Nation briefs

District of Columbia

Jobless rate hits 3.9 percent

WASHINGTON — With the U.S. unemployment rate near a five-decade low, companies are looking harder for employees, and in some cases finding them right at their own workplaces.

Businesses are adding more hours for part-timers and converting contractors to full-time workers. Employers added 157,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said Friday.

Dems to meet with court nominee

WASHINGTON — After weeks of refusing to meet with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Democrats in the Senate plan to begin meeting with him when they start returning to Washington in mid-August, a senior Democratic aide said Friday.

The aide said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee tasked with holding hearings for Kavanaugh, will be among those meeting with him.

Texas

Suspect in doctor’s death kills himself

HOUSTON — A man accused of killing one of former President George H.W. Bush’s doctors fatally shot himself during a confrontation with authorities in Houston on Friday morning, the city’s police chief said.

Joseph James Pappas, 62, was accused of shooting Dr. Mark Hausknecht on July 20, while the cardiologist rode his bike to work at Houston Methodist Hospital. Authorities have said Pappas might have been seeking revenge for his mother, who died on the doctor’s operating table more than 20 years ago, in April 1997.