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Mysterious Note Found in Las Vegas Gunman’s Room Had Numbers—No Letters

The note left in the Las Vegas gunman’s room had only numbers—no letters.

Police made the mysterious revelation Friday afternoon; it has left the public with more questions than answers as authorities try to piece together who gunman Stephen Paddock was, and why he targeted concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

Crime scene photos inside Paddock’s room that were leaked to the media show an array of high-powered rifles littering the ground and mounds of bullet casings.

One graphic photo shows the lower portion of a lifeless body, likely Paddock’s, lying on the floor of the room.

In the background is a note on a side table.

For days, the mystery around the letter has heightened, but police would only say that it wasn’t a suicide note.

Clark County Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said the note, written on a yellow sheet of paper, had only numbers. No letters.

He told NBC News authorities are still trying to piece together what the numbers refer to, but it’s possible they may have been range calculations.

Police say Paddock’s room was about 500 yards from his targets—attendees at the Route 91 Harvest festival, a three-day country music concert.

The note is just the latest piece of cryptic information revealed as police have yet to find a motive, a manifesto or any clue that would point to why he snapped.

All of his relatives were bewildered after hearing he was behind the attack, the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history. He was a millionaire. Never violent. Wasn’t religious or political.

Police have asked for patience as they try to piece together what happened.

So for now, we’ll all have to wait.

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U.S. Lost 33,000 Jobs in September; Unemployment Rate Dips to 4.2%

Staggering from the impact of hurricanes that walloped Texas, Florida and neighboring states, the economy lost 33,000 jobs in September, the first monthly decline in employment in seven years, the government reported on Friday.

But economists discounted the discouraging report, describing it as a blip in a job market that was fundamentally strong.

Some of the good news released by the Labor Department — a drop in the jobless rate to 4.2 percent and a year-over-year gain in wage growth of 2.9 percent — may also have been skewed by weather disruptions.

“The numbers were certainly blown around a lot by the storms,” said Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist for Northern Trust. For that reason, he said, the Federal Reserve, which has been scrutinizing the employment report for signs of inflation, will probably look past this report. “As winds calm,” he said, “my guess is employment figures will stabilize.”

That pattern held true for Bruce Gropper, who runs Right at Home, a home-care franchise in Palm Beach, Fla.

“We put our hiring on hold” because of the weather, Mr. Gropper said, adding that many of the 50 to 75 caregivers who work for him and would typically have been in the field were unable or unavailable to work during a two-week period. “Now, things are back to normal.”

It was the same in Texas. “There’s a lot of manufacturing jobs in Beaumont, Corpus Christi, Houston, all of which suffered damage,” noted Ray Perryman, president of the Perryman Group, an economic research and analysis firm based in Waco, Tex. “Some of these plants were shut down for an extended period of time, and that would have gotten into the September survey.”

One upside may be a surge in hiring in subsequent months. Using Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 as a benchmark, Jim O’Sullivan, chief United States economist at High Frequency Economics, said he expected payrolls to bounce back by the end of the year.

“There’s no question there were huge hurricane effects,” he said. Food and drinking establishments alone lost 105,000 jobs last month, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the number of people who said they were not working because of bad weather jumped by 1.5 million.

Mr. O’Sullivan and several economists agreed that the labor market was still pushing ahead — no matter how unevenly — in what is now the ninth year of an economic expansion. “The other data we’ve been seeing this week don’t show any signs of a weaker trend,” Mr. O’Sullivan said. “If you take out Texas and Florida, there’s been no increase in jobless claims over the past five weeks.”

The stock market’s reaction to the news was mildly negative. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index declined slightly from record levels after eight straight days of gains.

President Trump called attention this week to the economy’s successes, writing on Twitter on Thursday, “Stock Market hits an ALL-TIME high! Unemployment lowest in 16 years!” Last week, Mr. Trump said that the Republicans’ proposed tax cuts would provide further “rocket fuel for our economy.”

Many workers have been waiting to see concrete evidence of economic progress in their paychecks. Although the Census Bureau last month reported a jump in annual incomes across a wide spectrum, households with incomes below the median remain worse off than they were in 2000.

The hefty growth in average wages reported on Friday was probably exaggerated, because many low-wage workers were temporarily displaced by the storms, bumping up the overall average.

