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February 7, 2016

First Line News Articles for Sunday, February 7 2016

Top Stories

Education Dept. cuts off student aid to 26 for-profit colleges

The U.S. Department of Education cut off access to federal financial aid at 26 for-profit education programs in three states after allegedly uncovering violations that included requesting federal aid for students based on invalid high-school diplomas.

Top House Republican demands Kerry explain $1.7 billion Iran payment

The chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee demanded Wednesday that Secretary of State John Kerry explain a $1.7 billion settlement paid to Iran that some Republicans have described as a “ransom” tied to last month’s release of five American prisoners.

Democratic candidates exhibit a new ferocity in last debate before N.H. vote

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, meeting Thursday night for their last debate before the New Hampshire primary, squared off fiercely on the question of whether the party should strive toward its liberal aspirations or set its sights on the achievable.

US demands Russia stop bombing Syria’s opposition after peace talks suspended in Geneva

US Secretary of State John Kerry has demanded Russia stop bombing the Syrian opposition, implicitly blaming Moscow for the collapse in peace talks.

U.S., 11 nations formally sign largest regional trade deal in history

Trade ministers from the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations formally signed the largest regional trade deal in history on Thursday in New Zealand, but the fate of one of President Obama’s signature economic projects remained fraught on Capitol Hill.

LDS News

Mormon Taylor Swift look-alike draws national attention, talks self-worth, divine identity

Keitra Jane Calaway’s resemblance to the singer-songwriter is undeniable, but battles with eating disorders and low self-esteem have forced her discover her own worth and identity.

‘Rich and fascinating’: New online database will help people connect with missionary ancestors

Elder Steven E. Snow announced the launch of a new online database at RootsTech on Thursday that will enable people to connect with their missionary ancestors.

Young Church-service missionaries invite others to come to Christ

Sister Sariah Yiqun Baker, 23, who just completed a year of service at Welfare Square, discusses the blessings of participating in the Young Church-Service Missionary Program.

Sistas in Zion: Celebrating Black History Month with One Woman’s Pioneer Heritage

Jane Elizabeth Manning James was an American pioneer and early member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Jane, a free black woman, was born in Wilton, Connecticut. After hearing Mormon missionaries preach, she embraced the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and excitedly shared the Good News with her family.

LDS leader Uchtdorf remembers life as refugee, urges compassion in migrant crisis

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has approved another $5 million in aid to fund refugee assistance in Europe — specifically food, clothing, shelter and other supplies.

National

Arrests made in Crystal City, San Antonio corruption case

The mayor and almost every other top official in a tiny South Texas city are under federal indictment for allegedly taking kickbacks from contractors and someone trying to set up illegal gaming rooms.

He roams alone: El Jefe may be the last wild jaguar in the U.S.

They call him El Jefe and he roams alone. Pictures have appeared for years, just glimpses of the rare beast prowling the Santa Rita Mountains outside of Tucson. Then, on Wednesday, video surfaced and there he was for all to see in muscular motion — what some scientists say is the only wild jaguar known to be living the United States.

Obama at National Prayer Breakfast: ‘Faith is the great cure for fear’

President Barack Obama addressed the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, speaking about the need to overcome fear through faith, just one day after making a historic visit to a Baltimore mosque where he delivered a message of religious inclusivity.

Ben Carson Fires Staff Amid Budget Cuts

With funds drying up, Ben Carson is firing staff members and cutting back on expenses.

Michigan officials knew of Flint water’s possible Legionnaires’ link months ago

High-ranking officials in Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration were aware of a surge in Legionnaires’ disease potentially linked to Flint’s water long before the governor reported the increase to the public last month, internal emails show.

Joe Biden Becomes First VP to Launch Facebook Page

Vice President Joe Biden is launching a new Facebook page today, coinciding with World Cancer Day and the 12th anniversary of Facebook, ABC News has learned.

UCF hack: 63,000 Social Security numbers stolen from students, staff

In an unprecedented data breach at UCF, about 63,000 Social Security numbers and names of former and current students and UCF employees were hacked, officials revealed Thursday.

Ex-drug executive Shkreli invokes Fifth Amendment before Congress

Former Turing Pharmaceuticals Chief Executive Officer Martin Shkreli invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and declined to answer questions on Thursday from U.S. lawmakers interested in why the company raised the price of a lifesaving medicine by 5,000 percent.

Drones banned from flying within 32 miles of Super Bowl

Drones have been banned from flying within 32 miles of American Football’s Super Bowl, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has said.

4 holdout occupiers at Oregon wildlife refuge are indicted

The four remaining occupiers at an Oregon wildlife refuge are facing charges, according to court documents released Thursday that say more than a dozen armed activists threatened violence against federal authorities and used social media to urge others to join them.

World

Turkey, Russia in war of words over Syria as military pounds Aleppo

Turkish and Russian government officials engaged in a war of words Thursday with Moscow claiming that it has “serious grounds” to suspect Turkey is preparing for a military invasion of Syria.

Passengers, crew evacuated from Madrid-Riyadh flight after bomb hoax

Spanish authorities evacuated all passengers and crew from a flight bound for Riyadh at Madrid’s Barajas international airport on Thursday after a bomb threat, which the airline later said was a hoax.

Iraq building wall, trench around Baghdad to protect the city

Iraq said Wednesday it has begun building a wall and a trench around Baghdad in a bid to prevent militant attacks and reduce the large number of checkpoints inside the city.

Top al Qaeda commander killed in Yemen drone strikes: residents

A suspected U.S. drone strike overnight killed a top Islamist militant commander in southern Yemen who had run al Qaeda’s combat operations and had a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head, residents said.

U.S. adds nearly $1 billion to Syrian aid as conference weighs long-term needs

Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Thursday said the United States would send more than $900 million in humanitarian and development aid to Syria and its neighbors burdened with a refu¬gee crush that could take years to ease.

German Police Launch Mass Jihadi Manhunt in Race to Stop ISIS-Linked Attack

German police arrested two Algerian nationals on Thursday over suspected links to the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), as authorities carried out raids on properties and refugee shelters to hunt down two others.

Business

ConocoPhillips the Latest to Slash Dividend and Spending

ConocoPhillips (COP) slashed its dividend and took another axe to its spending plans for 2016, becoming the latest company to brace for more pain in the oil industry.

Rising U.S. layoffs hint at ebbing labor market momentum

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, suggesting some loss of momentum in the labor market amid a sharp economic slowdown and stock market selloff.

Walmart taking over development of its gas stations

Walmart wants to officially take over its gas pumps. After a 20-year partnership with fellow Arkansas-based company Murphy USA, gas stations outside Walmart stores will be operated by and branded Walmart going forward.

Economy

Mortgage rates fall for fifth week in a row

Bad news for investors has been good news for home buyers and owners as mortgage rates dropped for the fifth week in a row.

Wall Street Cuts Its Rate Forecasts Even Further Below Fed’s

Economists are deviating even more from the Federal Reserve in forecasting how high interest rates will rise, joining bond and futures traders in doubting the central bank’s projected policy-tightening path.