Is the U.S. Headed for a Recession?

With inflation rising to 8.6% and 6 million Americans unemployed, the debate about a possible economic recession has begun in the United States of America. Democrat members of Congress voiced support for the decision of the Fed to hike interest rates by 75 base points, whereas the Republicans said that the Fed should have hiked rates sooner.

Fed chair Jerome Powell said inflation data would be the decisive factor in determining the percentage of further rate hikes in the coming policy meetings. President Biden announced that his first economic priority was to "combat inflation." Secretary of the Treasury Yellen acknowledged the possibility of recession.

The Biden administration reiterated that inflation has been increasing globally due to the pandemic, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and global supply chain problems. The Fed had to revise its growth, unemployment, and inflation forecasts.

Powell Will Testify Before Congress

Fed Chair Powell will testify in the open session of the House of Representatives and the Senate's twice-a-year monetary policy session on June 22–23.

President Biden will head over to Germany for the G7 summit on June 25, while Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm is expected to meet with the executives of seven oil companies this week.

In an interview given to the Associated Press, Presiden Biden acknowledged that public morale is low because of the pandemic, the current economic situation, and the increasing gas prices that strain the wallets. However, he emphasized that a recession is not inevitable and was optimistic about the country's future. Biden also underlined, "If you want a direct barometer of what people are going to talk about at the kitchen table and the dining room table and whether things are going well, it's the cost of food and the cost of gasoline. At the pump."

Headlines from U.S. Media:

Wall Street Journal: Recession Probability Soars as Inflation Worsens

NY Times; Inflation Expected to Remain High Even as Economy Slows and Layoffs Rise

Washington Post: A recession may be looming. Here's what to do.

Yahoo Finance; Deutsche Bank now expects 'an earlier and somewhat more severe recession'

CNBC: The recession will hit in the first half of 2023 and the Dow is headed lower: CNBC CFO survey

Thousands March for Gun Reform in New York

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who campaigned on a promise to end gun violence in the city, and State Attorney General Letitia James, who sued the National Rifle Association (NRA), also participated in the rally in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Adams and James led the activists on the march to the Brooklyn Bridge.

The Mayor of NYC stated, "But here's the real problem that many people face right now: the Far Left and the Far Right. By them shooting at each other, the victims are impacting our entire city. The Far Left is saying it's alright for people who are dangerous to stay on the streets with guns, and the Far Right is saying, let's get as many guns in the hands as possible. Those two entities are causing Americans and New Yorkers to be unsafe.".

Attorney General James said, "Nothing will happen in this country unless young people rise instead of the politicians."

Thousands of people took to the streets in Washington D.C. and other cities to demand stricter gun control laws following recent mass shootings, which left many people dead. The protestors called on Congress to act.

Last week, New York Mayor Eric Adams announced the creation of a gun task force ahead of the traditional summer surge in violence to combat the shootings that began across the city at the onset of the pandemic. Adams stated that the task force will be co-chaired by the founder of the Brooklyn-based anti-violence group "Man Up!" Andre T. Mitchell and Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright.

Secretary Blinken: 'Sweden and Finland have more than enough to become NATO members.'

Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a joint press conference Wednesday morning with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said they exchanged views on NATO's preparations for present and future threats. He stated that there are different topics, from hacking attacks on the internet to China's increasing armament, from security issues that emerged with climate change to the new situation in Europe after Russia's attack on Ukraine.

Blinken reminded that the US had sent 20,000 soldiers to strengthen NATO's eastern flank since the start of Russia's attack on Ukraine and pointed out that, similarly, NATO member countries have maintained their military presence in the region.

Stating that the US continues its military support to Ukraine with the new aid package, the US Secretary of State noted that they aim to enable Ukraine to defend itself more intensely and to sit on the table more strongly against Russia in the next meetings. President Joe Biden made the same point in his column in the New York Times today.Secretary Blinken also said that Ukraine has guaranteed that it will never use the weapons it bought from the United States to target Russian territory other than to defend its territory.

Touching upon Sweden and Finland's application for NATO membership, Secretary Blinken, said, 'These countries applied for NATO membership not because their leaders imposed it, but because their citizens wanted it.'

'The United States strongly supports Finland and Sweden becoming NATO members. These countries have more than enough qualifications to become members of the alliance as soon as possible. NATO will become stronger with the participation of these countries. Like the United States, we expect Finland and Sweden to become members of this strongest alliance in history,' he said.

 

Turkey, Finland, and Sweden delegations will meet in Brussels.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also drew attention to the support given by the US to Ukraine and said that the help of the US continues to make a difference for Ukraine every day at the front. Stoltenberg also expressed his satisfaction with the new military aid package announced by the United States to Ukraine today.

