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The U.S. Federal Reserve's Divided June Meeting: Harvard University Facing $103 Million in Property

FOMC officials are split on whether to pause rate hikes in June. Harvard University may face a $103 million property tax due to its legacy admissions policy. New Yorkers' holiday includes fireworks, bad air, and sharks. The Fed is less united than the unanimous decision at its June meeting would suggest.

Meeting minutes showed some officials favoring a quarter-point rate hike but all agreed to pause. Almost everyone agreed further rate hikes could still be needed this year. Policy makers still forecast a mild recession. This news raised expectations of a rate hike this month. The stock market found it hard to pick a direction, ending slightly lower.

A bill in Massachusetts seeks to tax wealthy universities favoring legacy admissions and use the money for poorer community colleges. Harvard, the wealthiest university in the US with $51 billion in assets, would be taxed about $103 million per year. Meanwhile, black colleges are gearing up for a surge in applicants following the Supreme Court ruling that barred the use of race in admissions.

Other news: The US Secret Service confirmed the substance found at the White House last weekend was cocaine. Canada is suspending ads on Facebook and Instagram in response to the social media giant's plan to terminate news reports in the country. Sales of GM and Toyota are surging in the US market. American Equity Insurance accepted Brookfield's $4.3 billion takeover offer. JetBlue cancelled its planned alliance with American Airlines.

Don't forget about existing student loan programs, Claudia Sahm writes. While the scale of the 'Public Service Loan Forbearance' is smaller than the Biden administration's planned program, it still could cover quite a few people and help the government draw lessons from them.

New Yorkers can't escape their plight. Air quality in New York City dipped to unhealthy levels early Wednesday morning. In addition to Canadian wildfires, fireworks and summer pollution were the main culprits. Those attempting to flee the city were equally unlucky when sharks decided to surge up the Hampton Bays during the extended US holiday weekend. Five swimmers were suspected to have been bitten.

Harmful algal blooms are spreading and polluting beaches in Southern California and sea lions and dolphins eating the poisoned fish. The occurrence is natural but pollution and global warming are worsening the algal blooms. El Niño also increases the likelihood of more blooms on the US West Coast and in Florida, impacting seafood, restaurants, and tourism.

A crop of new restaurants in New York is sending a less-than-subtle message: it’s time to get out there earlier. Alligator Pear, opening next month in the Garment District, will offer New Orleans-style fare, open most nights until 1 a.m. All-day café K’Far, transitioning from a bagel shop to late-night fried chop spot, will stay open until 2 a.m. This might be just what New York needs to recover from the heavy blow of the pandemic.

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