A suicide bomber targets the U.S. embassy in Turkey; the January jobs report reveals that while employers added jobs, unemployment rose; Chuck Hagel comes under fire at his Senate confirmation hearing; and the Obama administration changes its rules on contraception. Meanwhile, the Ravens and 49ers get set for Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup; Lena Dunham makes plans for a new comedy series; and Beyonce silences critics at a Super Bowl press conference.
Caitlin + Liza
Suicide bomber kills guard at U.S. embassy in Turkey, http://reut.rs/YItpAJ
A suicide bomber blew himself up at the U.S. embassy in Turkey Friday morning, killing himself and a Turkish security guard and wounding several others. The U.S. State Department says it is working with Turkish police to investigate what it called “a terrorist blast” orchestrated by a left-wing militant group. The attacker may be a member of The Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) or a similar group. The DHKP-C calls for a socialist state and has aggressively opposed American influence. Turkey, a key American ally in the Middle East, recently saw the arrival of 400 U.S. troops as part of a NATO operation to defend against spillover from Syria’s civil war.
January Jobs Report: U.S. Economy Adds 157,000 Jobs, Unemployment Rate Up to 7.9 Percent, http://huff.to/WY9b0K
The Labor Department released its January jobs report this morning, revealing that while unemployment rose to 7.9 percent, up from 7.8 percent in December, the economy added 157,000 jobs. The department’s annual revisions showed that employers added approximately 180,000 jobs in 2012 and 2011, surpassing estimates of around 150,000. Analysts predict the economy will continue growing at a slow rate of around 1 percent through the January to March quarter, and believe it could expand by 2 percent by the end of the year.
Chuck Hagel on firing line in Senate confirmation hearings, http://politi.co/W7uTQt
At Thursday’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Chuck Hagel fielded tough questions and criticisms from former Senate Republican colleagues. Senators pressed the controversial secretary of defense nominee on issues in Iraq, Iran, and Israel. Hagel’s exchanges were especially tense with Senator John McCain, who became furious when Hagel refused to discuss whether the 2007 troop surge in Iraq had helped stabilize the nation. ”The fact that he wouldn’t answer a straightforward question was disappointing,” McCain said. He claimed Hagel’s unclear response would be “certainly a factor” in the decision of whether to confirm Hagel’s nomination. Despite growing Republican opposition, Hagel still holds the support of most Senate Democrats and is expected to be confirmed as secretary of defense.
Ed Koch Dead: Mayor Who Became a Symbol of NYC Dies at 88, http://huff.to/VzeIyZ
The iconic former three-term mayor of New York City Ed Koch died at 88 this morning of congestive heart failure. During Koch’s 1978-1989 tenure, he helped lead New York out of financial crisis and vastly improved the subway service, although homelessness and AIDS tainted his career. Koch was “not only a great mayor and great source of advice and support to other mayors, he happens to be one of the greatest leaders and politicians in the history of our city,” said Michael Bloomberg, current mayor of New York City. A documentary about the former mayor’s career, “Koch,” opens in theaters nationwide today.
Clinton’s farewell marred by embassy bombing, http://bit.ly/11tnuvb
Hillary Clinton’s last day as Secretary of State will reflect her four year term, as she will not only attend final meetings with President Obama and State Department staff but will also adddress a terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Turkey. As she wraps up her term, the bombing in Turkey serves as reminder of the threats and challenges Clinton faced. “Those things that make us who we are as a nation–our openness and innovation, our diversity, our devotion to human rights and democracy–are beautifully matched to the demands of this era and this interdependent world,” Clinton said in a farewell speech. Successor John Kerry stepped down from the Senate this morning in preparation to replace the outgoing Clinton.
Obama administration changes contraception rules, http://politi.co/VzLz6w
The Health and Human Services Department announced today a new proposed policy for religious institutions that pay for their own health insurance and do not want to be responsible for providing contraceptive coverage. Under the new policy, women will get the same health benefits, but some religious employers will be exempt from paying for contraceptives. Instead, the employees can find a third-party to pay for contraceptives on their own health insurance plan. The proposal is designed to stop protests raised by religious-affiliated institutions that claimed Obama’s administration was forcing them to violate their beliefs. “HHS has done the right thing,” said James Salt, executive director at Catholics United. “This is a victory not only for the Obama administration, but for the Catholic Church.”
Citizenship question roils both parties as immigration debate gets underway, http://wapo.st/XXYwlL
With the immigration debate taking center stage, tension between political parties has deepened even while bipartisan groups in Congress continue to push for compromise. Both President Obama and congressional leaders laid out long term plans for immigration reform this week, but debate over whether to give illegal immigrants a path to full citizenship threatens to stall progress. Democrats and immigration advocates argue that now is the time to push for citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants living in America, while some Republican leaders say that conservatives would oppose full citizenship. Legislation outlining a path to citizenship is “certainly going to be a problem in the House,” said Representative Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which will hold a hearing on immigration issues next week. “There are a lot of options between deporting 11 million people, which most people don’t believe will happen, and giving [them] citizenship.”
Ravens-49ers a great, and very unpredictable, matchup, http://bit.ly/XYekVu
Lena Dunham to Create New Comedy, http://bit.ly/W2D6oU
Celebrity Super Bowl Fans, http://thebea.st/XcFpUk
Beyonce Super Bowl Press Conference: Singer Belts National Anthem Live to Counter Lip-Sync Critics, http://huff.to/12e13z3
Channing Tatum All Set to Learn About Diapering, http://bit.ly/WFCy6U