Yellen set for Senate testimony

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will give the first leg of her semi-annual testimony to the Senate Banking Committee starting at 10am on Tuesday. Marketwatch says Yellen’s testimony “may surprise investors by keeping alive the idea of a June rate hike, which would be seen as a tilt toward the hawkish side.”

Bloomberg says the testimony comes as the Fed is “facing its gravest political threat since the drafters of the Dodd-Frank act tried to strip it of its supervisory powers,” while Reuters reports that local bankers “are joining the fight against a congressional proposal to audit the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy decisions.”

* POLITICS * The clock continues to tick towards a possible shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security, after the Senate failed to pass a funding bill on Monday night because it was tied to repeal of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. The Washington Post reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has set up votes ahead of Friday’s deadline on separate legislation on immigration.

President Obama could veto the Keystone XL pipeline legislation as early as Tuesday, with “no drama or fanfare,” according to the White House.

A New Jersey judge ordered Gov Chris Christie to reverse cuts he made to the state’s public pension system. The ruling  – which the Christie administration will likely appeal – came ahead of the announcement of New Jersey’s 2016 budget on Tuesday. MSNBC‘s Steve Kornacki wraps up Christie’s recent “dreadful headlines” and how a string of bad news could turn dangerous for the Governor’s potential run for the presidency.

* WORLD * The Guardian has a scoop based on leaked Mossad documents showing that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2012 claims on Iran’s ability to build a nuclear bomb was “contradicted by his own secret service.”

netanyahu(image: The Guardian/Tomorrow’s Papers Today)

The story comes as the US and Iran were reported to be making “progress” in talks towards a nuclear deal; while the rhetoric continues ahead of Netanyahu’s planned speech to the US Congress next week, controversially timed around upcoming Israeli elections.

A New York court, meanwhile, ruled that the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization were liable for supporting six terrorist attacks in Israel more than a decade ago.

Greece will send a list of proposed reforms to its EU creditors on Tuesday morning, after it missed Monday’s deadline. The reforms are a condition for extending Greece’s financial lifeline and will be examined by the Eurozone creditors on Tuesday afternoon.

Here, the FT‘s Ralph Atkins and Alastair Wilson of Moody’s discuss the debt outlook for the Eurozone as a whole in the wake of what’s been happening with Greece

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a TV interview that he thought war with Ukraine was “unlikely.” On the ground, though, what is left of the tenuous ceasefire was further diminished when Ukraine’s military said it could not withdraw its heavy weapons while its troops were under attack.

* MEDIA * The back and forth continues in the case of Fox host Bill O’Reilly and allegations of exaggeration in his war reporting. Jeremy Stahl writes at Slate on why O’Reilly “will survive accusations of war reporting puffery when Brian Williams didn’t.”

* BUSINESS * Existing home sales in the US fell to a nine-month low in January, according to data released Monday. New home sales numbers are released later this week. Bloomberg writes:

While rising property values boost homeowner wealth and spending power, too-rapid increases are outstripping wage gains, representing a hurdle for young or first-time buyers. Nonetheless, strengthening employment, historically low mortgage rates, more expensive rents and easier financing will probably sustain demand and give sales a boost this year over last.

* CULTURE * As you’d expect, there was plenty of reaction to Sunday night’s Oscars show. The audience for the ABC telecast was down by more than 6million viewers on last year, Forbes reports, indicating a “growing gap between moviegoers and Academy,” says the NYT.

The New York Times editorial board has had enough of this winter. Bryanna Cappadona at Boston Magazine thanks them for the “poetic snow-congested melodrama.”

* SPORTS * The Uefa Champions League resumes on Tuesday with Barcelona traveling to Manchester City in the last 16 first leg as Luis Suarez returns to England.

In Italian domestic football, meanwhile, the financial outlook for Serie A’s bottom team Parma isn’t pretty.

In the other kind of “football” coverage of the Scouting Combines have been racking up huge TV audiences for the NFL Network, driven by a growing legion of Fantasy team managers.

It’s 42 days until Baseball Opening Day, with a taste on Monday of how the A-Rod story might unfold over the coming weeks. One of the most sought-after young players, 19-year-old Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada looks set to sign for the Boston Red Sox in the next few days. But his path to the show might be set for a different turn, as the Pawtucket Red Sox have been sold and could be moving to Providence.

With news that new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred may be looking at cutting the number of games in the regular season, Brian Costa writes at the WSJ about how to save players from fatigue, reporting that less than 9% of position players last year played in more than 150 games, the lowest such percentage ever.

So, as full squads report to spring training in Florida and Arizona this week, teams aren’t worried so much about hitters being ready for Opening Day. They’re worried about keeping them fresh for the stretch run, and they’re exploring myriad new ways to boost their endurance.

Finally, Sunday was the 35th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice and the members of the USA team reunited – at Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid – over the weekend.

One of the things that has become blurred in the relatively short time – but certainly an era in other ways – since that remarkable victory was that the US television broadcast – from a US Olympics – was on tape delay. The game was shown live on Canadian TV, and in the Soviet Union, but was held for prime time by ABC, after the network had tried unsuccessfully to shift the time of the face-off. As Sports Illustrated‘s Joe Posnanski wrote at the 30th anniversary:

Funny, a lot of people still think they saw the game live. But I know that one of my strongest memories — confirmed by the tape — was of [Jim] McKay saying that it was tape delay and that if even one person did not know the outcome, well, he wasn’t going to be the one to break the news. I have seen polls through the years that suggested most of the people who watched the game on television did not know the outcome. I know that my father and I did not. That shows you how long ago 1980 was in terms of technology. There’s no way you could keep that a secret now.


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