World News

US Senate Confirms Janet Yellen as New Central Bank Chief



The U.S. Senate has confirmed Janet Yellen as the new chair of the country's central bank, making her one of the most powerful figures in world economic circles.

Monday's vote was 56 to 26. A simple majority was all that was needed to confirm.

President Barack Obama says the American people will have in Yellen a fierce champion who he says understands that the goal of financial policy is improving the lives and jobs of workers and their families.

Yellen will be the first woman to head the 100-year-old Federal Reserve, replacing Ben Bernanke, whose eight-year tenure expires at the end of January.

The head of the Federal Reserve often has influenced world economic decisions. Economists predict that the 67-year-old Yellen, the Fed's current vice chair, will continue many of Bernanke's policies. They both have called for a gradual end to the central bank's direct support of the U.S. economy, and continued low interest rates.



The chief economist at the country's biggest bank, James Glassman of JPMorgan Chase, tells VOA that Federal Reserve policies will be shaped by the performance of the world's largest economy as it recovers from its steep recession in 2008 and 2009.



"It's all going to be guided by how well the economy performs, how quickly the labor market improves, how successful the Fed is in getting inflation back up to the 2 percent level that they, every one of them embraces as the right goal to have."



The Federal Reserve has been buying billions of dollars of securities to pump more money into the economy to boost job growth and keep long-term interest rates low. But the central bank has begun to trim the purchases, cutting them from the $85 billion a month it had made for more than a year to $75 billion this month.

Glassman sees that direct stimulus of the U.S. economy coming to an end.



"In the markets, we anticipate that this will wind down over the course of the year, so that by fall, they'll be done with it."



When President Barack Obama nominated Yellen three months ago, she said many American workers suffered during the downturn, often laid off from long-time jobs as the economy weakened.



"Too many Americans still cannot find a job and worry how they will pay their bills and provide for their families."



Since then, the U.S. economy has advanced. The unemployment rate has dipped to a five-year low of 7 percent, a figure that is still a percentage point or more above the country's historical standards. But employers have been adding about 200,000 jobs a month.

The Federal Reserve is predicting that the U.S. economy will steadily grow in 2014, an assessment Glassman agrees with. He is predicting growth of more than 3 percent this year, compared to about 2 percent in recent years, and an even faster advance in 2015.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs