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By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. job growth accelerated sharply in February despite the icy weather that gripped much of the nation, easing fears of an abrupt economic slowdown and keeping the Federal Reserve on track to continue reducing its monetary stimulus. Employers added 175,000 jobs to their payrolls last month after creating 129,000 new positions in January, the Labor Department said on Friday. The unemployment rate, however, rose to 6.7 percent from a five-year low of 6.6 percent, as Americans flooded into the labor market to search for work. "It reinforces the case for the economy being stronger than it's looked for the last couple of months," said Bill Cheney, chief economist at John Hancock Financial Services in Boston.
By Colleen Jenkins FORT BRAGG, North Carolina (Reuters) - Opening arguments in the military court martial of a U.S. Army general accused of forcibly sodomizing a female captain with whom he had a secret sexual relationship provided sharply conflicting accounts on Friday of the end of the affair. Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair stands accused of forcing the junior officer under his command to perform oral sex, grabbing her genitalia against her will and having intercourse with her in public places. The rare trial of a high-ranking U.S. military official is unfolding on a base in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, amid a growing debate among U.S. lawmakers over how best to curb sexual assault in the military. "This case is one of abuse of position, abuse of command, abuse of power, abuse of rank," said lead Army prosecutor Lt. Colonel Robert Stelle on Friday.
By Eric Beech WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. judge has thrown out a fine by the Federal Aviation Administration against the operator of a small commercial drone, a decision that could open up the nation's skies to more unmanned-aircraft flights. The case involved a $10,000 fine levied by the FAA against Raphael Pirker for operating a drone while filming a commercial in 2011 for the University of Virginia, a violation of the agency's ban on the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles. Administrative law judge Patrick Geraghty dismissed the fine on Thursday and ruled that the agency's prohibition was not enforceable because it was based on a policy statement outside of the formal rule-making process. "Policy statements are not binding on the general public," Geraghty, a judge with the National Transportation Safety Board, wrote in his decision.
Philanthropist and former media tycoon Ted Turner was rushed to hospital with appendicitis early on Friday in Argentina's Patagonia region, where he owns property, local media said. After a brief stay in the San Carlos clinic in the lakeside city of Bariloche, the 75-year-old founder of cable TV network CNN was flown to Buenos Aires for surgery, according to several Argentine newspapers. Turner spokesman Phillip Evans issued a statement saying his boss was admitted to a hospital for observation while traveling in South America. Media said he took a private jet to Buenos Aires.
BOSTON (AP) ? A federal judge has approved a second taxpayer-funded lawyer to help with convicted Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger's appeal.
CHICAGO (AP) ? Illinois is buying more renewable energy than any other state in the nation, which has reduced pollution by the equivalent of removing a million cars from the road over the past few years, according to a report released Friday by national and state environmental groups.
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) ? A Los Angeles police officer has been killed and another was critically injured when their cruiser was struck by a big rig at a Beverly Hills intersection.
AKRON, Ohio (AP) ? Police in Ohio say a man walked into a middle school and lured a 12-year-old girl into an empty office, where he fondled her.
Kansas is violating the state constitution in its funding of public schools, a duty that is mandatory and not to be left to the whims of state legislators, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled on Friday. But while the court upheld part of a lower court finding in favor of a group of public school districts claiming the state should provide more money for education, the court also reversed part of that lower court ruling, and remanded some issues back for further analysis by a district court panel. The lower court ruling, issued in January 2013, found Kansas was short-changing its students, and rejected as illogical a state argument that it could not afford increases for school funding at the same time that the state was cutting taxes. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and Republican lawmakers have argued that school funding levels should not be determined by courts but by legislators.