Hot off the Wire: Listen to a recap of the week’s top stories

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This week’s In Case You Missed It edition of Hot off the Wire captures a week packed with news covering inflation and the state of the economy to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plus, there were environmental stories and Tom Brady was back in the news for his plans after football ends, whenever that might be.

Inflation eased slightly in April after months of relentless increases but remained near a four-decade high.

Consumer prices jumped 8.3% from a year ago, below the 8.5% year-over-year surge in March.

However, there appears to be no end to inflation in sight. The so-called core prices jumped twice as much from March to April as they did the previous month. 

Inflation could remain high well into 2023, leaving many Americans burdened by price increases that have outpaced pay raises.

By Friday morning, gas had hit an average price of $4.43 per gallon, up more than 30 cents over the past month.

And the average mortgage rate was up again on the key 30-year loan, its highest level since 2009. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the 30-year rate ticked up to 5.3%. By contrast, the average rate stood at 2.94% a year ago.

Reduced immigrant labor is believed to have led to price increases, and supply chain issues have led to a shortage of baby formula. 

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Jerome Powell for a second four-year term as Federal Reserve chair.

However, while many Americans are hurting, one industry is thriving: casinos. 

In other news, a manhunt ended earlier in the week in Indiana and overdose deaths hit a record high in 2021.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden appealed to world leaders to remain committed to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic as the U.S. marked what he called the “tragic milestone” of 1 million deaths in America. 

Later that day came reports on how the meatpacking industry worked with the Trump administration during the early days of the pandemic to keep factories open. 

All of this as National Nurses Week wrapped, a time to honor the many healthcare workers called upon during the pandemic.

Recalls were issued this week for several popular cars. We look at recalls for Tesla, Hyundai and Mercedes. 

The Pulitzer Prizes were announced earlier this week as were Tony Awards nominations. More on those stories.

There was a lot going on in the world of the arts and entertainment: 

  • Fred Savage was dropped from the Wonder Years reboot. 
  • Tom Brady will have a career after football. 
  • Viewership for the Kentucky Derby came from an unlikely source. 
  • A prominent actor protested at Starbucks. 
  • Ashley Judd opens over the death of her mother, Naomi. 
  • And the Ukraine war is personal for an opera student.

The environment was in the news this week. Topics included:

  • The state of coral within Australia’s Great Barrier Reef
  • Lake Mead’s water levels.
  • New York City’s rat population.
  • And a look at how we can rethink our lawns.

In other science news, astronomers revealed the first image of the black hole in the center of our galaxy.

And finally, in international news, the deaths of tourists in the Bahamas was under investigation. The rights of women in Afghanistan are again threatened. And Hong Kong selected a new leader.

—Content provided by The Associated Press. Material compiled and narrated by Terry Lipshetz, senior producer for Lee Enterprises