Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: March 5, 2016

Julie Kliegman
Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press
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Ben Carson suspends presidential campaign

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson is "leaving the campaign trail," he announced Friday during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference. After an early surge to the top of the GOP primary polls, Carson's campaign suffered from staffing changes and disorganization, and he struggled in the Super Tuesday contests. Earlier Friday, Carson announced he would serve as national chairman of My Faith Votes, a nonpartisan organization that encourages Christian Americans to vote. [ABC News, Politico]


2016 candidates gear up for weekend primaries and caucuses

Underdog candidates are hoping to make gains on presidential frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump this weekend during the first elections since Super Tuesday. On Saturday, both parties will hold presidential contests in Kansas and Louisiana; Republicans also vote in Kentucky and Maine, and Democrats vote in Nebraska. Elections continue on Sunday with a Maine caucus for Democrats and a primary in Puerto Rico for Republicans. [USA Today]


U.S. adds 242,000 jobs in February

The Labor Department reported Friday that U.S. employers added 242,000 jobs in February, blasting past the already solid 195,000 new jobs predicted by economists. The figure marked a strong hiring rebound since January, when 172,000 jobs were added — an upward revision from the 151,000 jobs originally reported. The unemployment rate remained at a low 4.9 percent. The performance came as hiring in construction, retail, and health care offset layoffs by manufacturers and oil companies. [Business Insider, Bloomberg News]


LAPD testing knife reportedly found on O.J. Simpson's property

The LAPD is running forensic tests on a knife reportedly discovered on property once owned by O.J. Simpson that could shed new light on the 1994 murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman. The knife was reportedly discovered by a construction worker, who gave it to an LAPD officer. At a press conference, an LAPD representative confirmed that the knife has been submitted to a lab to be examined "for all forensics." [Los Angeles Times, TMZ]


China releases 5-year economic plan

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang unveiled the country's five-year plan in an address to parliament Saturday. The country will aim to keep economic growth at 6.5 percent, a figure many economists and investors reportedly aren't sure China can sustain. "Domestically, problems and risks that have been building up over the years are becoming more evident," Li said, adding that "there is no difficulty we cannot get beyond." China's economic growth has fallen recently. [The New York Times, Reuters]


Trump backtracks on torture

Donald Trump faced sharp criticism at Thursday's Republican debate when his opponents mocked him for inconsistent policies. Moderator Megyn Kelly played clips of Trump changing positions on various issues. Trump responded by saying, "You have to be flexible because you learn." On Friday, Trump exercised that flexibility by backing out of his frequent boasts to use tactics "a hell of a lot worse" than waterboarding on terrorists. "I will not order a military officer to disobey the law," Trump said. [The Wall Street Journal]


Study: Zika virus may be linked to more 'grave outcomes' in developing babies

The Zika virus, already thought to be linked to the birth defect microcephaly, may be associated with more "grave outcomes" for developing babies, a New England Journal of Medicine study published Friday suggests. The study, led by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Fiocruz Institute in Brazil, tracked 88 women in Brazil getting care for Zika-like symptoms and found that threats may come at any stage of pregnancy. [The Associated Press]


SpaceX launches Falcon 9, crash lands on drone ship

SpaceX, the aerospace company founded by Elon Musk, successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket into space Friday. The landing on a floating drone ship in the ocean failed for the fourth time. This go-around, the company said the odds for a successful landing were low, due to the fuel needed to complete the mission of launching a heavy satellite into high orbit. Musk said the company's next flight has a "good chance" of landing successfully. [The Verge, Elon Musk]


Scott Kelly says a year in space felt like 'forever'

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly said living on the International Space Station for a full year felt like much longer. "I think the only big surprise was how long a year is," Kelly said at a news conference Friday. "It seemed like I lived there forever." Kelly returned to Earth on Tuesday after traveling almost 144 million miles over 340 days. [The New York Times]


Tony Dyson, R2-D2 creator, dies at 68

Tony Dyson, the man who built Star Wars' iconic R2-D2 droid, died at his home in Malta, police said Friday. He was 68. No foul play is suspected. For the original 1977 movie, Dyson made eight of the droid. R2, played by Kenny Baker in the first six films, most recently appeared in 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens. [Entertainment Weekly, The Associated Press]