Justice Department ramps up efforts to reduce violent crime with gun intel center

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is ramping up its efforts to reduce violent crime in the U.S., launching a specialized gun intelligence center in Chicago and expanding task forces to curb carjackings. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco tells The Associated Press there’s “absolutely much more to do” to make communities safer, even as many places have experienced a downward trend in crime after a coronavirus pandemic-era spike. President Joe Biden’s administration has put an emphasis on fighting violent crime. The Democratic president has featured the issue in his reelection campaign to reach young voters concerned about gun violence. Republicans have seized on violence in some American cities to try to paint Democrats as weak on crime.

Light pole installation hits fiber line, knocks out 911 service in several states

(AP) — Workers installing a light pole in Missouri cut into a fiber line, knocking out 911 service for emergency agencies in Nebraska, Nevada and South Dakota. The mistake was reported Thursday by the company that operates the fiber line. The line was damaged Wednesday in Kansas City, Missouri. While it didn’t impact Kansas City, the damage resulted in the loss of 911 service in three states. Problems with 911 calls in a Texas city along the U.S. border with Mexico were unrelated, but the widespread outage created concerns about what was causing the problems. On Wednesday night, the outages created confusion for people trying to reach several communications agencies.

The number of Americans applying for jobless benefits holds steady

(AP) — The number of Americans filing for jobless benefits didn’t change last week as the labor market continues to defy efforts by the Federal Reserve to cool it off. The Labor Department reported Thursday that unemployment claims for the week ending April 13 were unchanged from the previous week’s 212,000. Weekly unemployment claims are considered a proxy for the number of U.S. layoffs in a given week and a sign of where the job market is headed. In total, 1.81 million Americans were collecting jobless benefits during the week that ended April 6, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week.

Sluggish start for spring homebuying season as home sales fall in March

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The spring homebuying season is off to a sluggish start as home shoppers contend with elevated mortgage rates and rising prices. Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes fell 4.3% in March from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.19 million, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday. That’s the first monthly decline in sales since December and follows a nearly 10% monthly sales jump in February. Existing home sales also fell 3.7% compared with March last year. The latest sales still came in slightly higher than the 4.16 million pace economists were expecting, according to FactSet.


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