Trending In Our News Feeds – Bernanke cautiously optimistic on economic recovery. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gave a cautiously optimistic economic forecast at a press conference yesterday following a two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee. Bernanke said the Fed expects to scale back its bond buying program later this year, and end the program when unemployment hits 7% (hopefully by the middle of next year). The Fed will raise short-term interest rates when unemployment falls to 6.5%, staying in line with the its plan to tie interest rates to unemployment, which the bank announced last year.
The Fed also released a statement summarizing its policy recommendations and predictions for the market. The bank predicts the economy will grow by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2013, and says unemployment will drop to 5.8%-6.2% by 2015. Unfortunately, the Washington Post’s Dylan Matthews points out the Fed botches its predictions all the time: For 2011, “The Fed projected growth almost twice as fast as what actually happened.”
Global markets fell today in response to Bernanke’s announcement. The Dow Jones and NASDAQ futures fell about 1% and the U.S. dollar rose against all major currencies in response. “What the Fed’s action did last night was to confirm that unless things in the U.S. get worse then the music is going to be turned down at the party and the dancing is about to end,” said Paul Lambert, head of currency at Insight Investment in London.
FBI director says drones used for surveillance. Outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller revealed his agency has used drones to conduct surveillance on U.S. soil, at a hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday. Mueller said “very few” drones have been used in “a very minimal way.” He also said the government is in the process of developing policies to guide drone use.
Vaccine cuts HPV infections in half. Health officials announced a recent vaccine has cut in half the infection rate of the human papillomavirus (HPV) in teenage girls in recent years, according to a study publishing in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. The study found the infection rate for girls aged 14-19 dropped from 7.2% to 3.6% in four years after the introduction of the vaccine. However, some parents worry the vaccine promotes promiscuity. In 2010, 44% of parents said they would not vaccinate their daughters.
‘Sopranos’ star dies at 51. James Gandolfini, the actor famous for playing Tony Soprano, died of a heart attack yesterday at the age of 51. He was traveling in Italy and was set to appear at the Taormina Film Fest. He is survived by his wife Deborah Lin and their baby daughter. In a series of tweets, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called Gandolfini “a fine actor, a Rutgers alum and a true Jersey guy.” The Daily Beast looks back at Gandolfini’s greatest performances.
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