5 things you need to know Friday

Fear looms as Hurricane Matthew prepares for landfall

Hurricane Matthew, one of the most destructive hurricanes in recent history, roared toward the Florida coast on Friday. The storm prompted evacuation orders for nearly two million people across the region and President Obama declared a state of emergency in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Florida Gov. Rick Scott urged residents to evacuate the region to avoid the powerful storm. It has already claimed at least 283 lives in Haiti. Matthew, currently a Category 3 storm with sustained winds of 120 mph, is expected to reach far as South Carolina this weekend. Long-range forecast models show it could also potentially loop back toward Florida next week.

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Nobel Peace Prize winner to be announced

The Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday will announce the winner of its yearly Peace Prize. Who will win? One expert’s shortlist includes the architects of the Iran nuclear accord, Syria’s first responder “White Helmets” and U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden. Anyone can technically be nominated for the $930,000 accolade (past nominees include Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini). Colombia was dropped from the shortlist after voters on Monday rejected a peace deal that would have ended 52 years of conflict between the government and FARC rebels.

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All eyes on September’s jobs report

Economists will be looking for this year’s Jekyll-and-Hyde labor market to show its true face Friday when the government releases the September jobs report. The job market is being buffeted by so many crosscurrents — including a shrinking pool of unemployed workers, a sluggish economy, uncertainty over the presidential election and even job-counting challenges — that the picture may remain fuzzy for at least several more months. Economists estimate Labor will report a total 174,000 job gains in the public and private sectors. That would exceed the 151,000 recorded in August but fall short of the monthly average of 181,000 this year. The unemployment rate is expected to stay at 4.9%. The Federal Reserve is likely to scrutinize the data as it weighs an interest rate hike later this year.

The nature of work has changed radically in recent decades, and women have benefitted a Pew study says. USA TODAY

‘Birth of a Nation’ to open amid controversy

Birth of a Nation has been hailed as an early front-runner for best picture at the 2017 Oscars, but rape allegations leveled against the film’s director are complicating its nationwide opening on Friday. The film, which chronicles a violent uprising of slaves in 1831 Virginia, is said to depict an important untold chapter of American history, and introduces a talented African-American filmmaking voice in Nate Parker. But Parker’s past is being held up to mass public scrutiny after allegations surfaced that he raped a female student in 1999 when he was a college wrestler at Penn State. He was tried and acquitted in 2001. Critical support for Birth of a Nation has been strong and screenings have been well-received, but Parker has continued to be the focus of a social media backlash, making it difficult to predict whether audiences will go see the film.

In a few short months, Nate Parker’s film ‘The Birth of a Nation’ has gone from Oscar favorite to polarizing pick.

Samsung updates Wall Street following Galaxy Note 7 disaster

Samsung Electronics said Friday that its earnings would grow in the third quarter, despite a recall of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. The South Korean company said its operating profit would reach 7.8 trillion won — about $7 billion — compared to 7.4 trillion won in the same period last year. However, it said sales would fall to 49 trillion won, or $44 billion. That’s down 5% from a year earlier. The earnings figures were slightly higher than forecast by analysts. The Galaxy Note 7 smartphones have been recalled for overheating batteries after receiving glowing reviews upon their arrival and helping Samsung regain its footing in the hotly competitive smartphone business. USA TODAY’s tech columnist Ed Baig says Samsung is left with three not-so-great options for the Note 7.

Another Samsung product has overheated, this time aboard a Southwest Airlines flight. Time

And the essentials:

Weather: While the nation’s worst weather Friday will be in Florida, other systems will bring rain and storms to the central U.S. and the Northwest.

Stocks: Global markets were unsettled by a ‘flash crash’ for the British pound.

TV Tonight: Wondering what to watch? TV critic Robert Bianco looks ahead to Westworld and Lin-Manuel Miranda on SNL.

Be inspired: Boy who wasn’t supposed to walk finishes milestone with cross country team.

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