World News Brief, Thursday October 10

Obama chooses successor to Ben Bernanke; John Kerry pushes for cooling over territorial disputes in South China Sea; ten tonnes of radioactive water may have leaked from Fukushima nuclear plant; US expected to reduce aid to Egypt; voting irregularities found in Guinea; and more

Top of the Agenda: Obama to Nominate Yellen as Fed Chair

President Barack Obama will nominate Janet Yellen to run the U.S. Federal Reserve, ending months of speculation over who will succeed Chairman Ben Bernanke, whose term expires on January 31 (Reuters). Meanwhile, the partial U.S. government shutdown has suspended death benefits for the U.S. military, adding to the suffering of the families of four soldiers who died in Afghanistan on Sunday (USA Today). Investor concern about a potential U.S. default deepened on Tuesday, doubling short-term borrowing costs by the Treasury Department to the highest rate since 2008 (WaPo).


"Yellen is quite simply more qualified for the job than any of her predecessors. She's an imaginative and technically adept economist possessed of a brilliant and precise mind. As a researcher, she has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of unemployment and the importance of smoothing out the ups and downs of the economy," writes Justin Wolfers for Bloomberg.

"Staff at the Fed found it amusing to see a Yellen appointment depicted as a soft option compared with the supposedly tempestuous Mr. Summers. She has relentlessly pushed for the Fed to consider new communications policies during the past few years, and sometimes ruffled feathers among the staff," write Robin Harding and Richard McGregor in the Financial Times.

"Never before has America faced a government at war and a government shutdown at the same time. Even if much of America forgets the former while enduring the latter, the grim truth of these dueling realities is that they should not coexist given Washington's central role in prosecuting America's conflicts," writes CFR Senior Fellow Gayle Tzemach Lemmon in Defense One.



Kerry Presses China, Neighbors on Maritime Disputes

U.S. secretary of state John Kerry will urge China's prime minister and ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to cool tensions over territorial disputes in the South China Sea (AP).

This CFR InfoGuide examines maritime disputes in the South and East China Seas.

JAPAN: Ten tons of highly radioactive water may have leaked from the Fukushima nuclear plant, coming into contact with six workers but not reaching the sea, the plant's operator said (Kyodo).


Voting irregularities found in Guinea

US expected to reduce aid to Egypt

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