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Ricardo Botelho/Brazil Photo Press/LatinContent/Getty Images(BRASILIA, Brazil) — As the Zika virus outbreak continues, including in wide swaths of Central and South America, concerns are growing, especially for pregnant women because the mosquito-borne virus has been linked with a serious birth defect called microcephaly, characterized by an abnormally small head and brain.

On Wednesday, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff said in a televised address that the virus has moved from a “distant nightmare” to a “real threat.”

She told residents that the government is working on a vaccine, but that right now mosquito prevention is the best course of action.

Hundreds of thousands of soldiers and health care workers were called up to help stop the Zika outbreak. Soldiers have been going door to door in hard-hit areas to look for standing water where mosquitoes could breed. More than a million people in Brazil are believed to have been infected with the virus since it was first found in the country last year.

This week, the popular Carnival festival will start across Brazil, bringing in many tourists to the country.

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Courtesy Mueller Family(NEW YORK) — The family of slain ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller on Thursday honored the life of the young woman from Arizona and called on Americans to remember “those lives lost in terrorism and those still missing and held against their will.”

“It was one year ago this week ISIS announced the death of our only daughter, sister and friend, 26-year-old Kayla Jean Mueller after 18 months of forced captivity,” Mueller’s parents said in a statement provided to ABC News. “Kayla was given a special heart and mind not to only see suffering in its many forms but to reach out and find a way to help those God placed before her. Never deterred, yet always determined to help where she could, Kayla is honored today and always through various efforts.”

“We do not know why she was taken from us, but her uncrushable spirit and her compassionate heart, her unwavering desire to help others through peace and justice will be with us always and will lead us to the truth. We believe and will always say: ‘Kayla should be here,’” they said.

The Syria-based terror group ISIS announced Mueller’s death in early February 2015, a claim confirmed by President Obama with “profound sadness” days later. ISIS claimed Mueller had been killed in a U.S.-led coalition airstrike, but U.S. officials disputed that at the time.

Months later, U.S. officials told ABC News they believed that Mueller had been repeatedly sexually abused by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi while being held captive in the home of another high-level ISIS figure.

Mueller, from Prescott, Arizona, was kidnapped in August 2013 after leaving a Spanish Doctors Without Borders hospital in Aleppo, Syria, according to information provided by a family spokesperson.

She had graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2009 and “has devoted her career to helping those in need in countries around the world,” the family spokesperson said after her death was confirmed.

Mueller told her town’s local newspaper, The Daily Courier, she felt called to help those suffering the most in the midst of the Syrian conflict.

“For as long as I live, I will not let this suffering be normal,” she said in the May 2013 report. “[I will not let this be] something we just accept… It’s important to stop and realize what we have, why we have it and how privileged we are. And from that place, start caring and get a lot done.”

Mueller’s parents said on Thursday: “In honoring Kayla we also ask that you remember those lives lost in terrorism and those still missing and held against their will. Kayla would want us to lift up and celebrate all those who have been freed and their families. She would want us to honor all those who have served our country so that we may be free. We must never forget those who have sacrificed their lives, the wounded still trying to get their lives back, and their families and friends.”

“Our hearts break for Kayla and all that happened, but we know from her letters that God was with her and she is with God,” they continued. “Her letters were such a gift to us — just like our ‘Special K’ to send us what we would need to carry on. She was a remarkable young lady who always looked to see what she could do to make this world a better place.”

Mueller’s parents said the “heartbreaking story” of their efforts to bring Mueller home and of the people who helped and “hindered” them “will be told.” The Muellers did not go into detail about who had “hindered” them, but U.S. officials have come under fire from the families of other hostages over U.S. hostage policy.

The family spokesperson said that several charitable efforts are ongoing in Mueller’s name, including The Kayla’s Hands Foundation and the Prescott Kiwanis Foundation, which is working to build a playground in Mueller’s name.

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iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(MILFORD, Conn.) — Your favorite $5 footlongs at Subway will no longer be $5.

Subway announced it is raising the cost of its $5 footlong sandwich to $6 starting Thursday.

The sandwich company revealed the nine-cent-per-inch price increase on Twitter:

BREAKING NEWS: Starting February 4th ALL of your favorite classic footlongs are $6. pic.twitter.com/OoaDYPII1u

— SUBWAY® (@SUBWAY) February 2, 2016

The backlash from fans on Twitter quickly ensued:

@SUBWAY what happened to #fivedollarfootlong

— Justin (@ArsonByLarson) February 2, 2016

@SubwayListens I blame it on @JaredLeto

— Justin (@ArsonByLarson) February 2, 2016

@20parkerkicks00 @SubwayListens @SUBWAY Sorry about that @JaredLeto wrong Jared, also didn’t realize that #jaredfogle is a thing.

