Stacker distills the week's news from around the world into key facts and figures. This week's takeaways include protests in Iraq and Hong Kong, the latest snapshot of the U.S. economy, and more. Click through to read about some of this past week’s biggest headlines.
The U.S. economy added 136,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate was at 3.5%—a 50-year low, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Friday. Industries that experienced the biggest gains include health care (+41,400 jobs) and professional and business services (+34,000 positions). Retail, which lost 11,400 jobs, and manufacturing, which lost 2,000, were among the industries that experienced the most significant losses in September.
The Commerce Department reported on Friday that the U.S. trade deficit rose to $54.9 billion in August, up from $54 billion in July. The widening gap was caused by a record number of imports, despite an increase in the number of exports in August. This was the first time in three months the deficit widened.
Violent protests erupted in Hong Kong on Friday in response to Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s imposition of a mask ban at all public gatherings. Lam said the ban, a colonial-era Emergency Ordinance, would be an “effective deterrent to radical behavior.” Masks have been a defining feature of the Hong Kong protests over the past several months. Some protestors wear full gas masks to protect against tear gas used by police, while others use masks to protect their identities. The ban is scheduled to take effect Saturday, but protesters have said they will continue to challenge it.
Violent protests erupted in Iraq this week, centered in the capital city of Baghdad, over years of corruption, unemployment, and other infrastructural demands. The protesters' clashes with security forces have left 53 dead and dozens injured. Security measures like around-the-clock curfews and internet shutdowns have been imposed by authorities to stifle the rallies. Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said in an address on Friday that the protesters’ demands were heard, while also defending the security forces’ efforts to curb the protests. “The security measures we are taking, including temporary curfew, are difficult choices. But like bitter medicine, they are inevitable,” Abdul-Mahdi said.
In addition to pushing Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden and his family—an act for which he is now facing an impeachment inquiry—President Trump requested that China do the same during a White House session with reporters on Thursday. Both President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence say Americans have a right to know about Joe Biden’s and son Hunter Biden’s wrongdoings. No specific evidence of wrongdoing has yet been provided.
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