The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows continued signs of growth.
December 6, 2019, 2:00 PM
3 min read
The U.S. economy added a solid 266,000 jobs in November, exceeding economists’ exceptions by nearly 80,000 jobs, according to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Friday.
Average hourly earnings rose by 7 cents to $28.29 and unemployment remained at a 50-year low of 3.5%.
Employers added the most jobs in the health care (an increase of 45,000 jobs) and professional and technical services industries (which saw an increase of 31,000 jobs).
November also saw a rise in manufacturing jobs though this was likely due to unionized autoworkers returning to work after the strike at General Motors. The previous month saw a decline of 43,000 jobs in manufacturing, also likely due to the strike.
The average work week remained unchanged in November at 34.4 hours a week. In manufacturing, however, the average work week increased slightly, by 0.1 hours, to 40.5 hours a week, as overtime decreased by 0.1 hours.
An average of 180,000 jobs have been added per month so far in 2019 compared to an average gain of 223,000 in 2018. Friday’s report also revised September’s and October’s figures to indicate 41,000 more jobs were added than previously reported.
The driver of the UPS truck was among those killed.
December 6, 2019, 3:46 AM
3 min read
Two suspects and two civilians died in Florida on Thursday after an attempted robbery led to the theft of a UPS truck and a shootout with police.
The incident began at a jewelry store in Coral Gables, police said.
At least one store employee was injured. That person’s status is unknown.
The two suspects, police said, then carjacked a UPS truck, holding the driver hostage during police pursuit.
The driver was among those killed, along with an innocent bystander at the scene of the shootout.
The attempted theft began around 4:15 p.m. local time, FBI Special Agent in Charge George Piro told reporters later Thursday night.
As the suspects fled Regent Jewelers, shots were fired, and the two men carjacked the UPS truck before leading authorities on a high-speed pursuit, Piro said.
The two suspects died in a firefight with police. It’s unclear how the truck driver and bystander were killed — whether it was gunfire from the suspects or if they were caught in the crossfire with police.
UPS released a statement, saying, “We are deeply saddened to learn a UPS service provider was a victim of this senseless act of violence. We extend our condolences to the family and friends of our employee and the other innocent victims involved in this incident. We appreciate law enforcement’s service and will cooperate with the authorities as they continue the investigation.”
The FBI is leading the investigation.
ABC News’ Michael Kreisel, Lisa Sivertsen and Darren Reynolds contributed to this report.
ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos shares the key stories he’s following today.
December 6, 2019, 11:58 AM
4 min read
It’s Friday Dec. 6, 2019. Here are the biggest stories I’m following this morning. I’ll be breaking it all down with our team starting at 7 a.m. EST, on “Good Morning America.”
Will President Trump participate in impeachment hearings?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that she has instructed House Democrats to draw up articles of impeachment of President Donald Trump, saying he had abused his power. While Democrats are still divided over the nature and scope of possible charges against Trump, House Judiciary Committee Democrats suggested they could pursue articles on abuse of power and bribery, obstruction of justice and obstruction of Congress.
On Monday, attorneys with the House Judiciary Committee and House Intelligence Committee will present evidence for impeachment before Judiciary Committee members, suggesting that elements of the Ukraine and Mueller investigations will be taken into account in the drafting of articles of impeachment.
My take: There’s no turning back now for the House after that dramatic announcement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday saying that the president has left them no choice but to go forward on impeachment. It sure looks like they’re on track for a vote by Christmas.
But today is a big day. There’s this 5 p.m. deadline for President Trump to decide whether he’s going to participate in this next round of hearings at the Judiciary Committee. That could affect both the schedule and the tenor of those hearings.
The other big question in play right now is how broad is the House going to go on these articles of impeachment? Are they going to reach in, or reach back, to the Mueller report and the evidence he laid out of obstruction of justice? That certainly is in play for Monday’s hearing.
One other thing to keep your eye on. An important court hearing in Washington could determine whether more State Department documents about Ukraine come out before Christmas. We’re going to keep an eye on that too.
