By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. job growth accelerated sharply in February despite the icy weather that gripped much of the nation, easing fears of an abrupt economic slowdown and keeping the Federal Reserve on track to continue reducing its monetary stimulus. Employers added 175,000 jobs to their payrolls last month after creating 129,000 new positions in January, the Labor Department said on Friday. The unemployment rate, however, rose to 6.7 percent from a five-year low of 6.6 percent as Americans flooded into the labor market to search for work. "It reinforces the case for the economy being stronger than it's looked for the last couple of months," said Bill Cheney, chief economist at John Hancock Financial Services in Boston.
By Barbara Liston ORLANDO (Reuters) - A judge set bail at $1.2 million on Saturday for a pregnant woman facing attempted murder charges for driving a minivan carrying her three young children into the surf off a Florida beach, according to jail records. Ebony Wilkerson, 32, has been charged with three counts of first-degree attempted murder and three counts of child abuse in the incident, which occurred on Tuesday at Daytona Beach. Wilkerson had come to Florida three days before the episode to escape an abusive marriage, according to the arrest affidavit. The children told investigators their mother had been acting "crazy" since they arrived in Florida, and Wilkerson's sister tried twice to get mental health treatment for her the day before she drove the van into the water, the affidavit said.
By Matthew Liptak SYRACUSE, New York (Reuters) - An 89-year-old U.S. World War Two veteran who was wounded when his plane crashed in occupied France in 1944 is due to be honored on Saturday with a medal he declined 70 years ago. Richard Faulkner was 19 when the B-17 bomber in which he was flying collided with another allied aircraft, killing everyone except the staff sergeant, who found himself stranded behind enemy lines. About a year ago Faulkner found himself regretting his decision because he wanted his grandchildren to have something by which they could remember his military service, said his daughter-in-law Mary Ellen Faulkner. She reached out to her father-in-law's congressman, Democrat Dan Maffei, whose office determined that the veteran was still eligible to receive the medal.