First Ohio County Launches eWarrant System to Strengthen Databases for Better Arrest Information


Meigs County in southeastern Ohio’s Appalachian region is leading the way among counties in the state to make law enforcement easier, if not safer, for officers and citizens.

Gov. Mike DeWine, law enforcement officials, and Meigs County court officials announced on July 6 that the county was going active with the state’s new eWarrant System.

The goal and mission of the program are for faster input and access to arrest warrant information, including on protection orders, state and federal background checks, and Tier I crime offenders (sexual-related crimes), through the a database that can be accessed state-wide.

Meigs County, which has a population of slightly more than 22,000, is the first of Ohio’s 88 counties to sign on to the $4.7 million state-funded eWarrant project that was awarded to Dayton, Ohio-based Lexis Nexis, which provides data analytic services and databases. InnovateOhio, which coordinates and shares data and resources across the state, coordinated the development of the new eWarrants database between the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the Ohio Department of Administrative Services.

All counties are being encouraged by the Department of Public Safety to get on board with the program, as the state works with the 19 vendors to integrate the system to make it more compatible for everyone to access for the latest information on who the potentially dangerous criminals are.

Within minutes after an arrest warrant is issued, the new information is added to the warrant databases, such as LEADS (Law Enforcement Automated Data System) and NCIC (National Crime Information Center). These databases that are used by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, and can also be shared with other state and federal agencies.

The Extra Edge

Given the current environment in the United States, involving the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and the shooting during the July 4 parade in Highland Park, Illinois, that left seven dead, more up-to-date information in the system can make it safer for an officer to know who they are dealing with when making a traffic stop or serving a warrant. It also can allow an officer to see who could be in possession of a firearm when they shouldn’t be.

“We need to have an extra edge,” Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood said. “When warrants and other important information aren’t in the system, it creates a public safety problem.”

During a press conference at the unveiling of the program, DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted described it as “easy and free,” but said that steps need to be taken by the state’s General Assembly to make it mandatory. Upgrades are also needed for systems like in some courts, where warrant information is still recorded on typewriters.

“Having this system is critical in helping court clerks, law enforcement officers, and gun shop owners have more information in a timely manner,” DeWine said.

Updating the System

Soon after taking office in 2019, DeWine ordered the development of the eWarrants technology after an analysis by his Warrant Task Force discovered that an untold number of Ohio arrest warrants and protection orders were slow to be or were never entered into LEADS and NCIC. That was because of the fragmented, inefficient, and technologically-obsolete warrant entry practices in use by many courts and law enforcement agencies in Ohio, according to information from DeWine’s office.

Since 2019, the number of Ohio warrants entered in NCIC by Ohio law enforcement agencies has increased from 18,117 in March 2019 to 220,206 in June 2022. DeWine’s administration also created the Ohio Prisoner Extradition Reimbursement Program, which reimburses local agencies for the cost of extraditing dangerous wanted offenders who have been arrested out-of-state or in another jurisdiction on an outstanding warrant.

“Databases are only as good as the information that is put in them, whether it’s accurate, or whether that information has been put in there at all,” Dewine said during a press conference at the program’s unveiling. “When a criminal or someone with an outstanding warrant that isn’t in the system crosses the (Ohio) river into West Virginia or in Kentucky, and a law enforcement officer happens to pull them over, it makes for a dangerous situation if that officer doesn’t have the information to know who they are dealing with.

“It is critical information for officers to know when they make a traffic stop,” DeWine added. “In some cases, it can be a matter of life or death. Agencies that use the eWarrants interface will be able to get up-to-date, comprehensive information into the hands of law enforcement nationwide almost immediately so that they can better protect the public, protect themselves, and prevent the illegal purchase of firearms. This is critical in helping court clerks, law enforcement officers, and gun shop store owners have information in a more timely manner.”

Down to 12 Minutes

Meigs County Court of Common Pleas has reduced its bench warrant filing time to as little as 12 minutes, as opposed to the previous days-long process that involved the hand-to-hand transfer of paperwork between agencies and duplicative data entry into multiple case management systems, according to Judge Linda Warner.

