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WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers downshifted their hiring in December, adding 145,000 jobs as consumer spending appeared to aid gains in the retail and hospitality sectors. The Labor Department says the unemployment rate held at 3.5% for the second straight month, prolonging a half-century low. Hiring slipped after robust gains of 256,000 in November caused in part by the end of a strike at General Motors. The pace of annual average wage growth slowed in December to 2.9% from November’s 3.1%.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Germany’s Lufthansa airline says it and subsidiaries are canceling flights to and from Tehran for the next 10 days as a precautionary measure. Its new statement Friday says the decision is due to the "unclear security situation for the airspace around Tehran airport” after this week's crash of a Ukrainian jet that killed all 176 people on board. Some Western leaders say the plane appears to have been unintentionally hit by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. Iran denies that. Other airlines have been making changes to avoid Iranian airspace.

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has told the U.S. secretary of state to send a delegation to Iraq tasked with formulating the mechanism for the withdrawal of U.S troops from Iraq. A statement from the prime minister's office on Friday says the request came in a telephone call between Abdul-Mahdi and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday night. It says Pompeo called the Iraqi premier. The prime minister said Iraq rejects all violations against its sovereignty, including the attacks carried out by Iranian forces against U.S. troops in Iraq and also American violations of Iraq's airspace in an airstrike that killed a top Iranian general last week.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, was briefly put on lockdown after a report of an armed suspect outside the base. Base spokesman Lt. Brandon Hanner says officials Friday morning are assisting local law enforcement in searching for the suspect. All MacDill gates to the base have been reopened except for the one closest to the location where the suspect was seen. News outlets report traffic was at a standstill on numerous roads around the base, which is near downtown Tampa. MacDill is the headquarters for U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea says it conveyed a message by President Donald Trump to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wishing him a happy birthday, which is believed to be Jan. 8. South Korea’s presidential national security director Chung Eui-yong said on return from Washington where he met Trump this week that Seoul sent the message to Pyongyang on Thursday through “proper means.” Chung didn’t disclose what the message specifically said. Kim has expressed deep frustrations over stalled nuclear negotiations with the Trump administration and vowed to bolster his nuclear arsenal as a deterrent against “gangster-like” U.S. sanctions and pressure. North Korea has never officially confirmed Kim’s birth date.

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