At least 13 people died and hundreds more were injured in a 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Taiwan on Saturday. Rescuers saved hundreds of people from buildings and were still trying to reach others.
Dozens of people are reportedly unaccounted for. The high-rise residential building that collapsed in the 4 a.m. quake included a care center for newborn babies. One 10-day-old baby was reportedly among the dead. The Associated Press
Following a December boom, job growth cooled in January, with the nation slightly disappointing expectations with the addition of only 151,000 jobs. The unemployment rate however dropped to 4.9 percent, the first time it has started with the numeral “4” since February 2008.
Wage growth held steady. The jobs report stands as a positive point during a tumultuous time for the U.S. economy and global markets; U.S. economic growth was just 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter. Business Insider, CNN Money
As forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad pressed home an offensive in the country’s northern Aleppo countryside, tens of thousands of desperate civilians headed to the border with Turkey, swelling the thousands already camped there.
“People are dying on the border and nobody cares about them,” said Mohammad Ali, a student from the town of Al-Bab who is studying in southern Turkey and has been trying to get family members across. “In this cold, people are desperate, and the Turkish authorities are not allowing anyone to enter illegally. There are snipers everywhere.”
The surge of civilians heading to the border started when heavy fighting erupted to the northwest and north of the city of Aleppo, Turkish officials and activists said. The numbers have increased dramatically as Russian airstrikes pound villages, backing one of the biggest regime offensives in the area in the past three years. VOA
The 31-point lead that Hillary Clinton held over Bernie Sanders just a month and half ago has since vanished to a near tie. A new national poll by Quinnipiac University out Friday finds that Clinton now leads Sanders by only 2 points, 44 percent to 42 percent — within the poll’s 4.5 percentage-point margin of error. In mid-December, Clinton led Sanders nationwide 61 percent to 30 percent. The Quinnipiac poll also found that Sanders fares better in hypothetical matchups with Republican presidential candidates. Quinnipiac
Jeb Bush sat with his mother on the “CBS This Morning” show, attacking the flamboyant Trump as misogynistic for his slurs against a debate moderator and occasional four-letter language at campaign appearances.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has campaigned for months in the state and told voters they should be wary of Trump and two other candidates who trail the New York developer in the New Hampshire surveys, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, because they had not visited the state as often.
The Republican candidates are set to debate Saturday night for the eighth time in the lengthy campaign, while Clinton and Sanders staged a spirited debate Thursday, their first one-on-one encounter since former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley dropped out of the race after a poor showing in Iowa. VOA
North Korea appears to be moving quickly on its preparations for a long-range rocket launch, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said Friday.
The communist country notified the International Maritime Organization and the International Telecommunication Union of its plan to launch an “Earth observation satellite” between February 8 and February 25, prompting neighboring countries to go on alert. On Saturday, Pyongyang changed the dates to between Sunday, February 7, and the following Sunday, February 14.
“North Koreans clearly know the U.N. sanctions are coming in response to their nuclear test [in January]. They may fire the rocket to protest the U.N. action,” said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korea Studies.
The White House said Obama and Xi reaffirmed during their phone call that they were committed to the “complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” VOA
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