At least a portion of the 0.5 percent average hourly wage growth last month, though, is likely to stick. There is plenty of evidence that broad swaths of the labor market are tightening. Target said last month that it would increase its base hourly pay by $1, to $11 — higher than or equal to the minimum wage in every state.

Amy Glaser, senior vice president of Adecco Staffing, said that employers she worked with were raising wages and reaching into less-common pools of potential employees like retirees, stay-at-home moms and people with disabilities.

Ms. Glaser said she expected wages to rise further, saying some of her clients were thinking about increasing hourly wages as much as 20 to 40 percent during the peak holiday season and early next year. Employers are also pushing to retain the workers they have — for example, by offering more bonuses for e-commerce and other seasonal workers who stay through the holidays.

Some businesses are trying to generate and educate their work forces by offering more paid internships and apprenticeships. Others are shortening the interview cycle to improve their chances. “There is a need for speed,” Ms. Glaser said. “Whoever gets to a candidate first is well positioned.”

Radial, the second-largest direct-to-consumer e-commerce company behind Amazon, is hiring 27,000 people to work in its 25 warehouses around the country through mid-January. Even as brick-and-mortar retail is suffering significant losses, e-commerce continues to thrive.

“We’re hiring 35 percent, or 7,000, more people than we did last year,” said Stefan Weitz, Radial’s executive vice president for technology services. “It’s very competitive. A lot of logistics companies have operations in similar areas because of the proximity to air and ground transport.”

At the upper end of the labor market, the competition for highly skilled workers is intense. Bryan Leach, founder of Ibotta, a Denver company offering a mobile shopping app, said he had hired more than 100 people this year, including engineers, product managers and data scientists, mostly at six-figure salaries.

“We are hiring national search firms to shop for talent in the coasts,” in addition to seven in-house recruiters, Mr. Leach said. The company has also helped sponsor billboards in San Francisco promoting the benefits of living in Denver and is offering $1,000 apiece to employees who refer friends who are hired.

Despite the scramble for workers, the labor market has stubborn weak spots. Many of the jobs available, like the seasonal positions at Radial, are at the lower end of the pay scale and do not offer long-term stability.

For some workers, such jobs have limited appeal. The labor force participation rate peaked its head above 63 percent in September, but many workers remain on the sidelines.

Revised hiring figures for July and August showed that a total of 38,000 fewer jobs were created in those two months than previously reported, bringing the monthly average gain in 2017 — excluding September — to 170,000. August’s figures will be revised one more time, while September’s will be revised twice over the next two months. State-by-state tallies for September are not yet available.

(Although Hurricane Maria also devastated Puerto Rico in September, the survey of employers that the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses to calculate monthly payroll gains does not include the island.)

The Katrina experience showed that hiring can rebound quickly after a disaster, as damaged communities clean up and rebuild. Employment gains averaged 249,000 in the six months before the storm. After New Orleans found itself underwater, gains averaged 76,000 over the next couple of months before soaring to 341,000 in November 2005.

While the recovery from the latest storms takes shape, businesses and workers are still counting their losses. Brian Petranick, Right at Home’s president and chief executive, said Palm Beach was not the only community where franchises were unable to connect workers and clients. He estimated hurricane-related losses to the company would end up at $13 million to $15 million. “During big storms, we see a loss of hours and services,” he said. “That means caregivers are losing the opportunity to work and make money.”

The Latest: Caixabank to switch HQ out of Catalonia

MADRID — The Latest on Spain’s political crisis amid Catalonia’s push for independence (all times local):

7 p.m.

Caixabank, Spain’s third lender in global assets, says its executive board has agreed to move its base from Barcelona to the eastern city of Valencia, outside the Catalonia region.

In a statement, the bank said the reason for the relocation was to “completely safeguard the legal and regulatory framework substantial for its activity” and to remain in the eurozone and under the supervision for the European Central Bank.

Regional separatist authorities in the northeastern region of Catalonia have pledged to declare independence regardless of Spain’s constitution and the opposition of central authorities in Madrid.

Caixabank’s move was possible after central authorities approved a decree allowing firms’ executives to bypass shareholders’ approval for moving its registered address. Half a dozen listed companies, including Banco Sabadell, have already greenlighted a similar move.


6 p.m.

The speaker of Catalonia’s regional parliament has called a Tuesday evening session where the separatist regional leader will answer questions on the turbulent political situation.

Catalonia’s separatist authorities have vowed to use a pro-independence victory in a disputed referendum to go ahead with secession while calling for Spain’s central government to accept a dialogue.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has rejected any negotiation on secession.

