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Joe Biden picks Jerome Powell for second term as Fed chair; stocks move higher

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Biden said he will fill the three remaining slots on the board, including a vice chair for supervision, a bank regulatory post, in early December

Joe Biden picks Jerome Powell for second term as Fed chair; stocks move higher

US president Joe Biden has said that he is weighing a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympic games . AFP

President Joe Biden announced Monday that he’s nominating Jerome Powell for a second four-year term as Federal Reserve chair, endorsing Powell’s stewardship of the economy through a brutal pandemic recession in which the Fed’s ultra-low rate policies helped bolster confidence and revitalise the job market.

Biden also said he would nominate Lael Brainard, the lone Democrat on the Fed’s Board of Governors and the preferred alternative to Powell among many progressives, as vice chair.

Biden said he will fill the three remaining slots on the board, including a vice chair for supervision, a bank regulatory post, in early December.

Biden’s decision, reached after extensive consideration, strikes a note of continuity and bipartisanship at a time when surging inflation is burdening households and raising risks to the economy’s recovery.

In backing Powell, a Republican who was first elevated to his post by President Donald Trump, Biden brushed aside complaints from progressives that the Fed has weakened bank regulation and has been slow to take account of climate change in its supervision of banks. If confirmed by the Senate, Powell would remain one of the most powerful economic officials in the world.

By either raising or lowering its benchmark interest rate, the Fed seeks to either cool or stimulate growth and hiring, and to keep prices stable. Its efforts to direct the U.S. economy, the largest in the world, typically have global consequences.

The Fed’s short-term rate, which has been pegged near zero since the pandemic hammered the economy in March 2020, influences a wide range of consumer and business borrowing costs, including for mortgages and credit cards. The Fed also oversees the nation’s largest banks.

In a second term, to begin in February, Powell would face a difficult and high-risk balancing act: Rising inflation is causing hardships for millions of families, clouding the economic recovery and undercutting the Fed’s mandate to keep prices stable.

But with the economy still 4 million-plus jobs shy of its pre-pandemic level, the Fed has yet to meet its other mandate of maximising employment.

If the Fed moves too slowly to raise rates, inflation may accelerate further and force the Fed to take more draconian steps later to rein it in, potentially causing a recession.

Yet if the Fed hikes rates too quickly, it could choke off hiring and the economic recovery.

Powell’s re-nomination must be approved in a vote by the Senate Banking Committee and then confirmed by the full Senate, which is considered likely.

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Donald Trump Resurfaces Ilhan Omar Conspiracy Theory, Says She ‘Abandoned’ Her Country

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Former President Donald Trump has accused Representative Ilhan Omar of “abandoning her former country,” while repeating an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory about the congresswoman.

Omar arrived in the U.S. in 1995 as a 12-year-old refugee from Somalia and became an American citizen five years later. Trump lashed out at Omar in a statement issued on Tuesday. Trump’s remarks came amid a firestorm of controversy surrounding anti-Muslim comments about the Minnesota Democrat from Representative Lauren Boebert, a staunch supporter of the former president.

“Congresswoman Ilhan Omar should apologize for marrying her brother, committing large-scale immigration and election fraud, wishing death to Israel, and for essentially abandoning her former country, which doesn’t even have a government,” Trump said. “Exactly what she’d like to see for the United States!”

A conspiracy theory claiming that Omar secretly married her brother in order to help him establish U.S. residency has been repeated often by figures on the right including Trump. Although the claim would amount to immigration fraud if it were true, there is no credible evidence that proves the conspiracy. The theory posits that Omar’s ex-husband Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, a U.K. citizen, was actually her brother.

In addition to a lack of evidence to substantiate the claim, Omar and her confirmed siblings became U.S. citizens. A theoretical additional sibling could have applied for permanent residency on the basis that they were the sibling of a citizen, rather than resorting to fraud. The congresswoman has called the allegations “absurd and offensive.”

Donald Trump Ilhan Omar Abandoned Country Boebert
Former President Donald Trump issued a statement attacking Representative Ilhan Omar on Tuesday for “abandoning her country.” Trump is pictured here during a rally in Perry, Georgia, on September 25, 2021.
Sean Rayford/Getty

In remarks similar to his statement on Tuesday, Trump said that Omar “came in here and married her brother or something” during an October 2020 campaign stop in Florida, while also asserting that she “from a place that doesn’t even have a government.”

Trump tweeted in July 2019 that Omar and the other progressive lawmakers collectively known as “the Squad” should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” despite the fact that Omar is the only foreign-born member of the group.

Boebert recently received backlash for calling Omar a member of the “Jihad Squad” on the House floor. The Colorado Republican attracted further criticism after suggesting that a Capitol police officer could rest easy around Omar because she was not carrying “a backpack,” a remark that Omar said was an attempt to label her a “suicide bomber.”

