WASHINGTON – The Senate has easily approved Janet Yellen’s nomination to head the Federal Reserve.
Monday’s 56-26 vote makes Yellen the first woman to lead the central bank in its century-long history. It puts an economist in the post who has long focused on fighting unemployment and who backed the Fed’s recent efforts to spur the economy with low interest rates and huge bond purchases.
Yellen begins her four-year term as chair Feb. 1. She replaces Ben Bernanke, who has held the job for eight years dominated by the Great Recession and his efforts to fight it. Yellen has been Fed vice chair since 2010.
Yellen will be the first Fed chair picked by a Democrat since President Jimmy Carter chose Paul Volcker.
Sens. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Dan Coats, R-Ind., voted in favor of confirming Yellen.
Same-sex marriage in Utah put on hold
The Supreme Court on Monday put same-sex marriages on hold in Utah, at least while a federal appeals court more fully considers the issue.
The order grants an emergency appeal by the state following the Dec. 20 ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby that said the state’s ban on same-sex marriage violates gay and lesbian couples’ constitutional rights. More than 900 gay and lesbian couples have married since then.
The high court order will remain in effect until the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver decides whether to uphold Shelby’s ruling.
Liz Cheney halts Senate campaign
Liz Cheney’s sudden exit from her Wyoming Senate race brought a surprise end to a high-profile campaign that touched off a bitter fight within the Republican Party as well as a public spat with her lesbian sister over gay marriage.
The daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney cited unspecified “serious health issues” in her family rather than her uphill race to unseat three-term GOP Sen. Mike Enzi in her announcement Monday.
One of Cheney’s daughters has Type 1 diabetes.
Brain-dead girl’s family moves teen
The 13-year-old California girl who was declared brain dead after suffering complications from sleep apnea surgery is being cared for at a facility that shares her family’s belief that she still is alive, her uncle said Monday.
Jahi McMath’s family and their lawyer would not disclose where the eighth-grader was taken Sunday night after a weekslong battle to prevent Children’s Hospital Oakland from removing her from the breathing machine that has kept her heart beating for 28 days.
The nearly $50,000 in private donations the family has raised since taking the case public helped cover the carefully choreographed handoff to the critical care team and transportation to the new location, the uncle, Omari Seeley, said.
‘Jihad Jane’ gets 10-year sentence
A troubled Pennsylvania woman who called herself “Jihad Jane” online and plotted to kill a Swedish artist was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison after telling a judge she had been consumed by thoughts of a Muslim holy war.
Colleen LaRose, 50, faced a potential life term. But Chief U.S. District Judge Petrese B. Tucker gave her credit for her guilty plea and her help in the indictment of two others.
Prosecutors asked for decades in prison, fearing she remains highly vulnerable to manipulation. But LaRose told the judge, “I don’t want to be into jihad no more.”
UN: African nation near catastrophe
U.N. officials are warning the Security Council that Central African Republic is on the brink of a catastrophe, with half the population made homeless since ethnic warfare broke out.
U.N. political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman told the council Monday that about 2.2 million people throughout Central African Republic need assistance, about half the total population.
The Central African Republic has been plunged into chaos as the country’s Christian majority seeks revenge against the Muslim rebels, who seized power in a coup in March. Fighting between Christian and Muslim militias intensified in December.
British legal aid cuts draw protests
Hundreds of British lawyers – many dressed in traditional white curled wigs and black gowns – swapped courtrooms for picket lines Monday to protest planned cuts to legal aid.
Cases were disrupted at courts including London’s famous Old Bailey criminal court as barristers in England and Wales staged their first national walkout.
The government says Britain’s legal aid system, which costs about 2 billion pounds a year, is among the world’s most expensive. It insists barristers are well paid – with 1,200 receiving 100,000 pounds or more in income from legal aid fees last year – and says their fees will remain “generous.”