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10 things you need to know today: January 5, 2013
An earthquake strikes Alaska, Congress finally passes a bill for Sandy aid, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
Congress voted to $9.7 billion to cover insurance claims for homes like this one that were damaged or destroyed by Sandy.
Congress voted to $9.7 billion to cover insurance claims for homes like this one that were damaged or destroyed by Sandy. John Moore/Getty Images

1. JOBS REPORT: STEADY GROWTH DESPITE FISCAL CLIFF
The Labor Department reported on Friday morning that the economy added a solid 155,000 jobs in December, and that the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.8 percent — tied for its lowest level in four years. The report is the latest evidence that the labor market — after years of periodic setbacks — is now on a steady, if slow, climb out of the deep hole caused by the Great Recession. In addition, the economy created 161,000 jobs in November, up from an initial projection of 146,000. [Washington Post]
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2. CONGRESS FINALLY PASSES SCALED-BACK SANDY BILL
The House on Friday voted 354-67 to pass legislation that would provide the National Flood Insurance Program with $9.7 billion to pay out flood claims stemming from Hurricane Sandy. The Senate passed the bill hours later, ending, for now at least, a drama that saw House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) publicly put through a wood-chipper by members of his own party for tabling a $60 billion version of the legislation passed by the Senate. Boehner's decision to spike the larger bill came shortly after the House passed the fiscal-cliff deal that raised taxes on the wealthiest Americans — a bitter pill to swallow for many in his caucus. But the controversy won't end with this latest bill passage — the House still has to consider an additional $50 billion in requested aid that was included in the original Senate bill. [The New York Times]
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3. POWERFUL QUAKE RATTLES ALASKA
A 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck Alaska around midnight Friday, centered roughly 60 miles west of Craig, Alaska. The temblor initially triggered a tsunami warning for much of the Alaskan and Canadian coast, but when it was judged that waves posed no threat, the alert was canceled. The earthquake was reportedly widely felt in Alaska, but there haven't been reports of major damage. [CBS]
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4. BARNEY FRANK EYES JOHN KERRY'S SENATE SEAT
Despite his very recent retirement, former Democratic congressman from Massachusetts Barney Frank said Friday on MSNBC's Morning Joe that he's eager to throw his hat back into the ring, and is interested in the interim appointment to fill John Kerry's Senate seat. Frank rationalized his change of heart by saying that he wants to be present for the next few months, when Congress will likely butt heads again over spending cuts that are to be implemented on March 1. "A month ago, a few weeks ago in fact I said I wasn't interested," Frank said. "But that deal now means that February, March, and April are going to be among the most important months in American financial economy." [ABC News]
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5. ANONYMOUS-LEAKED VIDEO CALLS ATTENTION TO MOCKING OF RAPE VICTIM
The case of an alleged gang-rape of a teenage girl in Steubenville, Ohio, is getting national attention after self-proclaimed "hacktivist" group Anonymous released a video on Jan. 2 purportedly showing an apparently drunk Steubenville football player mercilessly mocking the victim. According to reports, on the night of Aug. 11, the 16-year-old victim passed out after getting drunk at an end-of-summer party. Two Steubenville High athletes, identified in court as Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond, are accused of sexually assaulting her repeatedly over the span of several hours. They are scheduled to appear before a judge in juvenile court on Feb. 13. Last month, The New York Times reported that the unconscious girl may have been dragged to multiple parties over the course of the night, and may have been urinated on. [The Week]
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6. FDA PROPOSES SWEEPING FOOD-SAFETY RULES
The Food and Drug Administration on Friday proposed sweeping food safety rules that it says would help reduce the estimated 3,000 deaths a year from foodborne illnesses. The FDA's proposed rules would require farmers to take new precautions against contamination, including making sure workers' hands are washed, irrigation water is clean, and that animals stay out of fields. Food manufacturers will have to submit food-safety plans to the government to show they are keeping their operations clean. In the past year, outbreaks of listeria in cheese and salmonella in peanut butter, mangoes, and cantaloupe have been linked to more than 400 illnesses and as many as seven deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. [Associated Press]
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7. PELOSI DEFENDS DOCTORED PHOTO OF CONGRESSWOMEN
After her office posted a Photoshopped image to Flickr of the new class of Democratic Congresswomen in the 113th Congress, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi defended the edit as "an accurate historical record of who the Democratic women of Congress are." The photo got attention after someone noticed that there were four additional women in the Pelosi Flickr photo than there were in the original Associated Press picture. "It also is an accurate record that it was freezing cold and our members had been waiting a long time for everyone to arrive and... had to get back into the building to greet constituents, family members, to get ready to go to the floor. It wasn't like they had the rest of the day to stand there," Pelosi said. [Associated Press]
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8. DRUNK AMERICAN EAGLE PILOT ARRESTED BEFORE TAKEOFF
An American Eagle pilot in Minnesota set to fly a commercial plane across the country was arrested before takeoff after he failed a blood-alcohol test. A spokesman said the authorities were notified after a witness who claimed to smell alcohol on the pilot's breath tipped them off. The pilot, who was to fly American Eagle flight 4590 from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to LaGuardia Airport in New York City, was suspended pending investigation. [CNN]
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9. NAOMI CAMPBELL ATTACKED BY MUGGERS IN PARIS
The New York Post reports that supermodel Naomi Campbell was attacked in Paris by muggers on motorbikes in late November, and was injured in the process. Campbell, 42, was apparently trying to get into a car in Paris' historic 4th Arrondissement when the assailants tried to grab her purse, but instead left her with a suspected torn ligament. She had been using a wheelchair and crutches to get around following the attack. [New York Post]
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10. WHITE HOUSE PETITION CALLS FOR JOE BIDEN REALITY SHOW
If Vice President Joe Biden doesn't run for president in 2016, as some believe he might, he could have a future in reality television. In a new White House petition at the government's We the People site, some 24,000 people have signed on to demand that Biden be featured in "a recurring C-SPAN television program" because he has exhibited "the ability to bring people together, whether at the negotiating table or at the neighborhood diner." The petition comes after Biden's humorous antics at the Senate swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 3 became an internet sensation. [The Hill]

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