Nation & World Briefs 04-07-14 Recovering U.S. outpacing other major economies

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WASHINGTON -- As a brutal winter yields to spring, the U.S. economy is showing renewed strength just as other major economies appear desperate for help.

Europe is clinging to a fragile recovery. Japan just imposed a tax hike that threatens its shaky economic comeback. And China's troubles are rattling the global economy.

The resilience of the U.S. economy, after a growth-chilling winter, was evident in Friday's jobs report from the Labor Department. It said employers added 192,000 jobs in March and 37,000 more than in January and February than previously thought.

With the economy making steady gains, the Federal Reserve has been scaling back its bond purchases, which have been intended to lower interest rates to spur growth.

"The U.S. is certainly doing better than Europe or Japan right now," said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight.

Spirals into violent clash: About 100 people were arrested and at least 44 people were taken to the hospital during a weekend college party in Southern California that devolved into a rock- and bottle-throwing melee, forcing police to fire tear gas and foam projectiles to break up the crowd. The violence broke out near the University of California, Santa Barbara, in the densely populated beachside community of Isla Vista around 9:30 p.m. Saturday during the annual spring break party known as Deltopia, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office said. The unsanctioned event drew about 15,000 people.

NYC police, fire brawl: A large brawl broke out during an annual charity hockey match between New York City police and firefighters on Long Island. Videos posted online show players from both teams clearing the bench and throwing punches while referees are seen trying to break up the fights. Hockey sticks and gloves are seen littered about the ice. Newsday (http://bit.ly/QUJcdW ) reports the fights began during the second period of the match at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale on Sunday as both teams were tied 3-3. The NYPD eventually won 8-5. The fire and police departments both declined to comment.

To make decision this year: Jeb Bush says all the speculation about whether he'll run for president in 2016 is actually getting him more attention than if he had already entered the race. The former Republican governor of Florida said that's not by design, and that he'll make his decision before year's end. He told Fox News Channel in an interview airing Sunday that the state of politics is "crazy right now." Bush said one factor in his decision will be whether he can deliver an optimistic, hopeful message without getting drawn into a political "mud fight."

Afghan elections hailed as triumph: Afghans and the international community hailed its presidential election as a triumph of democracy over violence Sunday, despite complaints about ballot shortages and sporadic fraud after millions of people braved a Taliban threat to vote for a new president. But some cautioned against declaring a premature defeat of the Islamic militants. Securing the vote was a test for Afghan government forces as they prepare to take full responsibility for their own security as the U.S. and allied forces end their combat mission at the end of this year. The consensus was that they largely passed, though there was sporadic violence.

Possible signals heard: Underwater sounds picked up by a search vessel scouring the remote Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet are consistent with the pings from aircraft black boxes, an Australian official said today, dubbing it "a most promising lead" in the month-long hunt for the vanished plane. Angus Houston, the head of a joint agency coordinating the search in the southern Indian Ocean, warned that it could take days to confirm whether the signals picked up by the Australian navy ship Ocean Shield are indeed from the flight recorders on Flight 370, but called the discovery very encouraging.

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