"Ms Yellen will no doubt be conscious that a similarly benign outlook was mooted before Mr Bernanke's ascent to the Fed chairmanship in 2006. Economists were still talking about the 'great moderation,' though the 'great credit crunch' was only 18 months away, subsequently to be followed by the greatest financial crisis of all time. It is an unpalatable fact of central banking life that there is always a crisis, as well as a bunch of hostile folk on Capitol Hill, lying in wait. The only question is whether the lurking monster hits you or your successor," writes John Plender in the Financial Times.
"An acceleration in housing hinges on the Federal Reserve's ability to successfully match the pace of future interest rate increases to an improving job market. Home sales won't be dented by higher mortgage rates if brisk hiring and a falling unemployment rate lift homebuyers' income and confidence. For the Federal Reserve to gracefully unwind its extraordinary monetary stimulus policies is no small order, but it is doable, and the most likely outcome," writes Mark Zandi in this CFR Expert Roundup on predictions for the global economy in 2014.
"Women head central banks in Russia, Israel and South Africa. They have claimed prestigious prizes for research, including the Nobel and the John Bates Clark medal for the most outstanding economist under age 40. Now, with Janet Yellen about to become the first female chief of the Federal Reserve, it looks like a golden era for women economists has arrived. But the high-profile gains contrast with college economics departments, where women remain a minority at every level of the profession," writes Brenda Cronin in the Wall Street Journal.
CFR's Global Conflict Tracker
The Center for Preventive Action's Global Conflict Tracker is an interactive guide to U.S. conflict prevention priorities in 2014. It provides an up-to-date overview of each ongoing or potential conflict featured in the most recent Preventive Priorities Survey and features additional background information. Take a look.
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Migrant Boat Tests Australia's Hard Line on Asylum
German chancellor Angela Merkel was injured in a skiing accident during a Christmas vacation and will have to rest for three weeks, her spokesman said Monday. The announcement comes near the start of her third term, which has been marked by a fractious coalition, and will force her to cancel foreign travel and official appointments (Reuters).
CZECH REPUBLIC: Three parties agreed to form a center-left coalition on Monday under which Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka will become prime minister. The previous, center-right government was dissolved after a spying and corruption scandal came to light, prompting a snap election in October (Deutsche Welle).
Land Victory for Brazilian Indigenous Rights Activists