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Trump attacks US Fed, demands rate cut

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President Donald Trump attacked the independent US Federal Reserve on Friday, demanding the central bank reverse course and cut interest rates — something it is widely expected to do this month.

In another Twitter outburst, Trump called on the Fed to “Correct!” its overreach.

“We are in a World competition, & winning big,… but it is no thanks to the Federal Reserve,” he said.

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“Had they not acted so fast and ‘so much,’ we would be doing even better than we are doing right now. This is our chance to build unparalleled wealth and success for the U.S., GROWTH… Don’t blow it!”

The US central bank raised the benchmark borrowing rate four times last year but seems almost certain to pull back with the first cut in a decade at its policy meeting July 30-31.

Recent comments from Fed officials seemed to confirm the signal that policymakers are prepared to act to sustain US growth in the face of a slowing global economy and persistent trade tensions with China.

“You don’t need to wait until things get so bad to have a dramatic series of rate cuts,” Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida told Fox Business Network on Thursday.

That comment echoed a statement earlier Thursday from John Williams, the influential vice chairman of the Fed’s policy committee, who talked about the need to vaccinate when rates are very low.

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“When you only have so much stimulus at your disposal, it pays to act quickly to lower rates at the first sign of economic distress,” said Williams, who is president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

Following Williams’ remarks, the New York Fed told media outlets the speech concerned decades of research and was not about what the central bank may decide at its next policy meeting.

Trump said Friday he liked Williams “first statement much better than his second. His first statement is 100% correct in that the Fed ‘raised’ far too fast & too early.”

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The New York Fed had no comment on Trump’s tweets, which were only the latest in long series of attacks which have flaunted the recent tradition of protecting the independence of the central bank.


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No vaccine, no carnival, Rio’s samba schools warn

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Some of Rio's biggest samba schools say they will not participate in next year's Carnival unless a coronavirus vaccine is widely available, Brazilian media reported Tuesday.

Five of the 12 top samba schools, including Mangueira and Beija Flor, told Brazil's O Globo newspaper they would vote to postpone the parades at a meeting set for Tuesday.

"It's simple. If there's no vaccine, there will be no samba," said the head of the Sao Clemente school, Renatinho Gomes.

"How can you gather crowds without collective immunity?"

The mayor of the northwestern city of Salvador de Bahia, where festivities also attract thousands of tourists, has proposed postponing the carnival season nationwide until April or June.

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New York couple point guns at Black Lives Matter protesters marching past their house

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A New York couple pointed guns at protesters marching past their house during a Black Lives Matter rally, and activists want them to be charged.

Protesters were nearing the end of their parade route when a white man came out of his home shouting obscenities in an apparent attempt to incite the group, and then yelled to his wife to get his gun, reported WNYT-TV.

Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson, who took part in the march, said the woman came back outside and started waving the gun around.

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Australian columnist aghast at America’s ‘rotten’ COVID-19 response: ‘We are witnessing the fall of a great power’

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A columnist for an Australian newspaper has been watching the United States' response to the novel coronavirus with a mix of shock and horror -- and he now believes "we are witnessing the fall of a great power."

Crispin Hull, an editor and columnist for The Canberra Times, argues in his latest column that President Donald Trump's disastrous handling of the pandemic is symbolic of deep rot within the American political system.

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