Treasury was wrong on inflation
Welcome to The Free Press Report’s Monday Digest. This week a lot has happened - the treasury was wrong on inflation, Dems continue their tuition fee hypocrisy, and Italy’s 1% complain that people aren’t working hard enough. Read on for more of the stories you might have missed
Yellen admits “I was wrong” on inflation as the treasury chief finally owns up to government’s disastrous misjudgement of rising prices in the last quarter of 2021. In an interview on CNN, Yellen confessed that she “didn’t fully understand” the economy at the end of last year - a period in which rates markets and confidence polls all anticipated prolonged high inflation, whilst the fed and treasury insisted that inflation was transitory. Nonetheless, Yellen still believes that “steady and stable” growth will come naturally, and that the worst of inflation is behind us [BBG]
California Democrat hiked tuition fees at his local college whilst decrying student loan “crisis”. Jay Chen served on the Mt. San Antonio College board of trustees since 2015, and has voted three times in favor of raising nonresident tuition fees. Yet on the campaign trail, he branded student loan debt as “one of the biggest crises faced by our country”. He defended his decision to raise non-resident costs at Mt. San Antonio, which increased 45% since 2015, by claiming that most students pay in-state costs - which only rose 32% in the same period [WFB]
NY Mayor maintains grip over education system as state legislators extended Eric Adams’s control of New York City schools by two years. Parents, employee unions, and advocacy groups all opposed the renewal, criticizing rampant inequality and dysfunction in the state’s education system under Adams [BBG]
Reagan shooter given unconditional release 41 years after attempting to assassinate the US President. John Hinckley was released from psychiatric hospital in 2016, and has since been allowed partial freedoms, remaining “mentally stable and asymptomatic”. Now, all internet and travel restrictions will be lifted. Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis criticized Hinckley’s release, accusing him of feeling no remorse over the shooting [Reuters]
2.6 million unemployed Italians have given up looking for work. At a gathering for the country’s economic elite in the historic Palazzo Koch, Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco complained that poor Italians weren’t bothering to look for work. Perhaps workers are deterred by low wages, an ineffectual education system, and institutionalized sexism keeping women out of the workforce. Visco, however, blamed their “mindset” [BBG]
Five dead in Germany train crash, with another 44 injured. The regional passenger train carrying about 140 passengers derailed in the alpine region of Bavaria on Friday. The cause of the crash is not yet certain, nor can investigators rule out discovering further casualties [Reuters]
Tunisia’s anti-democracy president fires 57 judges, accusing them of corruption as he strengthens his one-man rule. Kais Saied dismissed the elected government last summer, claiming he needed authoritarian powers to “save Tunisia from crisis”. But public support has waned as the economy continues to struggle, and Saied has resorted to attacking the judiciary in an attempt to cement his power [Reuters]
French President Macron begs Ukraine not to “humiliate” Russia, hopes to “build a way out through diplomatic channels”. Liberal Macron may be hoping to position himself as a mediator between Russia and Europe, citing the “100 hours’ worth” of conversations he had with Putin since December 2021. Ukraine foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba replied that Macron’s statement “can only humiliate France” [Al Jazeera]
Social and Business
Fat-Finger trade costs Citigroup $50 million. A worker in London accidentally typed an extra zero whilst working from home during a bank holiday in May, causing a five-minute flash-crash in the early hours of trading on the Swedish stock markets. Markets across Europe sunk by as much as $322 billion. Now, insiders at Citi have estimated the company will face a $50mm loss, in addition to the costs of investigating and overhauling their internal algorithms, and increased regulatory scrutiny [BBG]
Meta COO steps down after 14 years. Sheryl Sandberg oversaw the monetization of Facebook, turning “a really cool site” into one of America’s most profitable companies. She has recently faced an investigation about alleged attempts to cover up a news story about her former boyfriend, although a Meta spokesperson claims this is not the reason she is leaving. Sandberg described her time at Meta as “not the most manageable job”. She will remain on Meta’s board of directors [BBG]
Amber Heard found guilty of defamation against ex-husband Johnny Depp, must pay over $10 million in damages. The jury found that Heard had “acted with malice” when writing an unsubstantiated essay for the Washington Post in 2018, in which she implied that Depp had abused her during their relationship. Depp was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, which was reduced to the state’s statutory limit of $350,000 [CNBC]
Japan’s Stablecoin bill will end crypto decentralization, allegedly aims to protect investors. Only licensed banks, registered money transfer agents and trust companies will be allowed to issue stablecoins, which must be linked to an a legal tender, typically the yen, and redeemable at face value [BBG]
Durable Nonce Bug brings down Solana for four hours. SOL fell 11% for the day on fears over the issue, which has not yet been fixed. The network was re-launched with the durable nonce feature disabled, with a bug fix promised in a future update [Decrypt]
Weed dealing family sentenced for Bitcoin laundering. The Washington state pair were each sentenced to five years in prison for illegally growing and selling marijuana and laundering their $13 million in earnings via cryptocurrency [Decrypt]
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