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230,000 new jobs? ... 4 more bodies recovered from TransAsia plane ... Rebels, eastern Ukraine reach agreement



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WASHINGTON (AP) — Steady economic growth and consumer spending likely led U.S. employers to hire at a healthy pace in January and extend last year's solid job gains. Economists surveyed by FactSet believe the economy gained 230,000 jobs last month, which would keep the unemployment rate at a six-year low of 5.6 percent. The predicted job gain would mark the 12th straight month above 200,000, the longest such stretch since 1994.

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Divers have pulled four more bodies from a shallow river where a TransAsia Airways propjet crashed shortly after takeoff from Taiwan's capital on Wednesday. That raises the confirmed death toll to 35. There are eight people still missing and 15 people survived the crash with injuries. Taiwan's Vice President went to a Taipei funeral parlor to pay respect to the victims, including the pilots, who are believed have deliberately steered the plane away from buildings in the final moments after reporting engine trouble.

VALHALLA, N.Y. (AP) — Investigators say preliminary findings show that an SUV was inside railroad crossing gates for about a half-minute before it was hit by a suburban New York City commuter train. Data recorders also show the train's engineer hit the emergency brakes and sounded the horn as the train bore down on the crossing in Valhalla, New York. And flashing warning lights at the crossing lit up 39 seconds before the crash, and the gates came down a few seconds later. A funeral for the SUV driver will be held today. Five rail passengers also were killed.

DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine say they've reached agreement with government forces on a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians from the epicenter of fighting in eastern Ukraine. The move comes as German Chancellor Angela Merkel (AHN'-geh-lah MEHR'-kuhl) and French President Francois Hollande (frahn-SWAH' oh-LAWND') are set to leave for Moscow to talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin after discussing their peace plan Thursday with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Roman Catholic archbishop of San Francisco is telling employees at four Catholic high schools to conduct their lives in a way that doesn't visibly contradict the Catholic Church's teachings on gay sex, birth control and other hot-button issues. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone plans to include the directive in next year's faculty handbook. Some teachers, parents and students are criticizing the language. The teachers union has concerns, and a gay rights group says it goes against Pope Francis' message of inclusion.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Associated Press

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