Sunday, 20 Sep 2020

FBI Serves Search Warrant on Teen for Twitter Hack

Ex-Fed Chief Yellen Defends Rate Increases Under Her Watch

Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen defended the rate increases executed during her term as head of the U.S. central bank, saying they were not enough to derail the expansion then underway.

“We saw ourselves as having our foot firmly on the gas pedal,” and raising rates represented easing up a bit, Yellen said during an online panel Tuesday hosted by the Brookings Institution. “It was by no means the case that we slammed on the brakes.”

The Fed began raising interest rates off zero in December 2015 when unemployment stood at 5.1% and year-on-year inflation was just 0.3%. When she left office in 2018, the federal funds rate sat in a range of 1.25% to 1.5%.

The Fed last week unveiled a new monetary policy strategy that will take a more relaxed approach toward inflation, which has long run below their 2% target, and allow unemployment to run lower than they previously tolerated.

Shortly before the panel, Fed Governor Lael Brainard said the new framework, had it been in place in 2015 and subsequent years, would have altered the institution’s policy.

The new strategy “would have changed deliberations earlier had all of these factors been well understood,” Brainard said.

Yellen pushed back against that conclusion. “It would have made a small difference,” she said.

Mnuchin: Eviction moratorium to impact close to 40 million U.S. renters

WASHINGTON, Sept 1 (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Trump administration will detail an eviction moratorium later on Tuesday that will affect close to 40 million U.S. renters.

Mnuchin told a U.S. House of Representatives panel that the guidelines are to ensure people “don’t get thrown out of their rental homes” as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mnuchin called the action a “real moratorium” and urged the U.S. Congress to provide rental assistance. (Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Gold Gives Up Early Gains, But Manages To Settle At 2-week High

Gold futures ended at two-week high on Tuesday despite paring some early gains after the greenback recovered some lost ground on encouraging economic data.

The dollar index, which slipped to 91.75 in the Asian session, hitting its lowest level in more than 2 years in the process, rallied to 92.39 around mid-afternoon, and was last seen at 92.30, up 0.17% from the previous close.

Gold futures for December ended up $0.30 or about 0.02% at $1,978.90 an ounce, after reaching a high of $2,001.20 an ounce earlier in the session.

Silver futures for December closed up $0.051 at $28.645 an ounce, while Copper futures for December settled at $3.0285 per pound, down $0.0330 from the previous close.

The dollar recovered after the Institute for Supply Management released a report showing manufacturing activity in the U.S. expanded at a faster rate in the month of August.

The dollar suffered notable losses late last week and on Monday, weighed down by the Federal Reserve’s decision to alter its monetary policy framework to allow for inflation to rise above or below its 2% annual target for longer periods. The Fed had stated that it might hold interest rates at lower levels for a long period.

The ISM said its purchasing managers index rose to 56.0 in August from 54.2 in July, with a reading above 50 indicating growth in manufacturing activity. Economists had expected the index to inch up to 54.5.

PETA slams Elon Musk for implanting brain device in pig

PETA regards Elon Musk as swine for implanting a brain device in a pig as part of a mind-bending invention he believes can cure everything from blindness to quadriplegia.

In a statement, the animal-rights group President Ingrid Newkirk challenged the tech tycoon to “behave like a pioneer and implant the Neurlink chip in his own brain rather than exploiting smart, sensitive pigs who didn’t volunteer for surgery, don’t appreciate that he provides pats and a straw cell, and should be left out of pie-in-the-sky projects.”

On Friday, Musk unveiled a working prototype of his firm’s brain-implant device, which aims to achieve human “symbiosis with artificial intelligence.”

The invention removes a “coin-sized” piece of a person’s skull then injects a tiny chip to assist with the motor control and other functions, he said.

During the demonstration, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX introduced a poor porker named Gertrude, who he said had successfully undergone a trial for installing the device.

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FBI Serves Search Warrant on Teen for Twitter Hack

The FBI on Tuesday served a search warrant on a 16-year-old related to his alleged role in the July 15 hack on Twitter Inc., the New York Times reported.

The youth was believed to have played a significant role in the attack, the Times reported. The attack took over the accounts of some of Twitter’s most prominent users, including Barack Obama and Elon Musk, as part of an alleged crytocurrency scam.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed “law enforcement activity” at the youth’s house in Massachusetts, where the mother told a Bloomberg reporter to leave.

Another teenager, Graham Ivan Clark, a 17-year-old from Florida, was arrested and accused of being the mastermind of the attack. He pleaded not guilty. Two others were charged for their role in the alleged cyber-attack.

The defendants were allegedly part of an underground subculture of hackers dedicated to stealing, buying and selling online accounts with desirable user names.

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