"The economic projections accompanying the [Fed's] statement suggest a significant divergence of views about the prospects for recovery and the outlook for interest rates. It suggests little concern about a rapidly increasing balance sheet. What comes next depends on the data, a message the Fed has been sending for some time," CFR Senior Fellow Robert Kahn writes in a blog post.
"Essentially, the Fed is dealing with a reality that is well known to students of economics: financial markets can react a lot quicker than the real economy. So, while the Fed is focused on calibrating its gradual transition out of QE with economic conditions (the 'journey'), market participants are much more inclined to rush to what they deem to be the 'terminal values' (the 'destination')," writes Mohamed El-Erian in the Financial Times.
"Mr. Bernanke seems to recognize the status quo is unhealthy, yet, as the Fed noted, it's hard for the central bank to retreat as long as 'fiscal policy is restraining economic growth' — that is, as long as Congress won't do its part," the Washington Post writes in an editorial.
Abe Urges Utility to Scrap Fukushima Reactors
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asked the Tokyo Electric Power Co. to dismantle two nuclear power reactors from the Fukushima nuclear plant that weren't damaged during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami (Kyodo). The Fukushima plant is still leaking radioactive water.
Qazi Abdul Hai, a former Afghan senator and district governor, has defected to the Taliban and is considered to be the highest-ranking civilian official to switch sides (BBC). Hai appeared in a video and said he saw the "corrupt face of the government" during his time in Kabul.
Fighters affiliated with al-Qaeda in Iraq have launched multiple attacks against Syrian rebel positions in the northern and eastern parts of the country, and temporarily took control of Azaz, a strategic town connecting Syria's largest city Aleppo to Turkey (WSJ).
Central African Republic Accused of Horrific Abuses
A coalition of rebel groups, known as Seleka, which took power in the Central African Republic in March, has killed unarmed civilians, including women and children, and destroyed homes and villages, according to Human Rights Watch (AllAfrica).
Defense Department officials ordered a review of security clearance procedures after it became clear that years of warning signs about the Washington Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis, who killed twelve people earlier this week, were ignored (WaPo).