“We know time and information matter,” Warner said. “We want to be faster and provide a more seamless way of doing this.”

In addition to Meigs County, Champaign County in southwestern Ohio signed on to the eWarrant program on June 29.

The sentiments of Champaign County Deputy Sheriff Gretchen Lapp, who oversees the department’s civil division, echoed Meigs County officials.

“Number 1, this is about safety,” Lapp told The Epoch Times. “This system helps us streamline everything, and captures information on someone’s history. When we see their history, we know what they’ve done in the past, or what they have an active warrant for. This helps provide real-time information and more situational awareness.

“We’re hoping our neighboring counties sign up for this and this becomes more active across the state in the near future.”

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Michael Sakal is an Epoch Times reporter who covers the state of Ohio.



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Is California’s Water Crisis Man-Made?

Californians are very familiar with water preservation. But why exactly do we need to be so cautious with our water usage? Experts tell us enough water hits our state in a given year to comfortably supply everyone’s needs. That begs the next question: Then where does the water go?

Darcy Burke, president of Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District, explains why a court ruling is restricting the amount of water we capture and distribute, and how California struggles to find a balance between environmental, agricultural, and urban water distribution.

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Witness Exposes China’s Organ Harvesting; Ethan Gutmann Details New Organ Harvesting Findings

A witness of China’s organ harvesting, a former gang member from Japan told The Epoch Times exclusively what he saw in a Chinese transplant hospital, as well as the execution of prisoners of conscience for their organs and China’s sudden boom in organ transplants. I spoke with Ethan Gutmann, a long-time investigator of China’s organ harvesting against Falun Gong adherents, Uyghur Muslims, and other religious groups, about his view of the methods and ways in which the Chinese regime is running this dark operation. 

 

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Man Charged With Murder in Overdose Deaths of Model, Her Friend


LOS ANGELES—A Beverly Hills man who was already facing sex-related counts involving seven women over a 13-year period has been charged with murder in the overdose deaths of a model and her friend, who were dumped outside Southland hospitals last November, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced July 5.

David Brian Pearce, 40, was arrested last December but was not immediately charged in the deaths of Christy Giles, a 24-year-old model and aspiring actress, and her friend Hilda Marcela Cabrales-Arzola, 26. But he had remained jailed in connection with a series of unrelated alleged sexual assaults.

The charges initially involved alleged crimes against four women, with alleged felony crimes against three other women in 2007, 2019, and 2020 included later.

Pearce is set to be arraigned next Monday on the two murder charges, along with two new felony counts of sale/transportation/offer to sell a controlled substance—fentanyl.

“I realize that this will not bring any comfort necessarily to the Arzola family or the Giles family, but it will bring accountability,” Gascón said at a news conference announcing the charges.

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón speaks at a press conference in Los Angeles on June 21, 2022. (NTD Television)

Pearce’s attorney, Jacob Glucksman, countered, “Similar to the other charges, in this case, the evidence on the new counts appears to be extremely weak, and because there’s smoke the D.A. is trying to find some fire.”

The deaths of the model and her friend were classified earlier this year as homicides by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner, with toxicology reports finding multiple drugs present in both victims’ systems.

According to the department, Giles died of a mixture of cocaine, fentanyl, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, and ketamine, while Cabrales-Arzola died of multiple organ failure with cocaine, ecstasy, and other undetermined drugs found in her system.

Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, or GHB, is also known as the “date rape drug,” according to the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration.

The two women were last seen at an apartment in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood before their bodies were dumped, Giles outside Southern California Hospital in Culver City and Cabrales-Arzola outside Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Hospital.

Giles was already dead when she was found outside the hospital last Nov. 13. Cabrales-Arzola, an architect, was alive but in critical condition. Her family took her off life support later that month, a day before her 27th birthday.

Giles’s mother, Dusty, wrote on Facebook that she hoped the coroner’s findings would lead to criminal charges being filed over the women’s deaths.

“While we, her family all along knew and felt strongly our baby was murdered, it is now officially listed as her cause of death!” Dusty Giles posted earlier. “With this, our prayers are the L.A. County D.A.’s Office will move quickly and swiftly on re-arresting ALL parties involved, and this time PRESS THE CHARGES! Please keep us all in your thoughts and prayers.”