There was no mention of any vote in Friday’s call by speaker Carme Forcadell for the new session. Spain’s Constitutional Court had suspended a Catalan parliament meeting set for Monday.

Opposition lawmakers called on separatist parties to respect the session’s agenda and to refrain from using the meeting for introducing a vote on secession.


5:45 p.m.

The Catalan government says it has submitted to the regional parliament the final results of a disputed referendum on secession from Spain, a necessary step before declaring independence as separatist politicians have promised.

Spain’s central authorities have deemed the referendum illegal and a Constitutional Court suspended it. But a vote went ahead on Oct. 1 anyway, despite a lack of census controls and violence by Spanish police who were trying to halt the vote.

The final numbers confirm earlier results showing 90 percent of votes in favor of independence. The regional government said 2.28 million Catalans voted, 43 percent of eligible voters. The ‘No’ side received some 8 percent of the ballots.

Separatist Catalan president Carles Puigdemont will address the regional government on Tuesday to “report on the current political situation.” It was unclear if he or other separatist lawmakers would use the meeting to introduce a vote on declaring secession.


4:50 p.m.

The CEO of the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi alliance says he is watching Catalonia’s political turmoil “very closely” because it could affect operations at its Nissan plant in Barcelona.

Carlos Ghosn told a news conference in Paris on Friday that Nissan is concerned about what the standoff between independence-minded Catalans and Spain’s central government “means in the long term in terms of circulation of parts, circulation of cars.”

He said in a globalized car sector, “no region of this kind can be economically autonomous. It must continue to deal with its environment.”

The Barcelona plant is one of three Nissan sites in Spain. It employs 3,800 people and produces vans, according to its website.


3:15 p.m.

Spain’s government spokesman says that “coexistence is broken” with Catalonia, blaming separatist authorities in the northeastern region for pushing ahead with their independence bid.

Government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo, who is also minister of cultural affairs, called on the Catalan regional government Friday to drop its secessionist bid in order to begin a dialogue.

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont wants to address the regional parliament next week “to discuss the political situation” in Catalonia despite Spain’s Constitutional Court suspending another session during which separatist lawmakers wanted to discuss and possibly vote for independence.

Mendez de Vigo told reporters during a weekly briefing that “in order to have dialogue, you must stay within the legal framework.”

3:00 p.m.

A top Spanish government official in Catalonia has expressed regret about those injured when police cracked down on people taking part in a banned referendum on the region’s independence Oct. 1.

Interior Ministry delegate in Catalonia, Enric Millo tempered the comments Friday by saying the Catalan government was responsible for the situation by encouraging people to vote despite a Constitutional Court order suspending the referendum.

Millo’s remarks on Catalonia’s TV3 television station were the first by a Spanish official lamenting the injuries. Millo told reporters that on knowing there were people injured, “I can only say sorry.”

Spain defended the police action saying it was firm and proportionate.

Spain’s anti-riot squads fired rubber bullets, smashed into polling stations and beat protesters with batons to disperse voters on the day.


2:45 p.m.

Spain’s government has approved a decree that would make it easier for companies in Catalonia to move the location of their official registration out of the region.

The move will allow the relocation of Caixabank, Spain’s third largest bank by assets, before next week, when separatist authorities in Catalonia want to declare independence. Caixabank’s board is due to meet Friday to discuss the issue.

At least half a dozen companies, including the fifth-largest lender, Banco Sabadell, have already relocated or agreed to do so.

The moves have no immediate effect on jobs or company assets, but are seen as a blow to the Catalan government.

Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said: “This is the result of an irresponsible policy that is causing uneasiness in the business community.”


2:10 p.m.

Spain’s main stock index is down slightly, with Catalan banks leading losses amid uncertainty over the region’s independence bid.

The Ibex 35 index lost 0.9 percent to 10.126 points in Madrid by midday Friday.

The biggest fallers were Banco Sabadell, the country’s fifth-largest bank by assets, and Caixabank, Spain’s third-largest. Sabadell said Thursday it would move its base out of Catalonia, and executives at Caixabank are due to discuss Friday a similar move.

Two Catalan companies, textiles maker Dogi and reprographics company Service Point Solutions, saw their shares surge after they said they had plans to relocate. Cava-maker Freixenet, a household name, is also considering a move while telecommunications provider Eurona and biotech firm Oryzon already completed their relocations.

