Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: February 8, 2014

Russia kicks off the Sochi Olympics, America gets hammered by another weak jobs report, and more

1. Woody Allen denies abusing Dylan FarrowIn a letter to The New York Times, the celebrated filmmaker aggressively denies allegations that he abused his daughter when she was 7. "Of course, I did not molest Dylan," he writes. "I loved her and hope one day she will grasp how she has been cheated out of having a loving father and exploited by a mother more interested in her own festering anger than her daughter's well-being. Being taught to hate your father and made to believe he molested you has already taken a psychological toll on this lovely young woman." [New York Times]

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2. Sochi Olympics begin in RussiaIn a colorful opening ceremony celebrating Russian history and culture, the Winter Olympics officially kicked off in Sochi on Friday. However, contention continues to hang over the Games. For instance, four gay rights activists were arrested in St. Petersburg for flying rainbow flag. [AP]

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3. Economy added just 113,000 jobs last monthThe economy added just 113,000 jobs in January, a big miss below the surveyed Wall Street estimate of 180,000 new jobs. That's little better than the disappointing 75,000 (revised up from 74,000) jobs that were added in December. The unemployment rate fell to 6.6 percent from December's 6.7 percent rate, while the labor force participation rate rose to 63 percent from 62.8 percent. [The Week]

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4. Friends and family hold funeral for Philip Seymour HoffmanMemorial services were held in Manhattan Friday for the late Oscar winner, who died Sunday of a heroin overdose. Among the attendees were Hoffman's longtime partner Mimi O'Donnell and their children, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Spike Lee, Joaquin Phoenix, and others. [USA Today]

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5. Biden says he sees no good reason not to run for president In an interview with CNN, the VP said, "There may be reasons I don't run, but there's no obvious reason for me why I think I should not run." He went on to explain that he would make a serious decision this summer. Some commentators have expressed puzzlement over Biden's comments. [CNN]

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6. Drunk hijacker demands plane head to SochiA reportedly drunk Ukranian man said there was a bomb aboard a plane to Turkey, and demanded the pilots land in Sochi. Instead, the pilots safely landed the aircraft in Istanbul, evacuated passengers, and detained the suspect. [New York]

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7. Syria begins evacuating civilians from HomsAfter a year and a half government siege, Syria began evacuating people from the city of Homs. The region has been devastated by the country's civil war. The evacuation is meant to be the first step in peace talks aimed at ending the conflict. [Reuters]

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8. Congress to ask for an additional $4.5 billion in defense fundingAs part of the fiscal 2015 budget request, Congress will ask for an additional $4.5 billion to spend on extra missile defense over the next five years, despite the pressure in Washington to reduce military spending. The money would, in part, pay for new radar in Alaska, suggesting lawmakers are concerned about North Korean and Iranian missiles. [Reuters]

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9. Olympians banned from posting video or audio to social mediaThe International Olympic Committee has banned athletes from uploading video or audio recordings taken at Olympic venues or the Olympic Village to social media platforms. They can, however, post photos and text. [GeekWire]

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10. Google slaps at Russia's anti-gay lawsIn honor of the Sochi Olympics opening ceremonies, Google ran a doodle featuring six athletes across a rainbow banner. Beneath the image ran a quote from the Olympic Charter: "The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity, and fair play." [Huffington Post]

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