NATO Secretary-General pointed out that NATO has already strengthened its presence in Europe with more than 100,000 troops in the air and at sea and has prevented Moscow from making wrong calculations.

Stoltenberg said that Russian President Vladimir Putin set out to have less NATO presence, but at the point reached today, he is facing more NATO troops and more NATO member countries in Europe.

Describing Finland and Sweden's applications to become NATO members as historic, Stoltenberg said that the membership of these two countries would further strengthen NATO.

Turk of America Journalist Ali Cinar interviewed by Haberturk TV and Bloomberg HT after the joint conference.

US Representative to the UN Continues Her Visit to Turkey

Stating that her first stop in Turkey is to meet with the members of the Syrian opposition-led civil defense organization known as the White Helmets, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said, 'The White Helmets are helping Syrians in need by putting themselves at risk. The same courage is not needed for the UN Security Council to continue the flow of aid to Syria. It is enough to be determined to do the right thing.'

The UN cross-border mechanism, which ensures that the Cilvegözü border gate, through which international aid enters Syria, remains open, needs to be renewed in July with the UN Security Council decision. However, there is a possibility of facing a veto from Russia and China.

Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield, who emphasized in her previous speeches that the border gate should remain open, also noted on her social media account that she had the opportunity to meet with Syrian refugees within the scope of her Turkey meetings.

'Today, I had the opportunity to meet with Syrian refugees in Turkey, the women and children whose lives have been turned upside down by the horrific conflict that has continued for more than 11 years,' the UN official said on Twitter. 'During these visits, I personally listened to the ongoing humanitarian crisis and the urgent needs on the ground.'

Stating that she also listened to stories of hope during her visit, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield said, 'I listened to the stories of Turkish and Syrian children who went to school together. These students study space in their lessons. That's why I surprised them with NASA-themed gifts.'

Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield also stated that in her meetings, she listened to the stories of Syrian refugees who had found a warm home in Turkey and been able to build a better future for their families and establish businesses that benefit their communities. 

The Permanent Representative of the USA to the UN visited the Antakya Science and Youth Center supported by the International Organization for Migration and talked to refugee children who are learning space and robotic coding there. Thomas-Greenfield is expected to continue her contacts today.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the UN Security Council to renew the authority of the mechanism that keeps Cilvegözü's door open for aid, saying that this is a 'moral and humanitarian imperative.' The United Nations reports that shipments from here have delivered aid to more than 4 million people. Russia is signaling that it opposes the renewal of the aid operation, arguing that it violates Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity and that more humanitarian aid should be delivered from within Syria. For the UN Security Council resolution to pass, nine votes in favor and no veto from Russia, China, the USA, France, or the UK are needed.

NYC Mayor Adams attends Turkish Parade

The annual New York Turkish Day Parade was held in Manhattan after a two-year break due to the pandemic. The Parade started on East 53rd Street on Madison Avenue and ended in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, opposite the United Nations building.

The 39th Turkish Day Parade was held with the theme, 'Towards the Centenary with the Crescent and Star', under the coordination of the Directorate of Communications of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey. More than 50 organizations and associations from the US and Turkey attended the Parade.

The Janissary Band within the Istanbul Historical Turkish Music Ensemble of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism also appeared in the Parade. The folk dance groups from Konya Seljuk University and Izmir Dance and Arts performed in the events organized within the 39th Turkish Day Parade.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams also attended the Turkish Parade and addressed the Turkish-American community. He stated that he valued the Turkish community in the US and said:  "I am happy to be celebrating the Turkish parade with you on this beautiful day."

New York City Mayor Eric Adams told Turk of America Journalist Ali Cinar that "I'm a friend of the Turkish people here and abroad. I have a large Turkish population that lives in New York, probably one of the largest in our country,"

At the Parade festival at Dag Hammarskjold at 2nd Avenue and 47th Street, Manhattan, Turkish Ambassador Murat Mercan addressed the Turkish-American community and said: "We aim to conserve and pass down our Turkish identity to the future generations. Our unity and solidarity will grow stronger thanks to this Parade. I would like to thank all of our associations who have contributed to the event."

Secretary Blinken: "We're not looking for a conflict with China."

US Secretary of State, Blinken addressed outlining the Administration's policy toward the People's Republic of China at George Washington University.

Secretary Blinken stated that they would not recognize the independence of Taiwan and remain committed to their 'One China policy and said: "We're not looking for a Cold War or a conflict with China. However, the key sectors of the economy cannot be completely dependent on China. We will fight for American industry with every tool we have."

Secretary Blinken "To the contrary, we are determined to avoid both. Competition need not lead to conflict, and we do not seek it, and we will work to avoid it."