The moves are largely symbolic, with no immediate effect on jobs or company assets in Catalonia, but are seen as a blow to the Catalan government’s secession hopes.


1:45 p.m.

The head of Catalonia’s National Assembly has called for dialogue and a political solution to the crisis in Spain over a disputed independence referendum

Jordi Sanchez spoke after appearing at Spain’s National Court in Madrid as part of a sedition investigation.

He said that the international community was highlighting the need for dialogue and the Catalan government has shown that it’s open to this without renouncing the results of the Oct. 1 referendum in which Catalan officials say voters overwhelmingly chose independence. Spain says the referendum was illegal, invalid and unconstitutional.

Sanchez said that “I ask strongly that the Spanish government, the national parliament and the head of state (the king) understand that time and the hours are very important to find a debated way out and give way to a political solution.”


1:15 p.m.

Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has requested to address the regional parliament next Tuesday amid growing challenges for his government to deliver on a pledge to declare independence for the northeastern region following a disputed referendum last weekend.

The separatist ruling coalition suffered a setback Thursday when Spain’s Constitutional Court suspended a Monday plenary session of lawmakers for assessing the vote’s results.

Puigdemont has said the vote is valid despite a Constitutional Court ban to hold it and a turnout of some 40 percent of the region’s 5.5 million eligible voters.

Spain’s conservative government, which is under political and social pressure after police acted violently in trying to halt the banned vote on Oct. 1, has rejected any dialogue unless Catalans drop plans for secession.

Tuesday’s address request was for Puigdemont to “report on the current political situation” according to a brief statement by his office.

The speakers’ board of Catalonia’s regional parliament has announced an urgent meeting Friday afternoon in which the address is likely to be discussed.


12:35 p.m.

Two senior Catalan police officers and two leaders of pro-independence civic groups have been unconditionally released after being questioned as part of an investigation for sedition linked to demonstrations in Barcelona in the run-up to last weekend’s referendum on independence.

The four will have to reappear in court in Madrid in coming days after a prosecutor presents new evidence.

The four are Catalan police chief Josep Lluis Trapero, Catalan police Lt. Teresa Laplana, who was questioned by video link from Barcelona due to health reasons, and Jordi Sanchez, the head of the Catalan National Assembly that has been the main civic group behind the independence movement, and Jordi Cuixart, president of separatist group Omnium Cultural.


11:45 a.m.

Catalonia’s police chief Josep Lluis Trapero has left Spain’s National Court in Madrid after being questioned for about an hour as part of an investigation for sedition linked to Sept. 20-21 demonstrations in Barcelona in the run-up to last weekend’s referendum on independence.

Trapero, who is one of four people being questioned in the case, left on foot to some applause by Basque and Catalan party representatives and some insults from bystanders.

The other three under investigation for sedition are Catalan police Lt. Teresa Laplana, who was to testify by video link from Barcelona, Jordi Sanchez, the head of the Catalan National Assembly that has been the main civic group behind the independence movement, and Jordi Cuixart, president of separatist group Omnium Cultural.

North Korea planning test of missile capable of reaching US: report

North Korea is planning to conduct a test launch of a missile that could potentially reach the U.S. mainland, Bloomberg reports.

Two Russian lawmakers who recently returned from North Korea told Bloomberg that North Korean officials are planning to launch a missile that could hit the West Coast of the United States.

“They told us that they’re preparing to test more powerful long-range missile that, in their view, would be able to hit the West Coast of the U.S.,” Anton Morozov, who is a member of Russia’s lower house of parliament, told the publication.

However, Morozov said North Korean officials were not clear as to when the weapon would be tested.

“They’re not preparing for nuclear war,” another Russian member said, ominously adding “They’ve been ready for it for a long time.”

The potential North Korean threat to the U.S. could complicate things for Russia, because the missile would likely fly over Russian territory, posing a risk if the U.S. military were to intercept the missile.

The international community is on alert after Pyongyang conducted a series of intercontinental ballistic missile tests this year.

The report comes as rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang has reached a boiling point in recent weeks, with President Trump threatening to “totally destroy” North Korea on the floor of the United Nations.

North Korea’s foreign minister threatened to test hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean as a response to the president and said Trump’s tweets about his country amounted to a declaration of war.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called for both nations to “lower the rhetoric” on Wednesday, according to Bloomberg, adding that Trump’s comments are leading toward a “very dangerous dead end.”

