NPR News in Washington, I'm Jack Speer.
Janet Yellen was confirmed by the Senate today to be the first woman to head the Federal Reserve. As NPR's Johnny Stick explains Yellen gained bipartisan support.
The vote to confirm Yellen was 56 to 26 with eleven Republicans joining all the Democrats present to support her. Weather-related problems caused a number of members to miss the vote. Yellen is expected to be sworn in on February 1st, the day after Ben Bernanke complete his second term as Fed chairman. As head of the Fed, Yellen will be one of the world's most powerful policymakers. But she faces significant challenges. They include winding down the Fed's unprecedented stimulus program without hurting the economy or destabilizing the financial system. How fast to wind down the stimulus is a matter of contention on the Fed's policymaking committee that Yellen will have to manage. Johnny Stick, NPR News, Washington.
US Supreme Court has halted same-sex marriage in Utah at least for now. About the sentence, the justices putting on hold the federal judge's decision striking down the state ban on same-sex unions, though the decision is reviewed by Federal Appeals Court. NPR's Nina Totenberg has more.
The court's apparently unanimous decision to put on hold the lower court ruling is hardly a shock. When the court first considered its same sex marriage issues last term, it also kept the state ban intact in California while that case was reviewed. In that case, however, the lower courts also issued temporary holds, something that did not occur in Utah in part because the State Attorney Generals Office was tardy in making a request for a stay. Nina Toudenburg, NPR News, Washington.
Some of the coldest and most dangerous weather in this season already has Midwest formally in its grip, has been pushing east and south. In Minneapolis, Minnesota was 23 degrees below 0 today. That's without the wind chill by the way, which makes you feel like -48 degrees. Present temperatures in St. Louis and Chicago also led some cancels in airline flights. Nancy Wider is a spokesperson for AAA:
"Many of the cancellations are happening at major hubs because this weather is unexpectedly cold in regions of the country that normally don't deal with below 0 temperatures. So we're seeing a lot of unusual weather-patterned cancellations and delay. So it's really important that people stay abreast of what's going on with their destination and from point to point."
From Dakota to Maryland, some schools and day care centers also shut down because of the extremely cold weather that's expected to remain bitter cold in many areas at least till tomorrow.
Fourteen commuters in Chicago suffered what were reported as minor injuries when a commuter train struck a post downtown station. Chicago metro officials blaming the crush into what's known as a bumping posts on the bad weather there.
On Wall Street today, the DOW was down 44 points and ending the session it's at 16,425; the NASDAQ lost 18 points.
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The southeastern coast of Britain being hammered by record-high waves today, there are some residents along lower-lying coastal areas being evacuated from their homes amid fears of further flooding. Waves up to 25 feet high were recorded lands and on the southwestern tip of the UK. A number of homes, businesses and student residents also had to be evacuated along the Welsh Coast. So far at least seven people have died in stormy weather that battered Britain since December.
For the first time a generation of new Boston Mayor were sworn in today. As NPR's Tovia Smith reports Martin Walsh is now running the city following the 20-year outgoing Mayor Thomas Menino.
Walsh, a 46 years old former state representative who beat cancer as a child and alcoholism as an adult, opened his inaugural address proclaiming Boston "a city of second chances and redemption and a city of dreams".
"Look at this, a kid from Taft in Dorchester who is now mayor of this great city. And I know my mother is not the only one surprised that I'm standing up here."
Walsh, who is a long-time Labor leader, says improving public education will be a priority along with the economy and making the city safer. He choose the issue of reducing inner city violence for his first meeting just hours after being sworn in. Tovia Smith, NPR News, Boston.
A collision between a humpback whale and a boat off the coast of Baja, California left 3 people injured. According to Mexican authorities, a 67-year-old tourist and the captain of the vessel suffered injuries to their ribs and arms. The collision is in the area known as Cabo Falso off the tip of the Baja, California Peninsular. All of those involved were rescued by the Mexican navy. It's not clear whether the whale was injured. January is a key month for whale birthing off the Baja coast.
I'm Jack Speer, NPR News in Washington.