Two other men, Brandt Osborn, 42, and Michael Ansbach, 47, were each booked on suspicion of being an accessory to manslaughter in connection with the deaths of Giles and Cabrales-Arzola but were later released from custody while the investigation continued. Osborn has since been charged with two counts of accessory after the fact with knowledge of the crime, according to the latest criminal complaint.

During the news conference on Tuesday announcing the newest charges against Pearce, the district attorney asked any other potential victims to notify the Los Angeles Police Department’s West Homicide Bureau at 213-382-9740 or the District Attorney’s Office at 877-542-9370.

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Twitter Suspends Zelenko’s Foundation Account One Day After Doctor’s Death


Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, a Nobel prize-nominated physician who famously discovered and distributed an early treatment protocol for COVID, dubbed the “Zelenko Protocol,” passed away from cancer on June 30, 2022.

The next day, some Twitter users started taking note of the suspension of the account of the Zelenko Freedom Foundation, a group dedicated “to provide funding to social entities and social activities surrounding education, leadership development, health literacy, advocacy, public policy, social, health and community development,” according to their website.

“It is no secret that big tech abhors free speech and instead worships at the altar of Marxist collectivism and group-think. The Silicon Valley speech cartel has sunk to new lows when twitter suspended the Zelenko Freedom Foundation account less than 24 hours after the passing of Dr. Vladimir Zelenko,” co-chair of the Zelenko Freedom Foundation, Ann Vandersteel, told The Epoch Times.

She maintains that no one from Twitter reached out to verify who was managing the account.

“If they had bothered to do even the most basic of inquiries they would have learned that the account was run by the foundation, not by Dr. Zelenko. The account wasn’t established for some end around their ridiculous ban of Dr. Zelekno, the account was established to represent the interests of the Foundation, which is committed to investing in individuals and technologies that will save and extend the lives of people all across the globe,” she said.

Vandersteel thinks that the suspension of the foundation’s account was done for “no reason other than petty vindictiveness.”

“The question is, what does Elon Musk think? Does he believe in saving lives or does he want those lifesaving technologies silenced?”

Zelenko had been practicing in Monroe, New York, in 2020 during the outbreak of COVID-19, and is credited with having treated about 7,500 patients with his method.

Dr. Vladimir Zelenko. (Courtesy of the Zelenko Freedom Foundation)

Zelenko could not sit back and wait for politicians and health officials to agree on prescribed treatments, so he came up with the “Zelenko Protocol”—a combination of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), zinc, azithromycin, and other drugs, including steroids, and later informed then-President Donald Trump about it via a letter.

The other co-chair of the foundation, Kevin Jenkins, told The Epoch Times that the suspension reminded him of a Martin Luther King quote:

“All we say to America is ‘be true to what’s on paper.’ If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand some of these illegal injunctions. Maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privilege, because they haven’t committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right. And so, just as I say, we aren’t going to let dogs or water hoses turn us around; we aren’t going to let any injunction turn us around.”

“When Ann and I spoke with Dr. Zelenko, regarding the mission of this Foundation he said, ‘I want the truth to spread like a mantra!’” Jenkins said.

“Our team at the Zelenko Freedom Foundation will stay true to Dr. Zelenko and Dr. King! We will fight to the end to save humanity! Come join us Zfreedomfoundation.com. Dr. Zelenko’s dream will not be deferred!” he added.

The Epoch Times reached out to Twitter for comment.

Enrico Trigoso

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Enrico Trigoso is an Epoch Times reporter focusing on the NYC area.





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‘Hooks Are In:’ Father Says Daughter Was Manipulated Online Before Disappearance


An Edmonton man says his daughter was fun-loving and kind but started to change as the 13-year-old got caught up in psychological games with an older man online.

Noah Madrano, 40, was arrested by FBI agents in Oregon a week after the girl was reported missing. He is charged with rape, sexual abuse and kidnapping and is to appear again in Oregon City court July 12.

