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Consistent hiring suggests 2014 could be year US economy returns to health

WASHINGTON — The job market is showing signs of the consistent gains the nation has awaited in the 4½ years since the Great Recession.

Employers added 203,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate fell to 7 percent, a five-year low, the Labor Department reported Friday. Four straight months of robust hiring have raised hopes that 2014 will be the year the economy returns to normal.

The steady job growth could also hasten a move by the Federal Reserve to reduce its stimulus efforts.

Stock investors were heartened by the report. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 198 points.

Thousands flee to Central African Republic airport protected by French

BANGUI, Central African Republic — Thousands of Christian civilians sought refuge at an airport guarded by French soldiers Friday, fleeing from the mostly Muslim ex-rebels with machetes and guns who rule the country a day after the worst violence to hit the chaotic capital in nine months.

When several French helicopters landed at the airport, people sang with joy as they banged on plastic buckets and waved rags into the air in celebration.

Outside the barbed wire fences of the airport, bodies lay decomposing along the roads in a capital too dangerous for many to collect the corpses. Thursday’s clashes left at least 280 dead, according to national radio, and have raised fears that waves of retaliatory attacks could soon follow.

Intelligence adviser resigns amid discovery he was paid since 2010 by Chinese company

WASHINGTON — A longtime adviser to the U.S. Director of National Intelligence has resigned after the government learned he has worked since 2010 as a paid consultant for Huawei Technologies Ltd., the Chinese technology company the U.S. has condemned as an espionage threat, The Associated Press has learned.

Theodore H. Moran, a respected expert on China’s international investment and professor at Georgetown University, had served since 2007 as adviser to the intelligence director’s advisory panel on foreign investment in the United States. Moran also was an adviser to the National Intelligence Council, a group of 18 senior analysts and policy experts who provide U.S. spy agencies with judgments on important international issues.

The case highlights the ongoing fractious relationship between the U.S. government and Huawei, China’s leading developer of telephone and Internet infrastructure, which has been condemned in the U.S. as a potential national security threat.

N. Korea says it has deported detained elderly US tourist

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said Saturday it has deported an elderly U.S. tourist who was detained for more than a month, apparently ending the saga of Merrill Newman’s return to the North six decades after he advised South Korean guerrillas still loathed by Pyongyang.

North Korea made the decision because the 85-year-old Newman had apologized for his alleged crimes during the Korean War and because of his age and medical condition, according to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who is traveling in Seoul, welcomed the release and said Newman was in Beijing. Aside from an awkwardly worded alleged confession last month, Newman has yet to speak publicly since being taken off a plane Oct. 26 by North Korean authorities while preparing to leave the country after a 10-day tour.

By wire sources