and reports, Facebook announced, “We have shared information about our investigation with US law enforcement, the US Congress and policymakers in impacted countries.”

For an in-depth report of the fallout and the impact on Twitter, head to Forbes.

Area residents bruised but recovering after bitter arctic clipper

The deep-freeze over last week aided in an influx of hospital visits and some deaths across Michigan and the Midwest.

“More than 400 people over four days used Spectrum Health’s MedNow to see a nurse practitioner or a physician’s assistant about non-emergency issues,” reported WOODTV 8. That 400 almost doubling a 250-over-four-day average.

From Tuesday to Wednesday Mercy Health in Rockford, “treated 15 people for broken bones from falling on the ice, 10 people who were in car crashes caused by snow and eight people who complained of chest pain or shortness of breath,” WOODTV stated.

Luckily fatalities were sparse across the midwest, yet sadly 90-year-old Ada Salna, of Three-Rivers, died Wednesday after being locked out of her home.

“Storm Team 8 says the temperature in Three Rivers Tuesday afternoon was only 8 degrees, and it dipped as low as -15 before Salna’s body was found. Wind chills were between -40 and -45,” WOODTV reported.

21 Savage detained by ICE

Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, better known as rapper 21 Savage, was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement stemming from an expired visa.

Savage has been open about his upbringing in Atlanta, GA, delving into his past in a 2016 XXL interview.

“The early-morning arrest stemmed from a traffic stop in DeKalb County,” reported AJC, also stating Savage, “was taken into custody in a ‘targeted operation’ in metro Atlanta.”

ICE explained Savage entered the U.S. in July of 2005 and stayed illegally through the expiration of his visa in 2006.

Interestingly, Savage was arrested in 2014 on felony drug charges yet ICE claims his citizenship was not called into question then.

“When Abraham-Joseph was arrested in 2014, ICE was not aware of his immigration status. They only learned later that he is allegedly from the U.K.,” AJC reported.

For more, head to CNN here.

Notorious kingpin now awaiting jury decision

A New York jury will now decide the fate of famed drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera after two and half months of trial.

At 61, Guzmán faces life in prison if found guilty of his harshest of 10 charges, engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise.

“For 38 court days, the rise and fall of the near-mythical Mexican drug lord who allegedly pocketed nearly $14 billion as the decades-long head of the murderous Sinaloa cartel took center stage in room 8A of the Eastern District courthouse in downtown Brooklyn,” reported CNN.

In concurrence with the recent government shutdown over border wall funding, the trial cast an ironic shadow over such efforts.

According to CNN, “the trial showed that any such fortification would have failed to stop the tons of drugs the cartel moved from Mexico to the United States via fishing boats, trains, tractor-trailers, radar-evading airplanes, passenger cars at legal ports of entry, submarines, oil tankers, cocaine-laden cans of jalapeños and cross-border tunnels.”
For an interesting take on the politics of the drug war, head here.