News Wrap: Lower August job creation keeps unemployment flat

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FILE PHOTO --  A man rubs his eyes as he waits in a line of jobseekers, to attend the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. career fair held by the New York State department of Labor in New York April 12, 2012.    REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo - RTX2NWJ6

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HARI SREENIVASAN: It’s been a rough day across Northern Florida, thanks to Hurricane Hermine. And now much of the Atlantic Seaboard is under threat.

William Brangham begins our coverage.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Hermine barreled ashore in Florida’s Big Bend region on the Gulf Coast around 1:30 this morning. It battered beaches with winds of 80 miles an hour and flooded towns with storm surge and heavy downpours.

WOMAN: We get out of bed, the water is ankle-deep, and go and open the door. Floodwaters come rushing in. Now the water inside the house is knee-deep.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Adding to the mess, the storm tore up trees and snapped power lines, affecting thousands of people. Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for more than 50 counties.

WOMAN: And evacuate immediately.

GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), Florida: The number one thing is to stay safe. Do not drive in standing water. Stay away from downed power lines. Just because it’s clear outside doesn’t mean it’s safe.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: From the Gulf Coast, the storm moved inland and weakened as it pushed across Southern Georgia and the Carolinas. It’s expected to regain some of its power if the storm moves out over warmer water in the Atlantic. That had North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and others waiting and hoping.

GOV. PAT MCCRORY (R), North Carolina: We’re going to see who gets hit the hardest, and hopefully no one will get hard hit at all. Again, our goal is to be overprepared and underwhelmed when it comes to this storm.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The Mid-Atlantic states may face the worst of Hermine. It’s projected to stall offshore this weekend, with the potential for historic levels of beach erosion and coastal flooding.

Already, Labor Day weekend events up and down the coast were being canceled or delayed.

But, today, at least, officials in Georgia said the effects were less damaging than feared, and surfers even took advantage of big waves near Savannah.

Back in Florida, there were other concerns. The state has already reported dozens of cases of Zika virus, and the storm’s passage will now leave countless pools of standing water, ideal breeding grounds for the mosquitoes that transmit Zika.

HARI SREENIVASAN: William will be back with what’s behind the recent absence of hurricanes hitting the U.S. mainland after the news summary.

In the day’s other news:  Job creation in August came in lighter than expected.  The Labor Department reports a net gain of 151,000 positions, far below the gains of recent months.  The unemployment rate for August stayed at 4.9 percent for the third month in a row.  The weaker numbers could influence the Federal Reserve to wait until year’s end before raising interest rates again.

The man who ruled Uzbekistan with an iron hand, Islam Karimov, has died of a stroke.  His government confirmed it today.  Karimov took power in the Central Asian nation in 1989, and was widely condemned for brutally repressing all dissent.  Even so, after 9/11, the U.S. used an Uzbek air base for airstrikes on Afghanistan.  The deal collapsed when Karimov’s troops machine-gunned 700 protesters in 2005.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said today he doesn’t know who hacked Democratic Party organizations in the U.S.  The cyber-attack led to the release of thousands of e-mails and documents, and U.S. intelligence agencies have pointed to Russian hackers.

But in a new interview with Bloomberg News, Putin says the culprits could be from anywhere.

PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russia (through translator):  There are so many hackers nowadays, and they act so meticulously and so precisely.  They camouflage their activity to pretend that they were some other hackers from other territories or others countries.  At a state level, Russia is definitely not involved in this.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  Putin also said Moscow has no intention of trying to interfere in the U.S. election.

A gunman who killed a security agent at Los Angeles International Airport will avoid the death penalty.  Instead, Paul Ciancia gets life in prison, under a plea deal on murder and other charges.  In 2013, he shot a federal screening officer a dozen times, and wounded three others.

A former Stanford University swimmer walked out of jail today in a sexual assault case that caused a national outcry.  Brock Turner served half of a six-month sentence for attacking an unconscious woman after heavy drinking at a party.  The victim complained the sentence was far too lenient.  That sparked widespread criticism of the judge and the system, and, this week, state lawmakers approved mandatory prison terms for what Turner did.

Samsung is recalling its brand-new Galaxy Note 7 smartphones because the batteries can explode or catch fire.  Today’s announcement came just two weeks after the product’s launch.  Samsung says there have been 35 cases of Note 7s burning or exploding out of 2.5 million sold worldwide.

And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 72 points to close near 18492.  The Nasdaq rose 22 points, and the S&P 500 added nine.  For the week, all three indexes gained about half-a-percent.

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