Georgia teacher allegedly assigns students task of creating Nazi mascot

A middle school teacher in Georgia is under fire after she allegedly assigned students the task of creating a mascot for the Nazi party.

The homework assignment requested students in a social studies class at Shiloh Middle School, in Gwinnett County, to “think about all of the information that you have learned about Hitler and the Nazi party” and to create a mascot for it, according to Fox 5 Atlanta.

“The year is 1935 and you have been tasked with creating a mascot to represent the Nazi party at its political rallies,” the assignment read. “Think about all of the information that you have learned about Hitler and the Nazi party. You will create a COLORFUL illustration of the mascot. Give the mascot a NAME. You will also write an explanation as to why the mascot was chosen to represent the Nazi party.”

Objections to the assignment were raised by parent Jamie Brown, who thought it was inappropriate and questioned its purpose.

“When you talk about mascots, mascots are used to be happy, to promote something, a positive representation like UGA [sic] so really we doing a Nazi party mascot? What are we celebrating?” Brown told Fox 5.

The mother added she doesn’t feel an assignment about Nazis is appropriate in the U.S.

“I just don’t think, right now, at this time and place in America this is the time for that,” Brown said. “We need to start looking at the things that bring us together and stop looking at things that separate us as a human race.”

Brown added: “I can only imagine the pain of other students the pain of other students that are of Jewish descent that you would be forced to draw something that is absolutely demeaning to not only u but an entire race of people and this nation for fear of getting and for a failing grade.”

The Gwinnett County School District said in a statement to Fox 5 Atlanta that while the topic of the Nazi party is studied, the assignment was not appropriate and not approved by the social studies department of the school.

“As outlined in the Georgia Standards of Excellence curriculum for 6th grade social studies, students study the conflict and change in Europe, including the aftermath of World War I, the rise of communism as a result of the Russian Revolution, the Treaty of Versailles, the rise of Nazism, and worldwide depression,” the school said. “In studying this time period, they learn about Nazism, the use of propaganda, and events which resulted in the Holocaust.

“This assignment is not a part of the approved materials provided by our Social Studies department and is not appropriate and the school is addressing the use of this assignment with the teacher.”

Julie Bishop on Ivanka Trump: ‘That president produced that daughter – interesting’

Minister also says she made deal with female cabinet colleagues to vocally support their idea no matter the topic

Australia’s foreign affairs minister, Julie Bishop, has apparently expressed surprise that “one of the most thoughtful and down-to-earth” people she has met is the daughter of the US president.

Bishop used a women’s affairs lunch on Wednesday to discuss various gender issues, including her time as the lone female in Tony Abbott’s first cabinet.

Bishop said that, when she met the US president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, during a recent trip to the United Nations in New York, the two discussed a mentoring program for female leaders in Pacific Island nations.

The program aims to boost female representation in the region’s parliaments, where fewer than 10% of representatives are women. Three nations have no female members in their lower houses, according to the advocacy group Pacific Women in Politics.

“When I told Ivanka Trump about that, she embraced it immediately, said how could her foundation get involved, she could host something at the White House,” Bishop said. “[She was] very conscious that the White House could really galvanise action.

“And I thought, ‘That president produced that daughter – interesting.’”

Bishop said Ivanka Trump was “one of the most delightful, thoughtful, measured, outward-looking, down-to-earth people” she had met.

The foreign affairs minister also reflected on the “extraordinary outcome” of being the lone woman in the first Abbott cabinet. “It was pretty lonely – I would be sitting in cabinet with 19 men and me.”

She said “time and time again” she would put forward an idea, get no response and then watch a colleague parrot her idea moments later. “The others would say, ‘brilliant, what a genius idea’,” Bishop said.

That led her to make a deal with female colleagues who later joined cabinet that no matter the topic, any woman’s idea would be vocally supported.

Bishop said that 49% of board members in her department are women while the proportion is 40% across the federal government.

Bishop credited part of that to the government’s target of 50% representation by 2020.

“It’s not a quota, we’re not forcing them … but it consciously makes people focus on the appointment of women,” she said. “We’re seeing the benefits in the public sector, we need it in the private sector and then it will flow through society.”

Just one in every 12 ASX 200 board members were women in 2009, according to the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Numbers have improved every year since, though the rate of change has halted this year with just 26% of new appointments being women.