sharply higher in recent months, elevated by supply-chain disruptions and other quirks tied to the pandemic. The Fed’s preferred metric, the personal consumption expenditures index, climbed 4.2 percent in July from a year earlier.

Fed officials expected inflation to average 4.2 percent in the final quarter of 2021 before falling to 2.2 percent in 2022, the new forecasts showed.

Central bankers are trying to predict how inflation will evolve in the coming months and years. Some officials worry that it will remain elevated, fueled by strong consumption and newfound corporate pricing power as consumers come to expect and accept higher costs.

Others fret that the same factors pushing prices higher today will lead to uncomfortably low inflation down the road — for instance, used car prices have contributed heavily to the 2021 increase and could fall as demand wanes. Tepid price increases prevailed before the pandemic started, and the same global trends that had been weighing inflation down could once again dominate.

“Inflation expectations are terribly important, we spend a lot of time watching them, and if we did see them moving up in a troubling way” then “we would certainly react to that,” Mr. Powell said. “We don’t really see that now.”

The Fed’s second goal — full employment — also remains elusive. Millions of jobs remain missing compared with before the pandemic, even after months of historically rapid employment gains. Officials want to avoid lifting interest rates to cool off the economy before the labor market has fully healed. It’s difficult to know when that might be, because the economy has never recovered from pandemic-induced lockdowns before.

“The process of reopening the economy is unprecedented, as was the shutdown at the onset of the pandemic,” Mr. Powell said on Wednesday.

Given those uncertainties, the Fed is likely to move cautiously on raising interest rates. And while Mr. Powell teed up a possible November announcement that the Fed would start slowing its bond-buying, even that is subject to change if the economy does not shape up as expected — or if major risks on the horizon materialize.

“The start of tapering would be delayed if the debt ceiling standoff is unresolved and markets are in turmoil,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote in a research note following the meeting.

Yet Mr. Powell made clear that the Fed was not equipped to ride to the rescue if lawmakers could not resolve their differences.

“It’s just very important that the debt ceiling be raised in a timely fashion,” Mr. Powell said, adding that “no one should assume the Fed or anyone else can protect markets and the economy in the event of a failure” to “make sure that we do pay those, when they’re due.”

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Razilian Health Minister Tests Positive For Covid-19 In New York Hours After Attending U.N. General Assembly

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India slams UK’s new travel rules as ‘discriminatory,’ warns of retaliation

Travelers at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, India, on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021.

T. Narayan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

India slammed the U.K.’s decision to exclude vaccinated Indian travelers from its new travel guidelines, calling it “discriminatory” and warning of reciprocal measures.

The British government will next month allow fully vaccinated travelers from a list of countries to skip quarantine upon arrival — but Indians who are fully vaccinated will still need to be quarantined.

The U.K. last week eased travel restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals from 17 countries and territories, including Japan and Singapore, saying they would not have to stay in quarantine for 10 days after arriving in England.

From Oct. 4, travelers from those destinations would have to show that they received a full course of one of the Covid vaccines currently approved in the U.K., at least two weeks prior to their arrival. The approved vaccines are: Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen.

India’s main vaccine is the one from Oxford University and British-Swedish pharma giant AstraZeneca — but it is manufactured locally by the Serum Institute of India under the name Covishield. It has been approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization.

If we don’t get satisfaction, we would be within our rights to impose reciprocal measures.

Harsh V Shringla

India’s foreign secretary

“The basic issue is that here is a vaccine, Covishield, which is a licensed product of a U.K. company, manufactured in India,” India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla said Tuesday at a press briefing. “We have supplied 5 million doses to the U.K., at the request of the government of the U.K. We understand that this has been used in their national health system.”

“Therefore, non-recognition of Covishield is a discriminatory policy and does impact on those of our citizens traveling to the U.K.,” he added.

Under the new rules, Indian travelers will be required to quarantine after arriving in England and must undergo three rounds of testing, regardless of their vaccination status. Many Indian nationals typically travel to the U.K. for work, study, leisure travel or to visit family.

India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, raised the issue “strongly” with U.K. Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss, according to Shringla.

“I am told that certain assurances have been given that this issue would be resolved,” he said.

Jaishankar tweeted that during his meeting with Truss in New York, he “urged early resolution of quarantine issue in mutual interest.”

Indian opposition lawmaker Shashi Tharoor said he pulled out of a debate engagement at the University of Cambridge due to the quarantine order.

“It is offensive to ask fully vaccinated Indians to quarantine, he said.

Another lawmaker, Jairam Ramesh, said the decision “smacks of racism.”

“We will have to see how it goes, but if we don’t get satisfaction, we would be within our rights to impose reciprocal measures,” Shringla added, without elaborating what some of those measures could be.

Government data showed India has so far administered more than 825 million vaccine doses in one of the world’s largest inoculation drives — roughly 15% of the country’s eligible population has received the two doses required to be considered fully vaccinated, according to online publication Our World In Data.

The country’s home-made vaccine from Bharat Biotech, called Covaxin, has yet to be approved by the World Health Organization. It will likely to further complicate international travel plans for many Indian nationals.

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Inside Facebook’s Push to Defend Its Image

The changes have involved Facebook executives from its marketing, communications, policy and integrity teams. Alex Schultz, a 14-year company veteran who was named chief marketing officer last year, has also been influential in the image reshaping effort, said five people who worked with him. But at least one of the decisions was driven by Mr. Zuckerberg, and all were approved by him, three of the people said.

Credit…Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images

Joe Osborne, a Facebook spokesman, denied that the company had changed its approach.

“People deserve to know the steps we’re taking to address the different issues facing our company — and we’re going to share those steps widely,” he said in a statement.

For years, Facebook executives have chafed at how their company appeared to receive more scrutiny than Google and Twitter, said current and former employees. They attributed that attention to Facebook’s leaving itself more exposed with its apologies and providing access to internal data, the people said.

So in January, executives held a virtual meeting and broached the idea of a more aggressive defense, one attendee said. The group discussed using the News Feed to promote positive news about the company, as well as running ads that linked to favorable articles about Facebook. They also debated how to define a pro-Facebook story, two participants said.

That same month, the communications team discussed ways for executives to be less conciliatory when responding to crises and decided there would be less apologizing, said two people with knowledge of the plan.

Mr. Zuckerberg, who had become intertwined with policy issues including the 2020 election, also wanted to recast himself as an innovator, the people said. In January, the communications team circulated a document with a strategy for distancing Mr. Zuckerberg from scandals, partly by focusing his Facebook posts and media appearances on new products, they said.

The Information, a tech news site, previously reported on the document.

The impact was immediate. On Jan. 11, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer — and not Mr. Zuckerberg — told Reuters that the storming of the U.S. Capitol a week earlier had little to do with Facebook. In July, when President Biden said the social network was “killing people” by spreading Covid-19 misinformation, Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president for integrity, disputed the characterization in a blog post and pointed out that the White House had missed its coronavirus vaccination goals.

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