“Your kids are safer playing in the park than they are playing on the internet,” the girl’s father said in an interview Wednesday.

The Canadian Press is not identifying the man or his daughter.

The father said his family has child controls on all their electronics and had talked about internet safety. They also monitored the girl’s tablet.

His daughter’s personality started shifting about a year ago, he said, and she became even more isolated just before she disappeared. In recent weeks, he had spoken with her about how different her online persona was compared to how she acted in person.

He thought maybe it was teen angst. Maybe his daughter was trying to figure herself out and this was just a phase.

Little did he know, the father said, that a stranger in another country was part of the problem.

The father said he isn’t sure how their communication began. But they had conversations on multiple popular social media platforms.

The man gained a bit of trust with his daughter, the father said. “Then his hooks are in.”

The father alleges the man broke down his daughter’s spirit and self-worth, then used manipulation to isolate her from friends and family and her social network.

When his daughter’s self-esteem was crushed, the man welcomed her into his world, the father said. The man told her he loved her and accepted her.

The girl was last seen arriving at her junior high school but she didn’t show up for class. She was reported missing June 24. Police said it is believed the suspect travelled to Edmonton, but it’s not clear how the girl crossed the U.S. border.

The father said at first the family thought she was at a friend’s house. But it quickly became clear something serious had happened. The family was terrified, the father said.

The girl was missing for more than a week before she was found Saturday in Oregon.

When the father was reunited with his daughter, they hugged and cried, he said. But the ordeal isn’t over.

Everything is stressful, he said. Going to see a doctor means rehashing all the awful things that happened to her. There are also interviews with police and future court dates.

“It’s a long road ahead,” the father said. “I really don’t know exactly what’s going to happen.”

Experts say the cross-border kidnapping case is rare, but there has been an alarming increase in reports of children being lured online.

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection, which runs the national tip line for reporting online child sexual abuse, said there has been a 120 percent increase in reports of online child luring over the last six months.

“What I’ve realized is there is no regulation, no control of the internet whatsoever,” the father said.

Experts say one in three internet users in the world is a child—one in five in Canada. Many countries are pressuring social media companies to ensure platforms are safe for young people.

Canada has created an online safety advisory council to form a regulatory framework to address harmful content online.

The father said his family saw how great social media can be when they were looking for the teen. But it’s clear, he added, that there’s also a sinister and dangerous side to the internet.

“I feel that social media and internet companies, they owe it to the world,” he said.

“This is making people extremely unsafe and we need to do something.”

By Kelly Geraldine Malone

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IG Says DOL made $77.2 Billion in Improper Unemployment Insurance Payments in 2021


More than $77 billion of the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program’s total of $413 billion in payments in 2021 were made improperly, according to the Inspector General (IG) for the Department of Labor (DOL).

The DOL “published an improper payment rate of 18.71 percent for the UI program, which resulted in an estimated $77.2 billion in reported gross improper payments,” the IG reported. The improper payment rate for the previous year was 9.17 percent, equal to approximately $37.8 billion.

“Additionally, DOL published an unknown payment rate of 0.21 percent, which resulted in estimated unknown payments of $865 million. These estimates were based on a statistical estimation approach that met a 95 percent confidence level, plus or minus 3 percent,” the report said.

The IG report was prompted by requirements of the Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019, which requires federal departments and agencies to establish and report to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) improper payment rates in government benefit programs, as well as annual targets for reducing those rates.

The 18.71 percent rate of improper UI payments in 2021 represents a significant increase for the program, which saw a steadily improving trend during the previous four years of President Donald Trump’s administration.

Rep. Rick Allen (R-Ga.), a member of the House Education and Labor Committee, told The Epoch Times on July 6 that he is co-sponsoring legislation to address examples of wasteful federal spending like that highlighted by the IG report.

“It’s unacceptable that criminals utilized a global health crisis to defraud the United States government’s unemployment programs. Even worse, the misguided Biden administration policies, which discouraged people from going back to work, incentivized scammers to steal more money from the American taxpayer,” Allen said.

“Congress must now fulfill its oversight duties and help hold these criminals accountable. I am a proud co-sponsor of [Texas Republican] Rep. Kevin Brady’s Chase Covid Unemployment Fraud Act, which would empower the states to recover the money lost to fraud.”

