From NPR News in Washington, I'm Lakshmi Singh.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says the sharp government spending cuts set to take effect Friday will create a significant headwind for the economic recovery. Bernanke has delivered the Fed semi-annual report to the Senate Banking Committee. NPR's Craig Windham says Bernanke is defending the Fed's bond-buying program, which is aimed at keeping borrowing costs low.
The Fed is buying about 85 billion dollars in treasury and mortgage back securities a month. Bernanke says that has been good for the economy.
"Notably, keeping longer term interest rate slow has helped spark recovery in the housing market and led to increase sales and production of automobiles and other durable goods."
Bernanke says while the Fed is trying to stimulate the economy, the upcoming across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester would have the opposite effect, restraining growth. He says there’s a better way to bring down the deficit.
"I think an appropriate balance would be to introduce these cuts more gradually and to compensate with larger and more sustained cuts in the longer run to address our long-run fiscal issues."
Craig Windham, NPR News, Washington.
Chuck Hagel is a crucial step close to becoming secretary of defense. Today lawmakers voted to end the GOP filibuster on the former Republican senator, clearing the way for a final up or down confirmation vote. Hagel encountered resistance after breaking with fellow Republicans on various aspects of foreign policy including Iran and nuclear arms.
Speaking of, the first day of nuclear talks in Kazakhstan has ended with Iran contemplating a revised offer from six world powers. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports that Western officials hope the Iranians will return tomorrow with a substantive response.
The international side is for the first time offering some sanctions relief to the Iranians. But it's believed to be only modest economic relief in exchange for substantial concessions on Iran's nuclear program. EU spokesman Michael Mann says the success of the talks depends very much on how Iran responds to the latest proposal.
"The onus is very much on the Iranians. They are of course in breach of Security Council resolutions, and we are hoping that they can show some flexibility and that the process can continue."
Iranian officials said they came to Kazakhstan with several possible counteroffers, but so far none has been put on the table. Peter Kenyon, NPR News, Almaty, Kazakhstan.
In New York City, a bell tolled at 12:18 PM in memory of the six people killed 20 years ago today in the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. More than 1,000 people were also hurt in the 1993 attack.
And (in) Ohio, teenagers have pleaded guilty of killing three students and wounding three others nearly a year ago at a high school in Chardon. The Associated Press reports that in return prosecutors have agreed to drop the possibility of the death penalty for T.J. Lane. The 18-year-old may now face life in prison.
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As the Roman Catholic Church prepares for a new pope to lead the world's estimated one billion catholics, the Vatican says Pope Benedict XVI has settled on what he will be called after he retires this week.
"His Holiness Benedict XVI, that name will remain with him, Emeritus Pope or Pope Emeritus or the Roman Pontiff Emeritus."
Reverend Thomas Rosica, spokesperson for the Vatican, announcing Benedict's post-retirement title. The issue fuels concern over a conflict of interest that could arise from having both the ruling and the retired pope, something the church hasn’t experienced in hundreds of years.
Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn filed suit today to halt the publication of a book by an author sharing details of her 2012 liaison. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports that “Beauty and the Beast” is set for release on Wednesday.
The book is the latest chapter in the life of the former French presidential hopeful since he was accused of sexual aggression by a New York hotel maid in May, 2011. The author, Marcela Iacub, admits to mixing fiction with reality in her attempt to portray Strauss-Kahn. The liaison took place in the midst of the New York hotel sex scandal when Strauss-Kahn was still married to former journalist Anne Sinclair, whose money paid for his defense. Strauss-Kahn's lawyers said they will seek the seizure of the book after suing Iacub and her publisher for an attack on his private life. Failing that, his lawyers will demand that every copy of the book carry an insert. They have not yet said what the insert will say. Eleanor Beardsley, NPR News, Paris.
Dow was up 116 points at 13,900; NASDAQ gaining 15 at 3,131; S&P 500 up nine at 1,497.
I'm Lakshmi Singh, NPR News.
1. bring down
eg. hat pace would bring down the unemployment rate by less than half a percentage point over the course of a year.
eg. Military historians may never know what brought down the jet.
eg. They were threatening to bring down the government by withdrawing from the ruling coalition...
2. break with
eg. We must make a clean break with old ideas.
eg. Renaissance represented is a decisive historical period in european culture and a crucial break with middle age.
eg. It takes usual courage and determination to make break with his family.
3. in exchange for
eg. Tom gave Helen an apple in exchange for a piece of cake.
eg. Countries get rich because they become particularly skilled in certain industries that they can sell in exchange for money.
eg. The trade unions bargained away their rights in exchange for a small pay rise.
4. in breach of
eg. The commission of the inquiry ruled that the company was in breach of contract.
eg. The defendant is in breach of his statutory duty.
eg. Punishment for anyone in breach of the new rules could involve warnings, dismissal or legal charges.
任何违反该新规定的人可能遭受警告 、 开除或起诉。
5. settle on
eg. I finally settled on a Mercedes estate.
eg. We must settle on a place to meet.
eg. At first, he settled on house, transport facilities is the biggest reason.