Thursday, July 2
Economists say Fed might delay rate hike
WASHINGTON (AP) — Economists have been predicting that the Federal Reserve would raise rates in September -- but now there's speculation that the move will be delayed.
It's because wages are flat, according to the June jobs report. Wages didn't budge, even as employers added 223,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell from 5.5 percent to 5.3.
The jobless rate fell mainly because many people out of work gave up on their job searches and were no longer counted as unemployed, which may reflect rising discouragement. The figures capture the persistently uneven nature of the job market's recovery from the Great Recession. More people had begun looking for work in May, yet all those gains were reversed in June.
Economist Tara Sinclair of the jobs site Indeed says it would now make sense for the Fed to wait until December to start raising rates. A rate hike would lead to higher rates for mortgages, auto loans and other borrowing.
Some quirks of the jobs report might explain why wages stagnated. The government's survey for the report ended relatively early in the month. So economist John Silvia says it might have excluded some bi-monthly paychecks.
US stocks fade on mixed US jobs report, Greek fears
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are ending slightly lower as investors reacted to news that Greece's finances are deteriorating and a mixed report on the job market.
Investors drove bond prices higher Thursday in a bet that the Federal Reserve will be in no hurry to raise interest rates.
Stocks ended the week down more than 1 percent, the worst weekly loss in three months.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 27 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,730.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped a point, less than 0.1 percent, to 2,076. The Nasdaq composite fell three points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,009.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.38 percent.
Obama heralds 'remarkable few weeks in America'
LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) — President Barack Obama says that despite unemployment falling to a seven-year low, there is more work to do to increase Americans' wages.
Obama is in Wisconsin touting a proposed Labor Department rule that would make more workers eligible for overtime. The move is backed by organized labor, which has been at odds with the president over his push for an Asia-Pacific free trade pact.
Despite labor's opposition, Obama scored a victory on Capitol Hill to get fast-track authority for the pending trade deal. The legislative win kicked off a strong stretch for the president, including Supreme Court rulings upholding a key provision of his health care law and affirming gay marriage nationwide.
Obama told the crowd in Wisconsin that it's been "a remarkable few weeks in America."
Kentucky clerk sued for not issuing gay-marriage licenses
MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) — Four Kentucky couples are suing a clerk who is refusing to issue gay-marriage licenses — or any marriage licenses at all — following the U.S. Supreme Court decision that same-sex couples have a legal right to marry.
Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis told The Associated Press that her Christian beliefs prevented her from complying with the decision, so she decided to issue no more marriage licenses to any couple, gay or straight.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky filed a federal lawsuit against her Thursday afternoon on behalf of four couples: two homosexual and two heterosexual couples who each tried to get licenses from Davis' office this week and were turned away.
Davis is among a handful of judges and clerks across the South who have defied the high court's order.
UNITED STATES-ISLAMIC STATE
US drone strike kills Islamic State leader
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon says a coalition airstrike in Syria has killed a senior Islamic State leader, who has been responsible for moving fighters and weapons from Libya to Syria.
A senior U.S. official says Tariq bin Tahar al-'Awni al-Harzi was killed by a U.S. drone strike. The official was not authorized to discuss the operation publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.
Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, says al-Harzi was killed June 16 in Shaddadi. He says al-Harzi coordinated the use of suicide bombing attacks in Iraq and his death will hurt the Islamic State's ability to move foreign fighters in and out of the region.
The U.S. Treasury Department imposed economic sanctions on al-Harzi last September.
NEW: Cash-strapped UN food agency reduces help to Syrian refugees
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The United Nations' food agency chief says the World Food Program is cutting back on assistance to thousands of Syrian refugees after an appeal for a ceasefire to help Syrians feed themselves went unheeded.
The WFP appealed in May for a humanitarian pause in fighting to let farmers harvest a bumper wheat crop in the country's northeast, an Islamic State movement stronghold, and bring it to markets in Syria's west.
WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin told The Associated Press on Friday that because there was no ceasefire, wheat is being stored at the farming belt and will likely be sold in Turkey.
She says WFP will halve the value of food vouchers for Syrian refugees in Lebanon and 440,000 Syrian refugees who live outside camps in Jordan will lose support.