Brady is the top Republican on the House Ways & Means Committee that oversees unemployment insurance.

The rate at the end of the first year of Trump’s tenure was 12.11 percent. The rate increased to 12.63 percent the following year, but then plunged to 10.21 percent in 2019, and to 2020’s 9.17 percent, according to data provided by paymentaccuracy.gov.

The IG did not offer an analysis to account for the doubling of the improper payment rate in only the first year of President Joe Biden’s administration, except to note that DOL included within the UI program expenditures made under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program.

Both the FPUC and PEUC programs were included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020, the $2.2 trillion emergency legislation approved by Congress and signed into law by Trump in March 2020.

The purpose of the CARES legislation was to provide a massive economic stimulus to offset the slowdown in the national economy that resulted from the emergency measures enacted by the government in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic that has to date killed more than 1 million Americans. The virus is also known as COVID-19.

Under the CARES Act, the FPUC and PEUC provided $600 per week in additional federally funded unemployment benefits through July 2020. The program was extended but with a reduced weekly benefit of $300, which expired on Sept. 6, 2021.

The IG report was prepared by KMPG LLP under contract to the government.

In response to the report, DOL acknowledged that the inclusion of the CARES Act programs makes it difficult to measure improper payments, but insisted that the figures it provided to OMB were accurate as presented, but could include an over-estimate of the improper payments under the regular unemployment insurance program.

The department said it will revise its calculations in preparation for the next assessment and pledged to “take the IG’s concern, which we share, in this [revised] methodology to ensure transparent, accurate and cost-effective reporting of this expired program.”

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US Capitol Police Urge Judge to Block Jan. 6 Defendant’s Request to Measure Parts of Capitol


Letting a Jan. 6, 2021, defendant photograph and measure parts of the U.S. Capitol not normally open to the public would endanger the security of the building, the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) told a judge this week.

“Allowing a defendant to take the requested measurements would compromise the security of the U.S. Capitol by exposing security features and vulnerabilities,” Sean Gallagher, the USCP’s acting assistant chief for uniformed services, said in a filing.

The rare affidavit was lodged after Daniel Egtvedt, the defendant, through his lawyers asked that the government be forced to let the lawyers and a defense investigator access to multiple non-public areas of the building.

The access is needed to prepare the defense for Egtvedt’s upcoming trial, the lawyers said in a motion.

Tours

Kira West and Nicole Cubbage, the lawyers, have taken part in two tours of the Capitol in preparation for defending Egtvedt and others, but there was a dispute over entering a space called the Hall of Columns and inspecting the Senate Wing Doors, located at the end of the upper west terrace and breached during the Capitol breach.

A list handed to the lawyers during the tour said the Senate doors were non-public. Despite the Hall of Columns being listed as public, the attorneys say they were blocked from entering.

The lawyers want to inspect, photograph, and measure the areas as they prepare for the upcoming trial, which has been repeatedly delayed and is currently scheduled to start on Dec. 5.

Egtvedt was captured on surveillance cameras entering the doors at approximately 2:48 p.m. on Jan. 6 and proceeding into the hall.

The USCP’s lawyers rejected the attempts to enter the hall and inspect the doors “because of established protocols with our oversight and the House and Senate,” West and Cubbage said in the motion to compel the government to allow access. “Access to the areas stated in the attached letter to government counsel are necessary and relevant to producing evidence for use at trial in Mr. Egtvedt’s defense,” they wrote.

An individual identified by prosecutors as Daniel Egtvedt walks inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Daniel Egtvedt via The Epoch Times)

Video

Prosecutors and Gallagher, the USCP official, argue that providing the lawyers with the tours and video footage that shows Egtvedt’s movements on Jan. 6 is sufficient.

“The government has provided the defense with extensive discovery, in the form of organized crime scene walk throughs and thousands of hours of video footage from January 6, 2021, that enable the defendant to ‘inspect’ the U.S. Capitol,” Colleen Kukowski, an assistant U.S. attorney, wrote in opposition to the defense motion.

