After SVB collapse, Fed stays the course

The Federal Reserve is continuing its aggressive push to tame inflation. A National Transportation Safety Board official appeared before lawmakers in the wake of a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. And astronomers have an answer for an alien comet's unusual orbit.

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Fed hikes interest rate 0.25 point

The Federal Reserve raised its key short-term interest rate by a quarter percentage point Wednesday, pushing ahead with its aggressive campaign to tame inflation despite financial turmoil following Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse.  The move is expected to further slow economic activity as it drives up rates for credit cards, mortgages and other loans. Fed officials forecast another quarter point in rate increases this year to a peak range of 5% to 5.25%, in line with its December estimate and lower than the level markets anticipated before the bank's meltdown. Read more about the impact of the latest rate hike.


Controversial for-profit school receives most GI Bill funds again 

The University of Phoenix has continued to receive more GI Bill funding than any other institution of higher learning, despite its history of government scrutiny for misleading veterans. The Veterans Affairs Department sent the for-profit school $1.6 billion in GI Bill funds from 2013 to 2021 for students who enrolled in online and in-person classes. The GI Bill is intended to help veterans get a college education, but it’s also an attractive form of revenue for colleges.

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NTSB official pushes lawmakers for more rail safety measures

National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy urged lawmakers Wednesday to take up additional safety measures in light of Norfolk Southern's train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, last month. Further safety measures could include broadening the definition of a high-hazard flammable train, phasing out less protective tank cars and requiring railroads to maintain crash recording data with at least 12 hours of recording capabilities. Homendy's appearance in front of lawmakers came just days after Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael S. Regan said he believed Norfolk Southern should be moving faster to remove contaminated soil from East Palestine.

The answer behind the strange orbit of an alien comet

Years after the outer-space object 'Oumuamua flew through our solar system and captured our imaginations, astronomers have answers behind its strange orbit. The object's orbit was unusual, as it accelerated away from the sun in a way that astronomers could not explain, leading some to suggest that it was an alien spaceship. But according to a new study published Wednesday, the odd orbit can be explained by a simple physical mechanism that's likely common among many icy comets: outgassing of hydrogen as the comet warmed up in the sunlight. Learn more about 'Oumuamua and its orbit.

An artist's depiction of the interstellar comet 'Oumuamua.
An artist's depiction of the interstellar comet 'Oumuamua.

A break from the news

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Federal Reserve rate hike, NTSB, Oumuamua comet: Wednesday's news