Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: December 6, 2013

The world mourns Nelson Mandela, an American teacher is slain in Benghazi, and more

1. Nelson Mandela diesNelson Mandela, South Africa's beloved former leader and anti-apartheid icon, died Thursday after a long illness. He was 95. "Our nation has lost its greatest son," President Jacob Zuma said. Mandela spent 27 years as a political prisoner. Then, in 1994, the former leader of the once-banned African National Congress was elected the country's first black president in a historic vote that peacefully ended white minority rule. [New York Times]………………………………………………………………………………

2. Obama says Mandela "belongs to the ages"Leaders around the world mourned Nelson Mandela, calling him one of the most influential champions of racial unity the world has ever known. "A giant among men has passed away," said Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. "A great light has gone out in the world," said British Prime Minister David Cameron. President Obama called Mandela an inspiration. "He no longer belongs to us," he said. "He belongs to the ages." [New York Times, USA Today]………………………………………………………………………………

3. American teacher slain in BenghaziAn American chemistry teacher, Ronnie Smith, was shot dead while out jogging in Benghazi, Libya, on Thursday, according to colleagues at the English-language school where he taught. The killing took place near the U.S. government compounds where Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed by Islamist militants in September 2012. The killing of Smith, 33, followed several weeks of rising violence among rival militant groups. [Los Angeles Times]………………………………………………………………………………

4. Aides say Obama once lived with nearly deported uncleThe White House said Thursday that President Obama lived briefly with his Kenyan-born uncle, Onyango Obama, correcting previous statements that the two had never met. Aides, who had merely researched the matter in Obama's books, asked the president directly for the first time after the uncle, facing deportation, said he had briefly housed his nephew when he was in law school. An immigration judge ruled Tuesday that Onyango Obama could stay. [Reuters]………………………………………………………………………………

5. Russian diplomats are accused of Medicaid fraudFederal prosecutors announced Thursday that they had charged dozens of current and former Russian diplomats and their spouses with participating in a nine-year, $1.5 million Medicaid "scam." The 49 defendants allegedly filed fraudulent Medicaid expenses for prenatal care and childbirth. The overwhelming majority of 63 births to Russian diplomats in New York City during that period were paid for with Medicaid benefits, prosecutors said. [CNN]………………………………………………………………………………

6. Jobs report expected to show strong hiring in NovemberEconomists expect the latest employment report, due at 8:30 a.m. Friday, to show that employers added 180,000 to nonfarm payrolls in November, down from 204,000 in October. That pace, though still considered strong, would probably not be enough to let the Federal Reserve taper off its stimulus program. The unemployment rate is projected to have edged down to 7.2 percent, due in part to the return of federal workers sent home in the shutdown. (UPDATE, 8:45 a.m.: Employers hired more workers than expected — 203,000 — pushing the unemployment rate to a five-year low of 7.0 percent, and fueling speculation that the Fed could start reducing its bond purchases after all, as early as this month.) [Reuters, Yahoo]

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7. U.N. approves Central African Republic peacekeepersFrance deployed troops and helicopters to patrol Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, overnight after the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved sending in African and French peacekeepers. Their job is to restore stability as armed Christian supporters of the country's exiled president attack Muslim neighborhoods. "Urgent action is needed to save lives," said Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. [Associated Press, CNN]………………………………………………………………………………

8. Economy grows faster than expected in the third quarterThe Commerce Department said Thursday that the U.S. economy grew at a 3.6 percent annual rate in the third quarter, its best showing in a year and a half. The figure was better than the 3.1 percent economists expected. The economy expanded at 2.5 percent rate in the second quarter, but business picked up as companies expanded their inventories, something analysts warned was unlikely to be repeated in the last three months of the year. [USA Today]………………………………………………………………………………

9. Rescuers move whales to safety in FloridaWildlife officials in boats herded 20 short-finned pilot whales out of shallow water off Everglades National Park in Florida on Thursday. Ten of the whales, a deep-water species that can't survive in the shallows, have died since they were spotted in water three-feet deep on Tuesday. Now one pod is 11 miles offshore, but rescuers say they will have to continue monitoring them to make sure they don't swim back into danger. [Associated Press]………………………………………………………………………………

10. FSU quarterback Jameis Winston won't be chargedProsecutors announced Thursday that Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, a leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy, would not be charged with an alleged December 2012 sexual assault of a fellow student. State Attorney Willie Meggs said there wasn't enough evidence. Winston's attorney said the sex was consensual, but the woman's lawyer suggested Winston got special treatment because he was a star player for the NCAA's number-one-ranked team. [Washington Post]………………………………………………………………………………

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