She said the defense lawyers had failed to show the images and measurements are material to preparing for the trial.

Gallagher and the prosecutor said granting the motion would endanger Capitol security.

Allowing the defense to measure distances “would provide a wealth of information to an adversary who might wish to calculate blast distances,’ the ability to fly a drone within the building or how large of a group could quickly pass through the hallways, to name but a few security risks,” Gallagher said.

Federal law says that related “security information,” or sensitive information related to the Capitol, can only be released with authorization from the Capitol Police Board, which does not often clear such a release.

Not Enough

But the video provided is not enough because the recordings are “incomplete and prejudicial to the defendant,” the defendant’s lawyers said.

“The perspective of these videos is skewed due to the angle of the camera. This distorts distances between objects in an unreliable way. The inaccuracies may alter the weight that might be given to testimony about these videos and especially about distances between objects and persons viewed on them. Similarly, body worn camera creates difficulties in assessing true distances between objects and officers and cannot be used reliably in this regard,” they wrote.

Egtvedt is accused of illegally entering the Capitol before clashing with law enforcement officers. He has been charged with assault of a federal officer, obstruction of Congress, and disorderly conduct, among other counts.

The measurements are crucial to figuring out the distance between an officer who sprayed Egtvedt with chemical spray, and the time needed to traverse the path he allegedly took that day, according to the defense.

West declined to comment. She told The Epoch Times in an email she did not know when the court would rule on the matter.

Zachary Stieber

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Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.



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Federal Reserve Could Adopt ‘More Restrictive’ Policy If Elevated Inflation Persists


The Federal Reserve might adopt a “more restrictive” policy in the future should inflation persist, minutes from the June Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) policy meeting revealed (pdf).

According to the latest minutes, FOMC participants conceded that there is a substantial risk of entrenched inflation, with the inflation outlook deteriorating. This, officials argued, required a three-quarter-point rate hike.

The central bank thinks inflation will remain above 2 percent for quite sometime.

On the broader economy, most FOMC members anticipate downside risks to economic growth, warning that the Fed’s rate hikes may have a larger-than-expected effect on the overall economy.

“Participants concurred that the economic outlook warranted moving to a restrictive stance of policy, and they recognized the possibility that an even more restrictive stance could be appropriate if elevated inflation pressures were to persist,” the minutes stated.

“Many participants judged that a significant risk now facing the Committee was that elevated inflation could become entrenched if the public began to question the resolve of the Committee to adjust the stance of policy as warranted,” the minutes stated.

The Fed also trimmed its growth forecast for the rest of the year, projecting that the GDP will expand just 1.7 percent in 2022, down from 2.8 percent expectation earlier this year.

The Fed does believe the economy expanded in the second quarter, growth in business fixed investment “appeared to be slowing” and housing sector activity “appeared to be softening.”

“Correspondingly, participants indicated that they had revised down their projections of real GDP growth for this year, consistent with ongoing supply chain disruptions and tighter financial conditions,” the summary of the Fed meeting stated. “Participants noted that the imbalance between supply and demand across a wide range of product markets was contributing to upward pressure on inflation. They saw an appropriate firming of monetary policy and associated tighter financial conditions as playing a central role in helping address this imbalance and in supporting the Federal Reserve’s goals of maximum employment and price stability.”

Financial markets were little changed following the minutes as the leading benchmark indexes traded flat. The U.S. Treasury market mostly green, with the benchmark 10-year yield up 9.9 basis points to 2.908 percent.

The U.S. Dollar Index (DXY), which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, remained above 107.00, a more than 20-year high.

In recent weeks, the Fed has turned ultra-hawkish to combat rampant price inflation.

Last month, the central bank raised the benchmark rate by 75 basis points, the biggest increase since 1994. According to the CME FedWatch Tool and signals from Fed officials, the FOMC is poised to pull the trigger on another three-quarter-point hike this month. The market is also penciling in a 50-basis-point increase at the September policy meeting.

The FOMC will host its next two-day meeting on July 27 and 28.

