(Feb. 7) Today's Top Headlines - The top 10 stories of the day - Tucson Local Media: Today's Headlines

(Feb. 7) Today's Top Headlines - The top 10 stories of the day

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Posted: Friday, February 7, 2014 9:13 am

1. Jobless benefits extension stalls in the Senate

The Senate failed Thursday to move ahead with a bill that would have restored jobless benefits for the nation's more than 1.3 million long-term unemployed. Fifty-nine senators voted to advance the bill — one short of the number needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. Republicans weren't satisfied with how Democrats proposed to pay for the $6 billion cost of the three-month extension, a key part of President Obama's stimulus plan. [The New York Times]

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2. The Sochi Olympics start quietly ahead of Friday's opening ceremony

The Sochi Winter Olympics got off to a low key start on Thursday, with the start of some qualifying events a day ahead of Friday's opening ceremony. Despite fears of a terrorist attack and controversy over Russia's new anti-gay-activism law, the first day of competition went smoothly with no big problems. Dmitry Chernyshenko, head of the Games, promised that Sochi would be "the safest place on Earth during the Olympics." [CNN]

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3. Boehner says immigration reform has hit a wall

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday that the effort to reform the nation's immigration laws had stalled in Congress. Just a week ago, Boehner said Republicans would try to get the job done, but he said now it's clear his caucus won't go along because it doesn't trust President Obama to enforce the law. Democrats said Boehner couldn't get immigration hard-liners to go along so he's trying to blame Obama. [The Washington Post]

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4. U.S. diplomat apologizes for undiplomatic remarks about Europe

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, the top U.S. diplomat for Europe, apologized Thursday for insulting remarks she made in a private phone call that was intercepted and leaked online. Nuland, discussing Europe's pace in dealing with Ukraine's looming fiscal crisis, said, "F--- the E.U." U.S. officials said Nuland had apologized to E.U. counterparts, and suggested Russia was behind the leak. [The Washington Post]

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5. Former SAC Capital portfolio manager convicted of insider trading

Mathew Martoma, once a high-powered hedge fund portfolio manager, was found guilty of insider trading on Thursday. Martoma worked for billionaire Steven A. Cohen's SAC Capital Advisors, and prosecutors said he helped the $14 billion hedge fund make piles of money and avoid losses of $275 million in what amounted to one of the most lucrative cases of its kind in U.S. history. [Reuters]

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6. Ethics panel looks into allegations against Republican rising star

The House Ethics Committee said Thursday that it was continuing a preliminary investigation of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), the fourth-ranking Republican in the House. Aides to McMorris Rodgers, who delivered the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address, said she had done nothing wrong. The case began after a former employee said McMorris Rodgers may have improperly financed a 2012 House leadership race. [Los Angeles Times, Politico]

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7. Experts expect an encouraging jobs report

Economists expect the Labor Department's jobs report coming out Friday morning to show that U.S. payrolls grew by 189,000 in January, which would mark a significant improvement from December's preliminary figure of 74,000. Experts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires predicted the unemployment rate would inch down to 6.6 percent, from 6.7 percent, easing fears hiring is sputtering again. The high expectations helped boost global stocks early Friday. (UPDATE: The Labor Department reported the economy added just 113,000 jobs, sparking fears that the labor market is slowing down. As expected, the unemployment rate dropped to 6.6 percent.) [The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times]

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8. Sen. Max Baucus confirmed as ambassador to China

The Senate on Thursday unanimously confirmed one of its own, Sen. Max Baucus, to be the next U.S. ambassador to China. Baucus, a Montana Democrat, chairs the Senate Finance Committee, although he is not a China expert. President Obama nominated Baucus to replace Gary Locke in the high-profile post after the six-term senator announced he was going to leave the Senate after more than 35 years. [CNN]

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9. Stolen Stradivarius violin recovered

Milwaukee police have recovered a rare Stradivarius stolen from a concert violinist in an armed robbery last week. The violin, worth millions, was found in a suitcase in the attic of a home police searched following the arrest of three unidentified suspects. One is a local criminal "who was very much interested in art theft," Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said, "and who was smart enough to identify this as a valuable instrument." [Reuters]

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10. An emotional Jay Leno hosts his last Tonight Show

Jay Leno said goodbye to what he called "the best job in show business" Thursday night, signing off after 22 years as host of The Tonight Show. "I don't like goodbyes; NBC does," Leno said in an emotional opening monologue, poking fun at the network for pushing him out in 2009, replacing him with Conan O'Brien, and bringing him back months later. This time, Jimmy Fallon will be taking over as host, starting Feb. 17. [NBC News]

Compiled by theweek.com

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