Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday that inflation is expected to rise slowly from current low levels but not go much beyond the Fed's two percent target. "Longer-run inflation expectations have remained remarkably steady, however," and will slowly push up toward two percent, Yellen said in a speech to The Economic Club of New York. The Fed "is well aware that inflation could also threaten to rise substantially above two percent.
US senator John McCain on Wednesday described the West's response to Russian actions in Ukraine as "almost laughable", saying a stronger stance is needed to keep the Kremlin in check. "Unless Europeans and the United States take much stronger action, I believe that Mr. Putin will feel bolder," he said after talks with Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite. "The fact that we will not assist the Ukrainian government and people after they have been invaded by (Russian President) Vladimir Putin is shameful," he added. "The response to Vladimir Putin's behavior has been almost laughable."
US Secretary of State John Kerry left Wednesday for Geneva for high-stakes talks on Ukraine, armed with the threat of more sanctions against Moscow if diplomacy fails, as tensions on the ground escalated sharply. The US and the European Union will hold their first four-way talks with Ukraine and Russia on Thursday to address a worsening crisis, although US officials have set low expectations for the meeting, still smarting from a slew of failures in past weeks. With Ukraine increasingly threatened with a split between its Russian-speaking east and EU-leaning west, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said it was hoped the talks could help de-escalate tensions that have risen markedly in the past 24 hours. Kerry will sit down with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, his Ukrainian counterpart Andriy Deshchytsya and the chief diplomat of the European Union, Catherine Ashton, for what are likely to be prickly talks.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic worries about this November's elections, a lack of Senate votes and House opposition are forcing congressional gun-control supporters to significantly winnow their 2014 agenda, a year after lawmakers scuttled President Barack Obama's effort to pass new curbs on firearms.