A return to school, democracy and Trump, clean drinking water and mixed economic reports | Hot off the Wire podcast

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The calendar flipped from August to September this past week, and as the summer winds down millions of children have already returned to school or will do so in the coming days.

But the challenges of a new school year go beyond remembering locker combinations, completing homework assignments and studying for tests. The COVID-19 pandemic has created learning challenges due to remote learning and teachers are struggling with mental health.

Learning challenges are not limited to students in the United States. With a war raging in Ukraine, children there began a new academic year for the first time since Russia’s invasion of the country in February.

On Thursday night outside of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, President Joe Biden gave a fiery speech about an ongoing battle for the “soul of the nation.” Biden declared that Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans “fan the flames of political violence” and are trying to subvert democracy.

The speech came just hours after a judge heard arguments whether to appoint a special master to review records seized from former President Trump’s Florida home. That hearing came after new details revealed the focus of the investigation may be over criminal obstruction.

In other related news, Georgia is continuing its investigations as to whether Trump tried to pressure officials into overturning the results of the 2020 election. And a man affiliated with the Proud Boys was sentenced for his involvement in the January 6 Capitol riot.

We often take it for granted, but obtaining clean water has become a challenge for residents in Jackson, Mississippi. The city has been dealing with trouble at a water treatment plant which was made worse by recent flooding.

The fencing around the Supreme Court came down this past week, but its ruling on abortion is being felt around the country. Plus, an update on what has happened since the court ruled on tuition reimbursement for religious schools.

In other national news, we look at sexual assaults in the military, gun violence, young people following the news, immigration, an American being held in Venezuela and pay to stay laws for American prisoners.

In business and financial news, we look at several reports covering consumer confidence, mortgages and jobs.

In international news, Biden called leaders of veteran groups one year after withdrawing from Afghanistan. The last leader of the Soviet Union died as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continued. And Aug. 31 marked the 25th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana. 

And finally, in health, science and technology news, a return to the moon was put on hold. Life expectancy has decreased in the U.S. There are concerns over future heat waves and rising sea levels. And details of a technology tool that is available to law enforcement.

— Compiled and narrated by Terry Lipshetz from Associated Press reports