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News Wrap: Yellen signals another Fed interest rate hike

March 3, 2017 at 6:50 PM EDT
In our news wrap Friday, Janet Yellen, chair of the Federal Reserve, is sending the strongest signal yet that short-term interest rates are going up again -- this month. Also, former journalist Juan Thompson was arrested in St. Louis for allegedly sending bomb threats to at least eight Jewish institutions.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: The head of the Federal Reserve is sending the strongest signal yet that short-term interest rates are going up again this month. Janet Yellen addressed a business lunch in Chicago today, and suggested conditions seem ripe for another rate hike.

JANET YELLEN, Federal Reserve Chair: The committee will evaluate whether employment and inflation are continuing to evolve in line with our expectations, in which case a further adjustment of the federal funds rate would likely be appropriate.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The Fed last raised interest rates in December, but officials have indicated there could be three hikes this year.

A former journalist is now in federal custody for allegedly sending bomb threats to at least eight Jewish institutions. Juan Thompson was arrested in Saint Louis. Authorities say he made the threats, and then blamed an ex-girlfriend. Federal investigators cleared evidence from Thompson’s home today. He’s also being questioned about vandalism at a Jewish cemetery outside Saint Louis.

In all, more than 120 Jewish sites nationwide received threats in recent weeks.

Vice President Pence today defended using a private e-mail account for public business while he was governor of Indiana. The Indianapolis Star reported that some of the e-mails dealt with security matters. Mr. Pence had sharply criticized Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server as secretary of state.

Today, during a trip to Janesville, Wisconsin, he insisted what he did was different.

VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: No, there’s no comparison whatever between Hillary Clinton’s practice of having a private server, mishandling classified communication, destroying e-mails when they were requested by the Congress and by officials.

We have fully complied with all Indiana’s laws.

JUDY WOODRUFF: A White House spokeswoman said Mr. Pence did everything — quote — “to the letter of the law as governor.”

In Yemen, U.S. warplanes staged a second night of airstrikes against al-Qaida fighters. They targeted sites in at least two provinces. The Pentagon denied reports that ground troops also took part. In late January, a U.S. commando raid in Yemen left dozens of civilians and a Navy SEAL dead.

Tunisia will take back 1,500 asylum seekers rejected by Germany. German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the agreement in Tunis today. It came after a Tunisian man drove a truck into a Berlin market last December. He killed a dozen people and wounded scores more. Merkel’s government took in some 900,000 migrants and asylum seekers in 2015.

Back in this country, President Trump touted school choice as he toured a Catholic school in Orlando, Florida, today. He met teachers and a class of fourth grade students, accompanied by secretary of education, Betsy DeVos. The president praised parochial schools that educate disadvantaged children.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Education is the civil rights issue of our time. And it’s why I have asked Congress to support a school choice bill, and we have come a long way. We’re right out there and we’re ahead of schedule in so many ways when it comes to education.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The president didn’t say what might be in the bill.

German automaker Daimler A.G. today ordered a recall of more than 300,000 Mercedes-Benz vehicles in the U.S. They may have a faulty fuse that can spark a fire. The recall covers C-class, E-class and CLA Sedans, plus GLA and GLC sport utility models 2015 through 2017.

And on Wall Street, stocks finished this Friday mostly flat. The Dow Jones industrial average edged up just two points to close at 21005. The Nasdaq rose nine, and the S&P 500 added just one point.

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