2020 candidate Joe Biden calls voter a ‘damn liar’
Joe Biden confronted a man at a town hall in New Hampton, Iowa, calling him “a damn liar” after he pressed the former vice president on his son’s business ties to Ukraine.
“You’re a damn liar, man. That’s not true. No one has ever said that,” a heated Biden responded. “No one has said my son has done anything wrong, and I did not on any occasion, and nobody has ever said it.”
Biden also challenged the man — who also said Biden was too old to be president — to do push-ups and take an IQ test with him to prove his physical and mental fitness to be president.
My take: My question for all of you is how did it play to you? Did it look like he was out of control, or was this a case of him standing up for himself that will actually help him with voters?
Tune into “Good Morning America” from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. EST, for full reporting on today’s biggest stories.
Storm alerts have been issued from Oregon to California.
December 6, 2019, 12:07 PM
4 min read
A brand new storm will be moving into Northern California and Southern Oregon later today with heavy rain all the way down to the San Francisco Bay area and heavy snow in the mountains.
Storm alerts have been issued from Oregon to California this morning.
Heavy rain will move into the northern San Francisco Bay area Friday evening to finish off the rush hour. Flash flooding is possible and there is a threat of mudslides.
Friday night through Saturday night, heavy rain will begin to spread through most of the West Coast from Seattle to San Diego — but these areas will not see a flooding threat like Northern California.
In the mountains, very heavy snow is expected, especially in the Sierra Nevada range where 4 feet of snow is expected.
By Sunday, the storm system will cross the Rockies bringing a chance of heavy snow from Colorado to Montana, where more than a foot is possible.
By Sunday night and into Monday, this storm system will redevelop in the Plains and join another system coming from Canada to produce several inches of snow in the Upper Midwest and the Great Lakes, just in time for the Monday morning commute.
Further south, rain — heavy at times — is expected from Chicago to Atlanta and eventually into Washington, D.C. and New York City by Monday late morning into the afternoon.
Behind this cross-country storm system, the coldest air of the season will invade the northern Plains and the Midwest with wind chills well below zero and actual temperatures falling below zero as well.
However that is answered, Trump’s dominance of the political conversation extends clearly into subject matter as well as tone. That’s been a net positive for him earlier in his still-young political career.
Democrats are demanding answers to why and how exactly a boy died of the flu while in U.S. government custody last spring.
New heart-breaking and shocking video, obtained by ProPublica, appears to show the child suffering for hours on the floor of a detention center, before he died and was found by his roommate, a fellow minor at the center.
Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Karen Bass, said the death of 16-year-old, Guatemala native Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez amounted to “state-sponsored child abuse” and “negligent homicide.”
The video seems a direct counter to what the public was first told — that the boy had been checked on and was found unresponsive by authorities. Now there are urgent questions about whether initial accounts from law enforcement were intentionally misleading and whether evidence from the center could even have been manipulated to try and cover up negligence in the case.
Democrats from the House Homeland Security Committee tweeted Thursday, “The inconsistencies between Border Patrol’s official account and this video regarding the death of a migrant child is disturbing. We need answers from Border Patrol on why their account doesn’t match up with this video.”
Vasquez was one of seven minors since early 2018 who were known to die after being in U.S. custody. The big questions now: Will the administration also seek answers? Will anyone be held accountable? And will conditions change?
Biden is hoping for a boost in Iowa from a familiar face who has a comeback story of his own in the Hawkeye State: former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. He overcame lagging early poll numbers to win the 2004 caucuses.
Kerry endorsed Biden on Thursday, calling him “the candidate with the wisdom and standing to fix what Trump has broken.” On Friday, he will join the former vice president on his “No Malarkey” bus tour through Iowa.
The similarities between Biden and Kerry’s candidacies, including a much-needed Iowa comeback, were not lost on the former vice president when he was asked about the endorsement and the 2004 campaign.
“I hope it plays out the same way in Iowa,” Biden told ABC News in New Hampton, Iowa.
