Tuesday: Federal Reserve Meets, Weighs Options; Afghan Civilian Deaths Rising
As the Federal Open Market Committee meets Tuesday to decide on interest rate and monetary policy, U.S. investors will be waiting for possible action by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who most believe is thinking of ways to jumpstart the economy.
The meeting comes a day after researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco said there’s a “significant” chance the economy will tip back into recession in the next two years and just a few days after a disappointing jobs report.
The Washington Post’s Neil Irwin previews the meeting and ponders the outcomes — some “that are near-certain, some that are iffy, and others that are unlikely.”
The Wall Street Journal’s Polya Lesova writes about the “jitters” ahead of any statement:
“Recent data have indicated that the U.S. economic recovery is slowing, raising worries over the potential for a so-called double-dip recession. As a result, pressure is mounting on U.S. central bankers to take measures….Observers think the Fed will likely resist pressure to buy bonds for the time being, but it may adjust the language of its statement to show growing awareness of economic uncertainty.”
Martketplace’s Nancy Marshall Genzer thinks that the Fed may try something called “quantitative easing” to boost the economy:
“[T]here’s speculation the Fed is going to try something called quantitative easing. It’s a way for the Fed to pump money into the economy by taking advantage of the trading relationships it has with the big banks. The Fed buys different types of bonds from a bank, and to pay for them, the Fed just credits the bank’s account.”
Check back on the Rundown after the Fed makes a statement at 2:15 p.m. EDT. We’ll also have more on Fed on Tuesday’s NewsHour.
BP Crews Watching for Storm
The National Hurricane Center is watching a group of thunderstorms in the Gulf of Mexico that forecasters say may pass near the oil spill site. BP is drilling the final 100 feet of a relief well that is set to intersect with the broken one as early as Friday.
Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan Rising
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said the number of civilians wounded and killed in the war has increased by 31 percent in the first six months of 2010. Most of the deaths were caused by insurgents fighting the government and the American-led coalition, the United Nations said in a report released Tuesday.
Pakistan Struggles to Deal with Flooding
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a plea for additional international assistance to Pakistan. The UN and relief groups said the scale of the flooding was straining the ability of Pakistan’s government to provide aid.
The UN said 13.8 million people are being affected by the floods and up to six million people may be in need of immediate food or shelter. Pakistan’s government has said that more than 1,200 people have died from the floods, but international aid organizations say the number may be as high as 1,600.
700 Dead in China Landslide
More than 700 people are confirmed dead in a massive landslide in northwest China, making it one of the deadliest incidents so far in the country’s worst flooding in a decade.
Fires Ease in Russia
Russia made progress in putting out wildfires overnight, and there was less smoke engulfing the Moscow region, officials said Tuesday. The cost of the extreme heat and fires in Russia is estimated at $15 billion.
Rwandan President Kagame Wins Re-election
Rwandan President Kagame is set to win another seven-year term in office. Rwanda’s electoral commission says results show Kagame is poised to win with more than 90 percent of the vote. Kagame, who faced no real competition as opposition groups were stifled, has been in power since the end of the 1994 genocide, when at least half a million people were killed.
Foreign policy’s Robert Krueger profiles Kagame, the “president [who] fought to end the country’s 1994 genocide — then used it to justify his own awful rule.”