On the latest version of Hot off the Wire:
• President Joe Biden is assuring the nation that the U.S. economy is chugging along. Biden pointed to the addition of 263,000 jobs and the unemployment rate holding steady at 3.7% last month as proof that his policies have bulked up the economy.
• At the White House, the president signed a bill to avoid a rail strike that he said could have caused 765,000 job losses in two weeks and plunged the country into recession.
• Prosecutors have resumed their closing argument in the Trump Organization’s criminal tax fraud trial. Assistant Manhattan District Attorney Joshua Steinglass continued his summary of the case on Friday after telling jurors Thursday that “Donald Trump knew exactly what was going on with his top executives."
• The family of Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned in Russia for espionage, says that he has resumed contact after unexpectedly becoming unreachable in November. Along with WNBA star Brittney Griner, Whelan is the focus of efforts by the United States to arrange a prisoner swap with Russia.
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• Christian Pulisic was cleared to play for the United States in its round of 16 match at the World Cup against the Netherlands on Saturday.
• Authorities say a U.S. woman was killed and four other passengers injured when a massive wave struck the Viking Polaris cruise ship while it was sailing toward the port of Ushuaia in southern Argentina on an Antarctic cruise.
• An influential Iraqi cleric who announced his withdrawal from politics four months ago has broken a period of relative silence to launch an anti-LGBTQ campaign.
• In this week's religion roundup, Native Hawaiians see a window to the natural and spiritual worlds in the lava flowing from the Mauna Loa volcano.
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