How the Federal Reserve's rate hikes affect your finances

WASHINGTON (AP) — Higher mortgage rates have sent home sales tumbling. Credit card rates have grown more burdensome, and so have auto loans. Savers are finally receiving yields that are actually visible, while crypto assets are reeling. The Federal Reserve’s move to further tighten credit raised its benchmark interest rate by a sizable 0.75 percentage point for a second straight time. The Fed’s latest hike, its fourth since March, will further magnify borrowing costs for homes, cars and credit cards, though many borrowers may not feel the impact immediately.

Fed unleashes another big rate hike in bid to curb inflation

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised its benchmark interest rate by a hefty three-quarters of a point for a second straight time in its most aggressive drive in more than three decades to tame high inflation. The Fed’s move will raise its key rate, which affects many consumer and business loans, to a range of 2.25% to 2.5%, its highest level since 2018. Speaking at a news conference, Chair Jerome Powell gave mixed signals about the Fed’s next moves. He stressed that the central bank remains committed to defeating chronically high inflation, while at the same time holding out hope that it may soon shift to smaller rate hikes.

Manchin, Schumer in surprise deal on health, energy, taxes

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a startling turnabout, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin have reached an expansive agreement that had eluded them for months on health care, energy and climate issues, taxes on higher earners and corporations and trimming the federal debt. The two Democrats say the Senate will vote on the wide-ranging measure next week, setting up President Joe Biden and Democrats for an unexpected victory they can claim in the runup to November congressional elections in which their control of Congress is in peril. A House vote would come afterward, perhaps later in August. Unanimous Republican opposition in both chambers seems certain.

Courts block abortion bans in Wyoming, North Dakota

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Abortion bans set to take effect this week in Wyoming and North Dakota were temporarily blocked Wednesday by judges in those states amid lawsuits arguing that the bans violate their state constitutions. North Dakota's latest court action puts it among several states including Wyoming, Kentucky, Louisiana and Utah where judges have temporarily blocked implementation of “trigger laws” while lawsuits play out. The Wyoming law was set to take effect Wednesday. The North Dakota law was set to take effect Thursday. Both developments occurred as hundreds protested an abortion ban bill that advanced in the West Virginia Legislature.

In rare contact, US offers Russia deal for Griner, Whelan

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration has offered a deal to Russia aimed at bringing home WNBA star Brittney Griner and another jailed American, Paul Whelan. That's according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who also revealed Wednesday that he has asked to speak with his Kremlin counterpart for the first time in months. The statement marked the first time the U.S. government has publicly revealed any concrete action it has taken to secure the release of Griner.  He did not offer details on the proposed deal outlined to the Russians, though a person familiar with the matter said the U.S. government has offered to trade convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for Whelan and Griner.

Pelosi to Taiwan would be career capstone, despite warnings

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched a political career being tough on China. As a new congresswoman, she dared to unfurl a pro-democracy banner in Beijing's Tiananmen Square during a 1991 visit with other U.S. lawmakers shortly after the student massacre. More than 30 years later, Pelosi’s interest in traveling to Taiwan presents a powerful diplomatic capstone. But it's also sounding grave warnings at the highest levels in Washington and Beijing. President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are scheduled to talk Thursday as the potential trip looms. Whether Pelosi stays or goes will be a defining foreign policy and human rights moment in her role as speaker.

Kim threatens to use nukes amid tensions with US, S. Korea

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has warned he’s ready to use his nuclear weapons in potential military conflicts with the United States and South Korea. State media reported Kim made such a warning in a Wednesday speech marking the 69th anniversary of the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. Some experts say Kim's threats were apparently meant to boost internal unity in the impoverished country suffering pandemic-related economic difficulties. Kim also called South Korea's new president “a confrontation maniac” who’s gone further than past South Korean leaders. Some observers expect more North Korean threats before the United States and South Korea hold military drills the North views as an invasion rehearsal.

Canada says pope's apology to Indigenous not enough

QUEBEC CITY (AP) — The Canadian government says Pope Francis’ apology to Indigenous peoples for abuses they suffered in the country’s church-run residential schools didn’t go far enough. The official government reaction came as Francis arrived Wednesday in Quebec City for meetings with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Governor General Mary Simon at her Quebec residence, the hilltop Citadelle fortress. The government’s criticism echoes those of survivors and concern Francis’ omission of any reference to the sexual abuse suffered by Indigenous children in the schools, as well as his refusal to name the Catholic Church as an institution bearing any responsibility.

US rocket system enables Ukraine to pummel key supply bridge

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The Ukrainian military has used a U.S.-supplied precision rocket system to deliver a morale-lifting knockout punch to a bridge Russia used to supply its forces in an occupied region of southern Ukraine. The deputy head of the Moscow-appointed administration in the Kherson region said Ukrainian artillery struck the Antonivskyi Bridge late Tuesday. He says previous Ukranian attacks damaged the bridge last week but the span had to be closed to vehicles on Wednesday. The Ukrainian military confirmed that “surgical strikes” were carried out on the bridge. While the strike makes only a slight dent in Moscow's Ukraine offensive, it showed Russian forces are vulnerable. Western military assistance has been crucial to Ukraine’s efforts to fend off Russian attacks.

Scorching heat wave in US Northwest forecast to last longer

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The heat wave scorching the Pacific Northwest is now expected to be hotter and longer than initially predicted. The National Weather Service in Portland, Oregon is forecasting temperatures of at least 100 degrees on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. In response, the NWS has extended the excessive heat warning for Portland through Saturday evening. The agency also predicts Portland could break its previous heat wave duration records of six consecutive days that are 95 degrees or warmer. City officials are expanding capacity at emergency overnight cooling shelters starting Wednesday. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has declared a state of emergency for much of the state.

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