Secretary Blinken stated that the US would resist China's 'coercion that would jeopardize the economic system of Taiwan' and 'increasingly provocative rhetoric and activities' and said: "We remain committed to intensive diplomacy alongside intensive competition with China."
The US Secretary of State further stated that the US 'was ready to discuss their respective responsibilities with China, as nuclear powers.'

Secretary Blinken noted that they did not support the independence of Taiwan and said: "The 'One-China' policy of the US has not changed. However, despite the coercion and provocations of China, we will continue to expand our cooperation with Taiwan, consistent with our 'One China' policy.

Turk of America Journalist Ali Cinar picked the headlines from Biden's speech are as follows:

-The price of admission to China's market must not be the sacrifice of core values.

- China is a serious long-term challenge

- Beijing's vision would move us away from the universal values that have sustained so much of the world's progress over the past 75 years

-The key sectors of the 21st-century economy cannot be allowed to become dependent on China.

-We will fight for American workers and industry with every tool we have.

- We will align our efforts with our network of allies and partners, acting with a common purpose and common cause and harnessing these two key asset

-Competition need not lead to conflict, and we do not seek it. We will work to avoid it.

Pentagon Spokesperson Kirby: "We are very concerned."

Following the Turkish possible military operation in northeastern Syria, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby says: "We are very concerned. We are in contact with SDF forces. This operation will have a negative impact on many issues".

After Turkey announced its 'intention to launch a new military operation in northern Syria', Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby shared Pentagon's concerns with the media members at the Press Briefing.

Pentagon Press Secretary Kirby stated that they are in daily contact with their 'SDF partners', the Syrian affiliate of the PKK terrorist organization and that the Turkish operation in northeast Syria will harm the safety of civilians, humanitarian assistance, and the continuation of operations against ISIS, which could draw the SDF of the region.

Pentagon Spokesperson Kirby, commenting on Turkey as a NATO ally and a valued partner, stated they echoed and supported the concerns of the State Department, though.

Kirby said he knew of no communications between the US Department of Defense and the Turkish Ministry of Defense at the senior level. However, if there has been a diplomatic discussion with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the questions should be referred to the Department of State.

Pentagon Press Secretary Kirby noted he could not confirm the reports about the new ISIS leader, Al-Quraishi, being detained in Turkey and said: "We've been looking at this all day."

TURKEY HINTS AT A MILITARY OPERATION


Chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish National Security Council (MGK) states: "Operations at our southern border are for national security concerns. Operations against terrorist organizations will continue."

United States recognizes PKK as a terrorist organization; however, the US does not recognize YPG-SDG groups as terrorist organizations.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen Will Travel to Europe

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will travel to Germany to attend the G7 finance ministers and central bank governors' meeting May 19–20. Prior to the meetings that will be held in Bonn, Yellen will visit Warsaw—the capital of Poland—and Brussels—the capital of Belgium—on May 14 and 16, respectively.

The Department of Treasury issued a statement saying that Yellen will inform her counterparts of the priorities of the US regarding its principle of multilateralism and economic recovery. It was also stated that Yellen would discuss the issue of increasing financial pressure by the US and its allies on Russia to end its so-called 'special operation' in Ukraine. 

Secretary Yellen will also discuss the issues of global tax policies and combating the climate crisis, strengthening international health services, and addressing the rising threat of global food insecurity resulting from Russia's war.

The statement from the Department of Treasury also mentioned that Yellen aimed to cooperate with partners and allies in these global matters and expected the same from them.

According to journalist Ali Cinar,Secretary Yellen also briefed the Senate Banking Committee on the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s 2021 report yesterday. Secretary Yellen's highlights:

-Banning abortion would be ‘very damaging’ to U.S. economy

-Supply disruption continues to hit energy markets.

-Russia's Occupation of Ukraine Increased Uncertainty in the Economy.

-Digital assets can pose risks to the financial system

-There is potential for continued volatility and inequality in global growth as countries continue to grapple with the pandemic.

Call on Congress to Split COVID and Ukraine Supplemental Funding

President Joe Biden stated that he was willing to have Congress pass two separate bills to secure funds to 33 billion dollars aid Ukraine and 10 billion dollars COVID-19.

President Biden called on Congress to prioritize aid for Ukraine first, then focus on securing extra funds to combat COVID-19.

The  Democrats in the US Congress unanimously support prioritizing the Ukraine aid bill. The House of Representatives can pass the bill—higher than the $33 billion requested by President Biden—as early as next week. Senate leaders also signaled that they were ready to take swift action.

On April 28, Biden asked Congress to pass a $33 billion aid package that included more than $20 billion of military aid for Ukraine. This proposition significantly increases the US funds allocated for the war against Russia.

The new plan includes an additional $3.4 billion in military aid and $3.4 billion in humanitarian assistance.

