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Inflation Rate Slowed Sharply In 2012; Prices Were Flat In December

Consumer prices rose just 1.7 percent in 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. That's about half the pace of 2011 — when prices went up 3 percent.

In December, BLS says, prices were unchanged.

One major reason inflation slowed last year: Gas prices went up just 1.7 percent, after gains of 13.8 percent in 2010 and 9.9 percent in 2011. Also, food costs rose 1.8 percent. BLS says that was "a deceleration" from the 4.7 percent increase in 2011.

As Reuters writes, the news that inflation remains in check "should help give the Federal Reserve room to prop up the economy by staying on its ultra-easy monetary policy path." In other words, there's no reason to think the Fed will need to start pushing up short-term interest rates anytime soon.

Copyright 2013 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Pepe The Frog's Long, Strange Journey — From Internet Meme To Hate Symbol

The Anti-Defamation League lists a number of symbols used by hate groups. Now among them is a cartoon frog named Pepe — but how did this odd image come to be associated with hate speech?
NPR

Whales, Sea Turtles, Seals: The Unintended Catch Of Abandoned Fishing Gear

An endangered whale was found dead over the weekend, entangled in derelict fishing gear. Such incidents have been on the rise in recent years. A new California law aims to combat the problem.
NPR

Pepe The Frog's Long, Strange Journey — From Internet Meme To Hate Symbol

The Anti-Defamation League lists a number of symbols used by hate groups. Now among them is a cartoon frog named Pepe — but how did this odd image come to be associated with hate speech?
NPR

Tech Giants Team Up To Tackle The Ethics Of Artificial Intelligence

Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and IBM form a group to set the first industrywide best practices for the technology already powering many applications, such as voice and image recognition.

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