Gov. Brown approves removing 'lynching' from California law
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation that removes the word "lynching" from California law.
The Democratic governor announced he signed the bill by Sen. Holly Mitchell, a Los Angeles Democrat, on Thursday.
Mitchell took up the issue after a black activist was charged earlier this year under a 1933 section of the California penal code that applies the word "lynching" to the crime of attempting to seize someone from police custody.
California lawmakers voted unanimously to strike the word "lynching" from the books last month, noting its racially charged nature.
In Sacramento, a district attorney has since downgraded the charges against 20-year-old Maile (MAI'-lee) Hampton to something more conventional.
A Black Lives Matter protester in Los Angeles was charged with felony lynching last week in a separate incident.
Reigning Miss Universe rebukes Trump for his migrant remarks
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — The reigning Miss Universe says Donald Trump, the beauty pageant's owner, was "hurtful and unfair" in his comments about Mexican migrants. But Paulina Vega of Colombia says she isn't giving up her crown.
Vega has been under pressure at home and from abroad to renounce her title over Trump accusing Mexico of sending rapists and drug traffickers into the U.S.
In her first public comments, Vega said Thursday that she wanted to join in the chorus of rebukes to Trump. However, she said she didn't plan to resign her crown because the Miss Universe organization does meaningful social work in communities around the world.
Many Colombians were outraged by Trump's remarks, and the city government of Bogota withdrew its support for a bid to host the Miss Universe pageant.
SC investigators find that weather caused church fire
GREELEYVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Law enforcement officials say weather caused the fire that destroyed a predominantly black church in South Carolina.
A statement from the State Law Enforcement Division released Thursday says investigators found no evidence of criminal intent at the fire at Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Greeleyville, and they declared the investigation complete
SLED says its conclusion on the cause of the fire was based on an examination of the scene, analysis of debris, witness statements and a lightning strike report.
A federal official speaking on condition of anonymity told The Associated Press earlier this week that arson was not involved in the fire at Mount Zion.
It's the same church that was targeted by the Ku Klux Klan and set on fire 20 years ago.
Image released of girl found dead in bag in Boston Harbor
BOSTON (AP) — Authorities have released a computer-generated image of a young girl found dead last week inside a plastic bag along a Boston Harbor shoreline and are hoping it generates clues about her identity.
Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said at a news conference Thursday on Deer Island that the girl's identity and how she died remain mysteries.
Officials believe the brown-haired, brown-eyed girl was about 4 years old. Her body was found June 25 inside a bag that also contained a black and white zebra-print blanket.
Conley says he hopes someone recognizes the image that was created by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and alerts authorities.
Authorities on Thursday also released photos of the blanket and white leggings with black polka dots the girl was wearing.
SEPT 11-LOTTERY WINNER
Ex-NYC firefighter who responded on 9/11 wins $5M in lottery
NEW YORK (AP) — A retired New York City firefighter who responded to the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 has won $5 million on a lottery scratch-off ticket.
Carmelo Mercado was presented with an oversized check Thursday. He bought the winning ticket in May at a Queens store.
Mercado was among the members of Queens Battalion 49 who went to the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 2001.
The 63-year-old now lives in Orange County. He gets $3.3 million in a lump-sum payment after taxes are taken out.
He says he was "in shock" when he scratched off the Cash X100 ticket and saw he had won.
He says he plans to buy a summer house in Florida and presents for his family with his winnings
LA district attorney declines to file charges against Diddy
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles County district attorney's office has declined to file felony charges against Sean "Diddy" Combs for a confrontation last month at the University of California, Los Angeles, where his son plays football.
District attorney spokesman Ricardo Santiago said Thursday his office has decided instead to turn the case over to the Los Angeles city attorney's office.
The DA's office investigates and prosecutes serious felony cases, while the city attorney's office could consider lesser misdemeanor charges.
The 45-year-old Combs was arrested June 20 at UCLA's athletic facilities for an alleged assault in which police say he wielded a piece of weight-room equipment.
The hip-hop mogul says he was defending himself and his son.
Combs was arrested for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon, battery and making terrorist threats.