Both Democrats and Republicans support providing more aid to Ukraine and promise to take swift action to approve the emergency funds. But the Ukraine aid bill was prolonged due to the discussions regarding the addition of COVID-19 aid  and resources to enforce tighter migration controls to the package.

'Funds to support Ukraine with weapons will run out in two weeks.'

The Department of Defense issued a statement saying that the US would soon run out of funds and could only provide weapons to Kyiv for two weeks.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was pleased with the decoupling of the Ukraine aid from the COVID-19 funding. McConnell advocated for the separation of the two bills in his speeches in the Senate.

But confident Democrats wanted COVID-19 funding and Ukraine aid to be included in the same package.

Dick Durbin—the number two Democrat in the Senate—stated that 'It would have been so much better for us to protect the United States as well as worked to protect Ukraine.'

President Biden also called for swift action on COVID-19 funding. Biden said, 'Without timely COVID-19 funding, more Americans will die needlessly.'

According to Ali Cinar,President Biden hosted Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her colleagues in the White House Situation Room on Tuesday afternoon.The House  will vote on 40 billion dollar Ukraine supplemental aid  tonight.

The $40B Ukraine supplemental includes $19.8B for DoD, ~$3.4B more than Biden sought. That includes: -$8.7B to replenish stocks -$6B for Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative -$3.9B for EUCOM support -$600M for Defense Production Act -$550M for critical munitions and exports'

White House Correspondents' Association Held Its Annual Dinner.

The White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, which was canceled due to the pandemic, took place in Washington, DC. The White House Correspondents' Association Dinner didn't take place for four years due to the 45th President, Donald Trump, boycotting it for two years because of COVID-19. President Biden cracked jokes about returning to everyday life during his speech as the guest of honor. He made fun of his approval ratings and praised the journalists covering the war in Ukraine.

In his 14-minute long speech, President Biden said, 'I know there are questions about whether we should gather here tonight because of COVID-19. We're here to show the country that we're getting through this pandemic. Plus, everyone had to prove they were fully vaccinated and boosted.' He also stated, 'just contact your favorite Fox News reporter. They are all here. Vaccinated and boosted.'

President Biden also made fun of the 45th President, Trump. He said, 'This is the first time a president has attended this dinner in 6 years. It's understandable. We had a horrible plague followed by two years of COVID. Just imagine if my predecessor came to this dinner this year. Now, that would really have been a real coup.' The President's remarks drew laughs.

President Biden also mentioned the 'Let's go, Brandon' phrase, which is used as a cover for an obscene joke against him. 'But Republicans seem to support one fella, some guy named Brandon. He's having an excellent year. I'm kind of happy for him!' said he.

President Biden caused laughter when he said, 'A special thanks to the 42% of you who actually applauded. I'm really excited to be here tonight with the only group of Americans with a lower approval rating than I have.'

President Biden underlined the vital role journalism plays in the American democracy, stating, 'I mean this from the bottom of my heart, that you, the free press, matter more than you ever did in the last century. You are the guardians of the truth.'

The Daily Show host Trevor Noah began by making fun of journalists, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Trump, and former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo. He quipped by saying, 'It is a great honor to speak tonight at the nation's most distinguished superspreader event.' South African Noah told Biden that he was confused as to why he was chosen as the comedian for the night. But then he said, 'I was told you get your highest approval ratings with a biracial African guy standing next to you,' to which Biden responded with applause and a smile. 

2,600 Guests

Ministers, members of Congress, directors of corporations, and specific Hollywood figures were among the 2,600 guests. Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson, Kim Kardashian, Martha Stewart, Drew Barrymore, Brooke Shields, and Caitlyn Jenner were among those who participated in the dinner. All participants were required to show proof of vaccination via the My Bindle application, and they also had to take antigen tests. An extensive medical team was on standby during the dinner.

White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jha also took part in the dinner. But one of the country's most famous names—81-year-old Dr. Anthony Fauci—actually planned to participate, only to change his mind midweek, stating that the risks of doing so outweighed the benefits.

During his presentation, WHCA President Steven Portnoy of CBS News mentioned that Biden took part in the dinner for the first time in 1974.

There were two emotional moments during the traditionally routine awards ceremony. The first was the presentation of a new award to two young journalists, Alice Dunnigan and Ethel Payne. Portnoy also introduced Debra Tice, the mother of freelance journalist and former Marine lieutenant Austin Tice who was kidnapped in Syria nine years ago. Secretary of State Antony Blinken promised to increase pressure in order to secure the release of Tice and other US citizens being illegally detained abroad. Portnoy also mentioned the arrest and imprisonment of Russian opposition writer and Washington Post writer Vladimir Kara-Murza and commemorated the journalists who were killed in Ukraine while talking about the war. 

The WHCA was founded in 1914, and as of today, it has about 500 active members. The association has been organizing the annual dinner since 1921.

 
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