Fed unleashes another big rate hike; Biden administration offers deal to Russia to bring home Griner, Whelan | Hot off the Wire podcast

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The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate by a hefty three-quarters of a point for a second straight time in its most aggressive drive in three decades to tame high inflation. The Fed’s move will raise its key rate, which affects many consumer and business loans, to its highest level since 2018.

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 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.

Griner testified at her drug possession trial in Russia that an interpreter translated only a fraction of what was said during questioning when she was detained at Moscow’s airport in February and officials told her to sign documents without giving an explanation.

The last two former Minneapolis police officers who were convicted of violating George Floyd’s civil rights have been sentenced in federal court. J. Alexander Kueng was sentenced Wednesday to three years and Tou Thao got a 3 1/2-year sentence. They were convicted in February of two counts of violating Floyd’s civil rights.

The British environmental scientist whose influential Gaia theory sees the Earth as a living organism gravely imperiled by human activity has died on his 103rd birthday. James Lovelock’s family said Wednesday that he died the previous evening at his home in southwest England after his health deteriorated from a bad fall this year.

President Joe Biden has emerged from five days of isolation after contracting the coronavirus, telling Americans that “COVID isn’t gone” but saying serious illness can be avoided with vaccines, booster shots and treatments. Biden spoke after testing negative for the virus Tuesday night and again Wednesday morning.

The Justice Department says Trident Mortgage Co., owned by billionaire businessman Warren Buffett’s company, discriminated against potential Black and Latino homebuyers in Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware. Officials are calling it the second-largest redlining settlement in history.

A California federal judge has rejected a legal push to require Uber to provide wheelchair-accessible vehicles, finding that such a mandate would be too onerous on the ride-hailing company.

The bacon, egg and cheese sandwich is a staple in many a New Yorker’s diet. It’s easy to make, easy to eat on the go and cheap — although not as cheap as it used to be. To keep up with today’s levels of inflation, bodega owners are faced with no choice but to raise the prices of their famously low-priced breakfast sandwiches.

Buzz Aldrin’s jacket worn on his historic first mission to the moon’s surface in 1969 has been auctioned off to a bidder for nearly $2.8 million. Sotheby’s says the amount paid for the Apollo 11 Inflight Coverall Jacket is the highest for any American space-flown artifact sold at auction.

Raccoon Island, a barrier isle an hour’s boat ride off the coast of Louisiana, is one of the few remaining breeding refuges for the iconic brown pelicans. A dozen years ago, there were 15 low-lying islands with nesting colonies of Louisiana’s state bird. But today, just six islands in the state harbor brown pelican nests — the rest have disappeared underwater from subsidence and rising seas from climate change.