Boebert issued a tweet apologizing “to anyone in the Muslim community I offended” while insisting that criticism of her remarks was an “unnecessary reaction. ” She later called Omar, ostensibly to apologize over the phone. Omar said that Boebert did not apologize during the call but “refused to publicly acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comment” and “doubled down on her rhetoric.” Omar ended the call by hanging up.

Although most Republican members of Congress have remained silent about Boebert, some have backed her up. Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene referred to Omar as a “Jihad Squad” member following the controversy, while Representative Madison Cawthorn of South Carolina maintained that criticism of Boebert’s remarks were unfair attempts to get her “canceled.”

A few Republicans have also rebuked Boebert and her comments about Omar. South Carolina Representative Nancy Mace told CNN that she condemned the comments on Sunday and Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois recently tweeted that Boebert was “TRASH.”

Newsweek reached out to Representative Omar’s office for comment.

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Tracking variants: Centre asks states to send all samples from Covid hotspots

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TIGHTENING ITS genome sequencing measures to ensure early detection of new variants, including Omicron, the Union Health Ministry has asked states to send “100 per cent samples” from Covid hotspots, starting with two recent clusters in Karnataka’s Dharwad and Maharashtra’s Thane, The Indian Express has learnt.

On Tuesday, during a high-level review meeting chaired by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, the states were advised to send “all positive samples” for genome sequencing to designated INSACOG labs “in a prompt manner”. Earlier, only about five per cent of samples from positive cases detected by RT-PCR tests were sent for genome sequencing.

To begin with, top Government sources told The Indian Express, the Centre has told authorities to send all samples from the cluster of cases reported from a medical college in Dharwad and an old-age home at Bhiwandi in Thane.

“We have told the states that whenever you have emerging hotspots and clusters of new cases, you should get 100 per cent of the genome sequenced. It is being done in Dharwad, where they had more than 240 cases in one institution, and in Bhiwandi, where 60 cases were detected in an old age home. We have told the states that wherever you have such a number, there should be mandatory genome sequencing,” sources said.

On Tuesday, the Centre told states to ensure “physical visits” to the homes of passengers from “at-risk” countries to monitor home isolation. “The status of those who are negative after the retest on the eighth day” will also be “physically monitored by the state administration”, it said. The states have been told that international passengers from “at-risk” countries should be advised to wait at airports till the report comes and “not book connecting flights”.

During the meeting, ICMR D-G Dr Balram Bhargava said Omicron does not escape RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen tests. The Centre conveyed that the flagship “Har Ghar Dastak” campaign has been extended till December 31.

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The Suicide Squad Star David Dastmalchian Cast in Boston Strangler Movie

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Fan-favorite actor David Dastmalchian has officially found his latest project. On Tuesday, it was announced (via The Hollywood Reporter) that Dastmalchian would be joining the cast of Boston Strangler, a 20th Century Studios film based on the infamous string of murders of the same name. While it is unclear who Dastmalchian is playing in the film, it is being described as a “pivotal, undisclosed role.” Dastmalchian most recently appeared in Dune as Piter De Vries, and The Suicide Squad as Abner Krill / Polka-Dot Man. The cast of Boston Strangler will also include Kiera Knightley, Carrie Coon, Alessandro Nivola, and Chris Cooper.

Boston Strangler follows the gruesome killings that rocked Boston from 1962-64 and left at least 11 women dead. The film centers on Loretta McLaughlin (Knightley), the reporter who broke the story of the strangler. Along with reporter Jean Cole, McLaughlin challenged the sexism of the era, pursuing the story at personal risk and uncovering corruption that cast doubt on the identity of the strangler.

Scott Free’s Ridley Scott, Kevin Walsh and Michael Pruss are producing Boston Strangler with LuckyChap Entertainment’s Tom Ackerley and Josey McNamara.

Dastmalchian’s filmography also includes The Dark Knight, the Ant-Man films, and a stint on The Flash. With The Suicide Squad, the actors talents were showcased in a new way — in a role that the film’s writer and director, James Gunn, apparently wrote just for him.

“The last four years, it’s become much more of a thing,” Dastmalchian said of getting characters written for him in an interview with Vulture earlier this year. “I don’t know if that’s because I’m such a specific type of individual. Although I like to think that I can disappear into any character, my face is a very specific look. My voice is particular. It’s such a miracle that people in the last several years have begun to think of me for something. I did a series a few years ago called Reprisal and the showrunner Josh Corbin, when he met me, was immediately like, ‘I had you in my book when I was developing this show.’ And Denis, when he was sculpting his vision of Piter, I don’t know if he necessarily envisioned me for it, but when he called me to tell me he wanted me to be in the film, he seemed to think I was the right person. It’s weird. I used to hear about actors who got these offers out of the blue and I thought, Oh man, that must be nice. And I’m getting to experience that. It’s like winning the lottery as an actor.”

What do you think of David Dastmalchian joining the cast of Boston Strangler? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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