ONE MORE THING
As impeachment drama marches forward in Washington, D.C., focusing on a call between President Donald Trump and the president of Ukraine, Rudy Giuliani traveled to Kyiv. The president’s personal attorney is meeting with current and former Ukrainian officials who have served as key sources for his questionable theories about Ukrainian corruption and election meddling as part of a documentary series by far-right network One America News Network that is intended to discredit the impeachment process.
ABC News’ “Start Here” Podcast. Friday morning’s episode features ABC News Senior Editorial Producer John Santucci, who explains why Rudy Giuliani’s recent whereabouts may be of interest to House impeachment investigators. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS WEEKEND
– President Donald Trump participates in a small business roundtable at 2 p.m. and then a Christmas reception at 3:15 p.m.
-Campaigning in New Hampshire through the weekend: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.
-Campaigning in Iowa through the weekend: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Tom Steyer.
-Speaking at the Iowa Farmers Union “Candidate Conversations” forum on Friday, starting at 3 p.m. (CST): Klobuchar, Steyer, former Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., Booker, Sanders and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
-Speaking at the Local America Presidential Forum starting at 4:30 p.m. (CST) in Waterloo, Iowa, with mayors from across the U.S.: Klobuchar, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Booker, Steyer and Buttigieg.
-Speaking at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Presidential Candidate Forum in Iowa on Saturday starting at 2 p.m. (CST): Former Vice President Joe Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Sanders and Steyer.
-Buttigieg campaigns in New Hampshire Friday morning. He then travels to Iowa, where he will campaign for the rest of the weekend.
-Biden campaigns in Iowa on Friday and Saturday and then in New Hampshire on Sunday.
-Former Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., campaigns in New Hampshire on Friday.
-Andrew Yang hosts a fundraiser in Dallas on Friday evening.
-Delaney and Castro campaign in Iowa on Friday.
-Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., campaigns in New Hampshire Friday and Saturday. She travels to South Carolina on Sunday.
–Sunday on “This Week”: The Powerhouse Roundtable discusses all the week’s politics, with former New Jersey Governor and ABC News Contributor Chris Christie, former Chicago Mayor and ABC News Contributor Rahm Emanuel, Democracy for America CEO and ABC News Contributor Yvette Simpson, and Republican Strategist and CNN Political Commentator Alice Stewart.
Download the ABC News app and select “The Note” as an item of interest to receive the day’s sharpest political analysis.
The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day’s top stories in politics. Please check back Monday for the latest.
The San Francisco-based ride-hailing company voluntarily released the information, among other data, in its first-ever safety report on Thursday.
In 2017, Uber recorded 2,936 reports of sexual assault during a total of 1 billion trips throughout the United States. There were 3,045 reported sexual assaults the following year during 1.3 billion total trips.
Overall, riders accounted for 45% of the accused parties. The report noted that some assaults occurred between riders.
Among the sexual assault incidents, the company counted 464 reports of rape in 2017 and 2018. About 92% of the victims were riders and roughly 7% were drivers. Women and female-identifying individuals comprised 89% of the victims, while men and male-identifying individuals made up about 8%.
Uber said it saw a decrease of approximately 16% in the average incident rate of sexual assaults reported from 2017 to 2018. However, as its report noted, sexual assaults are often not reported, so the actual numbers could be much higher.
“I suspect many people will be surprised at how rare these incidents are; others will understandably think they’re still too common,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said of the new report via Twitter. “Some people will appreciate how much we’ve done on safety; others will say we have more work to do. They will all be right.”
During 2017 and 2018, 19 people died in physical assaults that occurred in Uber-related incidents. There were also 107 motor vehicle fatalities from Uber-related crashes in the same time frame.
“Most companies don’t talk about these hard issues, and they don’t share data about serious safety incidents. We believe it’s time for a new approach,” Uber said in a statement announcing the report. “Keeping this information in the dark doesn’t make anyone safer.”
The 84-page report comes as Uber faces scrutiny regarding safety concerns. Last week, London’s transit authority refused to renew the company’s license to operate in the British capital, citing “a pattern of failures by the company” that “placed passengers and their safety at risk.” Uber said it plans to appeal the decision.
