The unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent in February, according to the latest government jobs data. That’s the lowest it’s been in almost two years. Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the white house council of Economic advisors, says its proof the administration’s stimulus is working. Still, the number of unemployed Americans stands at 13.7 million, almost double the number before the recession.
Oil prices hit a two-year high today: 103 dollars and 27 cents per barrel.
Unrest in Libya is partly to blame: Crude oil production decreased by at least 500,000 barrels a day there. That’s less than one percent of global oil consumption, but markets are still jittery.
Prosecutors filed 49 federal charges today against Jared Loughner, the prime suspect in the Tucson shooting spree two months ago. He is accused of murdering two government officials and attempting to murder representative Gabrielle Giffords. Federal prosecutors haven’t yet said if they’ ll seek the death penalty.
Violence continues in Libya: Forces loyal to Moammar Gadafi fired tear gas and live ammunition on protesters in the Capitol of Tripoli Today. They killed at least 18 protesters in the city of Zawiya, which remains in rebel hands.
The committee to protect journalists celebrated its 30th anniversary today with a panel on the role of social media in war at Columbia university in New York. Karla Zabludosky reports
The Committee to Protect Journalists is dedicated to preventing events like the recent sexual assault of CBS Correspondent Lara Logan while covering the fallout of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak. Her former colleague Dan Rather said she wanted to attend but was still recovering.
TAPE: War is whatever is below hell, is war. Its not only savage and brutal as it is real mud, real blood, real screams of the wounded and moans of the dying. Nobody who has actually walked the ground of a battlefield and covered war, has considered himself or herself a hero.
Rather says war journalists do not consider themselves heroes. Karla Zabludovsky, Columbia Radio News .
The impasse in Wisconsin continues. – Republican Governor Scott Walker and 14 absent Democratic state senators in a two-week standoff over a budget bill that would strip most public union workers of collective bargaining rights.
Linda Abi Assi has the latest.
Governor Scott Walker says he’s planning to issue 1,500 layoff notices to state employees if at least one Democrat doesn’t show up to give the GOP majority the quorum it needs to vote on the budget.
Fourteen democratic senators fled to Illinois to deny majority republicans the quorum necessary to vote on the bill. On Thursday, the State Senate ordered their arrest, but it’s unclear if the detention would be constitutional.
Critics say Walker a campaign ploy for the twenty twelve elections. Lawmakers in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana are proposing similar legislation to curb collective bargaining.
Linda Abi Assi, Columbia Radio News.
168 New York City fire fighters responded to a blaze in a two story building early this morning. The fire tore through three buildings in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, injuring five responders.
A former New York state senator and his son faced federal fraud charges today at a pre-trial hearing. Pedro Espada jr. and his son are accused of embezzling more than 500,000 dollars from their federally-funded Bronx health clinic. They pleaded not guilty.