What do the minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve meeting say?

Investors were having a difficult time swallowing the information from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting minutes, out yesterday afternoon. Each of the major benchmarks suffered losses at closing yesterday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 tied at a 1.1% loss. The Nasdaq fell 0.9%. 

So… what did the meeting minutes reveal, exactly?

Apparently, the Federal Reserve could begin reigning in its massive bond-buying program before year’s end. 

“Looking ahead, most participants noted that, provided that the economy were to evolve broadly as they anticipated, they judged that it could be appropriate to start reducing the pace of asset purchases this year,” the document read. 

Many experts said they believe the central bank will announce its tapering plan as early as September.

Apparently, bankers are happy with reaching its inflation goal, but believe there is still more work to do on a different front before they could even think about raising rates, which comes after tapering goes into effect.

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How is the Taliban breaking their commitments to the U.S. right now?

In what is likely a surprise to no one, the Taliban appears to be reneging on their promise not to block Afghan access to the Kabul International Airport, officials say. 

“We have seen reports that the Taliban, contrary to their public statements and their commitments to our government, are blocking Afghans who wish to leave the country from reaching the airport,” said Wendy Sherman, who is the deputy secretary of state. “[US military officials are] engaging directly with the Taliban to make clear that we expect them to allow all American citizens, all third-country nationals and all Afghans who wish to leave, to do so safely and without harassment.” 

Her message follows an alert form Kabul’s U.S. embassy that officials “cannot ensure safe passage” to the airport.

Within the last 24 hours, about 2,000 people have been evacuated, officials say.

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One person is dead after the Taliban violently disperses a rare protest

One person is dead after a protest in eastern Afghanistan ended violently today. Apparently, the incident occurred in Jalalabad as residents lowered the Taliban flag and flew the national flag instead. 

That’s when the Taliban struck attendees with batons, and shot their weapons into the air. A local journalist said he was attacked as he tried to report on what he saw. 

So far, six people have been wounded. 

This comes after the militant organization claimed that things would be different from the last time they were in power. 

Meanwhile, yesterday, Taliban fighters apparently patrolled checkpoints at the Kabul airport, where they attacked Afghans trying to enter. 

According to Jake Sullivan, America’s national security adviser, the insurgent group had previously said that they would not block access to Hamid Karzai International Airport in the coming weeks. 

But what happens if the Taliban doesn’t make good on their word? 

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A 21-year-old woman is stabbed to death by someone she met online

It should have been a fairy tale. A 21-year-old American woman met a 22-year-old bachelor across the pond. They decided to meet in person, so she got on a plane and they spent six months together. 

They should have lived happily ever after. 

Instead, she wound up dead.

In a hearing yesterday, Adam Butt plead guilty to manslaughter, though he wouldn’t go as far as to say he murdered the victim, Mary Wells.  

Butt is being held in a psychiatric hospital right now. 

Wells, who had been living in Philadelphia prior to her ill-fated meet-up, was scheduled to return home in a couple weeks, but she was stabbed to death before she got the chance. She was killed on January 17.

“Mary was so kind and selfless, she would give someone the shirt off her back. Mary was quiet and didn’t ask for much,” loved ones wrote on a crowd-funding page. “Mary had a tough couple years. She lost her mum due to health problems and lost her grandmother, who took care of her after her mum died two years ago.” 

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How a mysterious baked-bean vandal has been terrorizing this small UK town

Residents in a small United Kingdom town want police to “spill the beans” about the mysterious vandal who has been terrorizing their neighborhood as of late. 

Cans of baked beans have been spilt across doorsteps, cars, and even stuffed inside mailboxes, residents report. 

Just who is the bandit behind all the vandalism? 

Authorities have never bean so unsure. 

“The victims are understandably distressed by this unacceptable behavior,” an official said on Facebook. 

Authorities say they will be on the lookout for suspicious behavior until the vandal has been apprehended.

And this isn’t the first time baked beans have been deployed to terrorize UK residents. When did this happen before? 

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This man apparently used a samurai sword to murder his roommate… what happened next?

A  43-year-old Massachusetts man faces murder charges after an argument with his tenant became violent. Apparently, police found the victim dead on the sidewalk outside of a Malden residence. 

“The officers observed initially his left arm below the elbow was almost completely severed,” one prosecutor said. 

When officials encountered the suspect, identified as Joshua Roush, he had a samurai sword on his person, as well as several other weapons in the home. 

Roush, who does not have bond, is due back in court next month. 

Apparently, this is not his first time assaulting someone. He spent over a decade behind bars for hitting an older adult with a hammer, authorities say. 

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What did former President George Bush have to say about Afghanistan?

As the chaotic scene in Afghanistan continued, former President George Bush released a joint statement with former First Lady Laura Bush late yesterday.

The war in the country began in 2001, under Bush’s leadership. Back in July, he spoke against removing American troops just yet. 

“The United States government has the legal authority to cut the red tape for refugees during urgent humanitarian crises. And we have the responsibility and the resources to secure safe passage for them now, without bureaucratic delay,” he said. 

What else did Bush share in his statement? 

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How a CIA analyst slams Biden’s speech: “There is such a profound bold-faced lie”

When President Joe Biden got up to bat, yesterday, in an attempt to defend his failure in Afghanistan, he drew criticism across the board. Almost 70% of Americans dislike the way he withdrew military troops from the country. 

And last night, a former CIA analyst (who had previously run for Congress as a Democratic candidate, mind you) berated the supposed leader’s response to the crisis he created. 

In an interview on MSNBC, the host attempted to pat Biden on the back, saying the president “owned his decision.”

Well, Matt Zeller simply would not have that, and blasted Biden’s botched attempt at withdrawing American troops.

What did he say, and do you agree?

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Top market headlines to pay attention to this morning

Futures tied to each of the three major benchmarks were down this morning, even after the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 set new records yesterday. The S&P, in particular, celebrated a milestone of climbing more than 100% since its pandemic low. 

This morning, investors were awaiting retail sales data. Home Depot and Walmart posted their latest quarterly earnings, and both major companies saw shares fall in the premarket as a result. 

Meanwhile, the US is slated to recommend the vaccine booster shot for Americans eight months after they became fully vaccinated. 

And finally, the Kabul International Airport resumed flights this morning after a chaotic day yesterday.

According to Dominic Raab, who is the U.K. foreign secretary: “The situation is stabilizing but obviously we are monitoring it very carefully. I do think that the airport is more stable today than it was yesterday, and we need to make sure that we consolidate that in the days ahead.” 

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One person is dead and another is missing after a flood breaks a bridge

Sudden, torrential rain caused floods that killed at least one woman in Germany, authorities say. Officials are looking for another person who went missing during the storm. 

Apparently, the downfall was so heavy, a wooden bridge in southern Germany buckled, sweeping people from it. Eight others have been rescued so far. They did not have any injuries. 

The search and rescue mission has so far entailed 160 first responders and helicopters. More than 100 people were evacuated from their homes in the Höllentalklamm, also known as the Valley of Hell, which is a popular tourist spot for hikers.

Last month alone, over 200 people in the western region of Germany died from such flooding. 

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