Over the past year, Uber has partnered with sexual assault prevention networks and other safety groups. Uber has also added new safety features, including more rigorous background checks, an in-app emergency button, and technology that allows the company to check in with customers if it detects a potential crash or an unexpected long stop during a trip.
As President Donald Trump faces an impeachment inquiry in Washington, D.C., Rudy Giuliani is in Europe meeting with current and former Ukrainian officials for a documentary series.
The president’s personal attorney is working with One America News Network (OAN) to discredit what the far-right network calls “the impeachment hoax” and offer proof of Ukrainian corruption and 2016 election meddling, according to an OAN spokesperson.
Despite heightened scrutiny in the impeachment inquiry and a campaign finance case involving two of his associates in the Southern District of New York, Giuliani is “not letting up on his investigation,” ABC News Senior Editorial Producer John Santucci tells “Start Here.”
“We know that from hearings over the last couple days that his associates have information that they believe is important to the impeachment inquiry,” he says. “We also know that Giuliani’s business, Giuliani Associates, received a subpoena recently asking for documents and records related to Rudy’s work abroad. And ironically, where’s Rudy right now? Abroad.”
In a highly-anticipated safety report, Uber has revealed that nearly 6,000 sexual assaults involving drivers and passengers were reported to the ride-share company in 2017 and 2018.
ABC News’ Taylor Dunn breaks down Uber’s findings on the podcast and talks about next steps for the company.
Uber noted that “riders account for nearly half (45%) of the accused parties across the 5 most serious sexual assault categories” in the study, but added that “any safety issue is exceptionally rare” and “by bringing hard data to bear, we can make every trip safer for drivers and riders alike.”
3. Border custody death
There’s growing backlash over the death of Carlos Vasquez, a 16-year-old migrant, in a Border Patrol cell after video surfaced showing his final hours in May as he suffered from the flu.
Current and former Border Patrol officials told ABC News Chief National Correspondent Matt Gutman that the agency was overwhelmed with migrants at the time and they conducted welfare checks, but the video obtained by ProPublica appears to indicate otherwise.
“Had he been taken to the hospital, he would have survived,” Gutman says. “Instead, he was taken to this cell. It is basically like a drunk tank, for all intents and purposes, with a concrete bed, and that’s where he spent his final minutes.”
‘The Motion for Withdrawal is hereby granted’: Without warning or explanation, the attorney prosecuting the death-penalty case of the woman accused of killing former Arkansas state Sen. Linda Collins-Smith dropped out of the proceedings altogether this week.
‘Highly insensitive and completely inappropriate’: Several West Virginia corrections employees have been suspended in response to an image of them performing a Nazi salute.
Adoption hearings are often bureaucratic affairs involving testimony and paperwork. But a young boy from East Grand Rapids, Michigan, was so excited about his adoption day that he invited his entire kindergarten class to his adoption hearing.
Michael Clark Jr.’s classmates filled up courtroom and gave sweet testimonies about how much they love their friend. And the whole class cheered as Michael’s new parents became his forever parents.
Hong Kong’s much-maligned police force has provided a rare behind-the-scenes look at its bomb disposal squad
JOHN LEICESTER Associated Press
December 6, 2019, 8:04 AM
3 min read
Hong Kong’s much-maligned police force provided a rare behind-the-scenes look Friday at its bomb disposal squad to show the potentially deadly destructive force of homemade explosives seized during months of protests that have shaken the Chinese territory.
In a demonstration for media cameras, the bomb squad set off a series of controlled explosions in a disused quarry overlooking the city’s high-rise skyline, blowing up a watermelon and shredding the front of a minivan.
In July, police announced the seizure of about 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of TATP, which has been used in terrorist attacks worldwide. Other recent seizures in Hong Kong involved far smaller amounts, just 1 gram, of TATP, or tri-acetone tri-peroxide.
“Obviously, I’m concerned that they are making TATP or are in possession of TATP,” said Alick McWhirter, the squad’s senior bomb disposal officer.
Just 1 gram of the unstable explosive, equivalent to the weight of a candy, could cause life-changing injuries, he said.