Powell has insisted that the Fed’s primary concern right now is to achieve price stability. Although the aim is to engineer a soft landing for the U.S. economy, Powell conceded during a panel discussion with other central bank leaders at a European Central Bank (ECB) policy conference in Sintra, Portugal, that there is “no guarantee” that it will be accomplished.

After the June meeting, the Fed updated its dot plot, a signal of its outlook on interest rates (pdf). It revealed that the median year-end forecast for the federal funds rate was raised to 3.4 percent. The estimate for the end of 2023 was increased to 3.8 percent.

Despite the path of rate hikes that the Fed is laying, futures trading shows that investors are anticipating that the institution will cut interest rates next year after peaking at about 3.4 percent by February. Traders believe the Fed’s rate will decline to 2.7 percent by December 2023, expecting that monetary stimulus will be used to resuscitate growth and support the stock market.

Over the past month, recession fears have intensified as an influx of data paint a negative portrait of the U.S. economy.

Personal spending rose at a less-than-expected pace of 0.2 percent in May. The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing PMI fell short of market expectations, clocking in at 53 last month. Construction spending slipped 0.1 percent in May, while various regional manufacturing surveys contracted at exceptional levels.

These concerns have accelerated the selloff in many asset classes in the financial markets. The debate on Wall Street now is about how severe an economic downturn could be. But it is evident that the Fed is causing the hemorrhaging, says Matt Kishlansky, the principal head of asset allocation at GenTrust.

“Market participants have spent the past few months watching the economy choking on inflation,” he wrote in a research note Tuesday. “The choking has gotten worse the past 30 days. The Fed has stood up in the middle of a crowded restaurant and is attempting to pull off an economic Heimlich maneuver, to squeeze really hard and hope it works. We’re all confident they can stop the choking, but like all the diners at nearby tables, market participants are taking cover because they think the result is likely to be a big mess. And I think it’s pretty hard for everyone else to just go on with their meal until the whole thing plays out.”

During the trading session on Tuesday, the spread between the 2-year and 10-year yields dipped below zero three times.

The yield curve inversion is a chief recession indicator since it indicates that the long-term economic outlook is bleak because the short-term rate is higher than the long-term one. The tool has predicted all but one recession since 1955.

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Andrew Moran covers business, economics, and finance. He has been a writer and reporter for more than a decade in Toronto, with bylines on Liberty Nation, Digital Journal, and Career Addict. He is also the author of “The War on Cash.”



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Some 440 Inmates on Run After Suspected Boko Haram Raid on Nigeria Prison


ABUJA—Around 440 inmates are on the run after a suspected raid by Boko Haram terrorists on a prison in Nigeria’s capital Abuja on Tuesday night, an interior ministry official said.

The raid, and a separate ambush on an advance convoy of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari—who was not present—heading to his hometown in the northern state of Katsina, highlights Nigeria’s going security challenges, especially in northern regions where armed insurgents and gangs are rife.

Shuaib Belgore, permanent secretary at the interior ministry, told journalists outside the Abuja prison— which has 900 inmates—that a security officer was killed during the raid and three others were injured.

He said the suspected Boko Haram terrorists came for members who were held in the prison.

“They came specifically for their co-conspirators, but in order to get them …, some of them are in the general (prison) population so they broke out and other people in that population escaped as well but many of them have returned,” Belgore said.

A total of 879 inmates fled, the prison service said in a statement, with 443 still at large and the rest recaptured. It said four inmates were dead and 16 others injured.

“They have reported themselves to the police, some we have successfully retrieved from the bushes where they were hiding,” Belgore said.

Outside the prison, the charred remains of several vehicles with bullet holes were seen on Wednesday morning, attesting to gunbattles in the vicinity during the raid.

A helicopter hovered overhead as armed security officials brought in a shirtless inmate limping with a gaping wound on his leg, while another injured inmate was carried into the prison.

Buhari was not in the convoy of cars carrying an advanced team of security guards, protocol, and media officers heading to the president’s hometown Daura, near the border with Niger, to prepare for the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday.

“The attackers opened fire on the convoy from ambush positions but were repelled by the military, police, and security personnel accompanying the convoy,” a presidential spokesman said in a statement.

By Abraham Achirga

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