While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, July 28

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US Fed raises interest rate by 75 basis points to fight inflation

Federal Reserve officials raised interest rates by 75 basis points for the second straight month and chairman Jerome Powell said a similar move was possible again, while rejecting speculation that the US economy is in recession.

Policy makers, facing the hottest cost pressures in 40 years, lifted the target for the federal funds rate on Wednesday to a range of 2.25 per cent to 2.5 per cent. That takes the cumulative June-July increase to 150 basis points – the steepest since the price-fighting era of Paul Volcker in the early 1980s.

“While another unusually large increase could be appropriate at our next meeting,” that will depend on the data between now and then, Powell said during a press conference following a two-day policy gathering in Washington.

The Fed will also slow the pace of increases at some point, Powell said. In addition, he said officials would set policy on a meeting-by-meeting basis rather than offer explicit guidance on the size of their next rate move, as he has done recently.


Pro-Sadr protesters storm parliament in Iraq's Green Zone

Supporters of powerful Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr on Wednesday danced and sang after storming parliament in the capital’s high-security Green Zone, in protest at a rival bloc’s nomination for prime minister.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi called on the protesters to “immediately withdraw” from the heavily fortified Green Zone, which is home to both government buildings and diplomatic missions.

The protests are the latest challenge for oil-rich Iraq, which remains mired in a political and a socioeconomic crisis despite elevated global energy prices.


HK must repeal national security law, says UN rights watchdog

A UN watchdog voiced alarm on Wednesday at deteriorating rights in Hong Kong, especially calling on the Chinese territory to repeal the sweeping National Security Law imposed by Beijing two years ago.

The UN Human Rights Committee, which oversees respect for a global treaty on civil and political rights, said it was "deeply concerned about the overly broad interpretation of and arbitrary application of the law".

In its report, which was harshly criticised by the Hong Kong government, the committee said the territory should "take concrete steps to repeal the current national security law and, in the meantime, refrain from applying the law.


UK scientist and climate doom prophet dies aged 103

Influential British scientist James Lovelock, famed for his Gaia hypothesis and pioneering work on climate change, has died at the age of 103, his family announced on Wednesday.

The legendary scientist's family said in a statement that Lovelock died on Tuesday on his 103rd birthday as the result of complications from a fall.

In the 1970s, Lovelock came up with the Gaia hypothesis that Earth is a single, self-regulating super-organism made up of all its life forms, which humans are destroying.


Football: Popp double sends Germany into Women's Euro final

Prolific striker Alexandra Popp scored twice as Germany beat France 2-1 in their Euro 2022 semi-final on Wednesday to set up a clash with hosts England in Sunday's final at Wembley.

The Germans, eight times European champions, will take on an England team on a high after their 4-0 thrashing of Sweden in Tuesday's other semi.

Popp fired Germany ahead in the 40th minute, sneaking in from the left to meet a fine cross from Svenja Huth and beat Pauline Peyraud-Magnin with a crisp finish.


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