— Justin (@ArsonByLarson) February 3, 2016

Subway said the price increase is just limited to their sandwiches, and it does not include salads or other offerings.

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iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Pepsi shared a peek at its Super Bowl ad Thursday on ABC’s Good Morning America.

The ad, titled “Joy of Dance,” stars singer and actress and singer Janelle Monae.

The spot celebrates the brand’s heritage in music by paying homage to great musicians through the years.

The Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers will face each other Sunday during Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

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Honda(NEW YORK) — Honda Motor announced in a statement Wednesday that it would expand its Takata air bag recall to 2.23 million vehicles in the United States.

Honda is the automaker most affected by the defective Takata air bags. So far, Honda has recalled about 8.51 million Honda and Acura models in the United States.

The defective air bags, which can burst open when they deploy and send shards of debris throughout the car, have been linked to about 10 deaths and more than 100 injuries. Nine of those deaths were in Honda vehicles.

Honda plans to replace all of the recalled inflators with new parts. However, due to the immense amount of inflator parts needed, the automaker will not receive the parts until summer 2016.

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Tim Boyle/Getty Images(ATLANTA) — With its busiest selling season on the horizon, The Home Depot is hiring more than 80,000 associates across the country.

“There is no better time to join our team than spring, whether you’re a college student, recent grad, or a veteran hoping to build a career, a retiree who wants a fun job, or anyone who simply enjoys home improvement,” Tim Crow, executive vice president of human resources for Home Depot, said in a statement.

The world’s largest home improvement retailer is looking to fill spots in sales, operations, and cashier positions in all departments.

To apply, those interested can visit The Home Depot’s career site.

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iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(MENLO PARK, Calif.) — On Facebook’s 12th birthday, the social network’s team revealed Thursday just how closely the site’s 1.6 billion users are now connected to each other.

The answer: The average degrees of separation between a typical pair of Facebook users is now 3.57 degrees. That’s down from 3.74 degrees in 2011 when Facebook’s community was slightly less than half its current size.

The latest number echoes the pre-digital era when researchers did an experiment in the 1960s that found there are “super-connectors” in a network that made the number of connections needed to connect two random people much smaller than expected.

They found that two random strangers could be linked via no more than five intermediaries — of six degrees of separation.

It’s hard to believe Mark Zuckerberg’s idea to connect Harvard students — and then other college students — would become a cornerstone of the online experience, connecting people with everyone from old friends and neighbors it allowing them to see what an ex love is up to now.

Facebook will also help its users celebrate with Friends Day videos, which will stitch together special moments with friends into a short video that can be edited and shared. The videos will be rolling out throughout the day at the top of News Feed or can be accessed by clicking the “Watch Yours” link below someone else’s video.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Labor Department says 8,000 more Americans submitted initial filings for unemployment benefits last week.

According to the latest data released Thursday, the number of initial unemployment claims for the week ending Jan. 30 was 285,000, compared to a revised level of 277,000 the week prior. The more stable four-week moving average increased by 2,000 to 284,750.

The Labor Department did not note any “special factors” related to the number of filings.

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(MENLO PARK, Calif.) — Mark Zuckerberg is just back from paternity leave, but the doting new father has a plan for making sure his family members don’t miss baby Max’s first steps — he plans to capture them in virtual reality.

“I want to take a 360 video of it, so that way even if my parents aren’t there, my grandparents aren’t there, they can experience it, they can actually be in the scene,” he said in a video provided to ABC News.

Zuckerberg’s comments came as he celebrated Facebook’s birthday — an event called Friends Day — earlier this week at the company’s Menlo Park, California headquarters. Facebook’s 12th birthday is Thursday.

The intimate event included Zuckerberg, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and a group of 18 people who have all made strong connections through Facebook.

It’s a big year for virtual reality as the Facebook-owned Oculus brings its first consumer headsets to the market. Zuckerberg said he sees tremendous power in virtual reality video as the medium matures.

“There is just an emotional power to that and ability to convey an idea in a much stronger way,” he said. “Actually being able to feel like you are there is going to be amazingly powerful when the medium becomes matured.”

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PaulGrecaud/iStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) — The European Union (EU) has approved funding that will be allocated to assist Turkey with the record number of Syrian migrants, reports BBC News.

The deal will give Turkey $3.3 billion with the hope that it will lower the amount of refugees entering the EU.

Last year, a deal was made between the EU and Turkey which offered Turkey political concessions and funding in exchange for the tightening of its borders, says the BBC.

The EU and Turkey have seen a huge influx of refugees fleeing the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Twenty-eight member states of the EU will contribute to the fund with the EU’s executive contributing one billion euros.

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