A demonstration blast of 1 gram of high explosive at the quarry above the bomb squad’s fenced-off headquarters caused a loud bang. A blast involving 50 grams, which would fit into a cigarette packet, sent shrapnel flying from the shattered front of the minivan.
The squad used explosives with a destructive force equivalent to TATP but not TATP itself, because the substance is so dangerous to handle, susceptible to bumps, heat and friction.
“Because I like having 10 fingers, I am not going to use TATP,” McWhirter said.
In October, police said a homemade, remote-controlled bomb intended to “kill or to harm” riot control officers was detonated as they deployed against protests. Causing a loud thud but no injuries, the small blast marked the first known use of an explosive device during the protests that started in June over a contested extradition bill and snowballed into an anti-government, anti-police and anti-China movement.
The bomb squad has also disposed of thousands of gasoline bombs prepared by protesters on university campuses.
McWhirter said that “99% of the protesters in Hong Kong, from what I’ve seen, are peaceful.”
But he added: “There’s clearly, though, a small hard core who are dedicated towards violence.”
“The ones creating these explosives are a tiny percentage of a tiny percentage,” he said. “Petrol bombs, TATP, are not the normal in Hong Kong.”
Distrust goes both ways. Protesters accuse police of systematic abuses. The widespread use of police tear gas and thousands of often muscular arrests have infuriated many in Hong Kong. A call for an independent investigation of police conduct features among protesters’ key demands.
Later on Friday, protesters planned to rally against the use of police tear gas and to demand information about any health risks from the noxious choking clouds of gas liberally deployed to disperse demonstrators.
McWhirter, a career officer in Hong Kong for 30 years, expressed dismay that relations have soured so dramatically between the police force, long regarded as Asia’s finest, and citizens it claims to serve and protect.
“I watched the officers day after day, night after night, month after month, going out and holding the line,” he said. “They are being attacked with knives, with explosives and petrol bombs, and they hold the line and use remarkable self-control in the face of incredible violence.”
Frustrated travelers are meeting transportation chaos around France for a second day
ANGELA CHARLTON Associated Press
December 6, 2019, 9:26 AM
2 min read
Frustrated travelers are meeting transportation chaos around France for a second day on Friday, as unions dig in for what they hope is a protracted strike against government plans to redesign the national retirement system.
Most French trains were at a halt, including Paris subways, and traffic jams multiplied around the country.
Emboldened by the biggest outpouring of public anger since President Emmanuel Macron took office, unions are holding meetings Friday to plan their next steps.
At least 800,000 people marched nationwide on Thursday, as strikes shuttered schools and some public services and disrupted hospitals and refineries. Police fired repeated volleys of tear gas and protesters set fires in Paris, but most demonstrators were peaceful.
Macron is determined to push through the changes to France’s convoluted and relatively generous retirement system, seeing them as central to his plans to transform the French economy.
Opponents fear the changes to how and when workers can retire will threaten the hard-fought French way of life and worry that the plan will push them to work longer, for less retirement pay.
Macron’s government has been negotiating with unions and others for months about the plan but won’t release the details of the changes until next week.
The teenager accused of fatally shooting 10 people at a Texas high school has been moved to a state mental health hospital after a judge ruled last month that he is mentally unfit to stand trial
December 6, 2019, 12:01 AM
1 min read
The teenager accused of fatally shooting 10 people at a Texas high school was moved to state mental health hospital Thursday after a judge ruled last month that he was mentally incompetent to stand trial.
Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 19, has been transferred from the county jail in Galveston to the North Texas State Hospital in Vernon, according to Katy-Marie Lyles, one of his attorneys.
Lyles said she’s happy he was admitted to the hospital so quickly as there is a waiting list for such facilities. Pagourtzis will be at the hospital for up to four months, she said.
A medical team working with Pagourtzis’ legal team will consult with the hospital to monitor his progress during treatment, Lyles said.
Pagourtzis is charged with capital murder for the May 2018 attack at Santa Fe High School, located about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Houston. His trial, which had been set for Feb. 18, is now on hold.