AP News Summary at 4:16 p.m. EDT | Nation/World News

Biden calls for 3-month suspension of gas and diesel taxes

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is calling on Congress to suspend federal gasoline and diesel taxes for three months — an election-year move meant to ease financial pressures. But it’s not clear Biden has the votes to suspend the taxes. Many lawmakers in his own party have expressed reservations. Biden says he knows the move wouldn’t reduce “all the pain but it will be a big help.” If the gas tax savings were fully passed along to consumers, people would save roughly 3.6% at the pump. Prices average about $5 a gallon nationwide. Biden also wants states to suspend their own gas taxes or provide similar relief.

Powell: Fed aims to avoid recession but says it’s possible

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell sought to reassure the public that the Fed will raise interest rates high and fast enough to quell inflation, without tightening credit so much as to throttle the economy and cause a recession. Testifying to the Senate Banking Committee, Powell faced skeptical questions about the Fed’s ability to tame inflation, which has surged to the top of Americans’ concerns as congressional elections near. Democrats wondered whether the Fed’s accelerated rate hikes will succeed in curbing inflation or might instead just tip the economy into a downturn. Several Republicans charged that the Powell Fed had moved too slowly to begin raising rates and now must speed up its hikes.

Afghanistan quake kills 1,000 people, deadliest in decades

GAYAN, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan’s state-run news agency reported a powerful earthquake struck a rural, mountainous region of the country’s east, killing 1,000 people and injuring 1,500 more. Wednesday’s quake was the country’s deadliest in two decades. Officials warned that the already grim toll may still rise. Information remained scarce on the magnitude 6.1 earthquake near the Pakistani border. But early footage from villages tucked among the rough mountains showed residents picking through rubble of collapsed stone and mud-brick houses. The disaster posed a major test for the Taliban-led government. The Taliban seized power last year as the US and its allies were withdrawing from the country.

Ukraine expects EU-wide support for candidacy to join bloc

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A Ukrainian deputy prime minister overseeing the country’s push to join the European Union says she’s “100%” certain all 27 EU nations will approve making Ukraine a candidate for membership in the bloc. In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna said the decision could come as soon as Thursday. She says countries that had been skeptical about starting accession talks while Ukraine is fighting Russia’s invasion are now supportive. Granting a country EU candidate status requires unanimous approval from existing member nations. Candidacy is the first step toward membership. It doesn’t provide security guarantees or an automatic right to join the bloc.

Cement carbon dioxide emissions quietly double in 20 years

New global data shows that emissions of heat-trapping gases coming from making cement have doubled in the last 20 years. That’s much faster than carbon pollution from burning coal, oil and gas. In fact even during the pandemic shutdown, carbon dioxide emissions from cement making never dropped. It’s all being driven by China, which is responsible for more than half of the globe’s cement carbon emissions. Cement-making spews carbon dioxide in two ways. The chemical process releases the heat-trapping gas and it also comes from the high heat in the process.

Protesters turn Supreme Court front into forum on abortion

WASHINGTON (AP) — A steady stream of protesters has turned the street in front of the Supreme Court building into an open-air forum encapsulating the fierce national debate over abortion. That’s after the leak of a draft opinion suggesting the justices would overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. Both supporters and foes of abortion rights have gathered during large, organized weekend marches and on weekdays when the court is scheduled to release its opinions. They march and chant; sometimes they attempt to shout the other side down. For each, the reasons for protesting are deeply personal.

Congress alleges ‘shadow’ probe by Commanders owner Snyder

A US House committee says Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder conducted a “shadow investigation” that sought to discredit former employees making accusations of workplace sexual harassment. The committee released a memo ahead of a hearing Wednesday. The Committee on Oversight and Reform is investigating the Commanders’ workplace culture following accusations of pervasive sexual harassment by team executives of women employees. Snyder declined to testify at the hearing, but the committee plans to issue a subpoena to compel a deposition. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told the committee that Snyder “has been held accountable.”

Decades later, ‘Torso Killer’ charged in killing at NY mall

MINEOLA, NY (AP) — More than five decades after Diane Cusick’s lifeless body was discovered in the parking lot of a mall on New York’s Long Island, authorities have linked her death to the so-called “Torso Killer.” The suspect, Richard Cottingham, is believed to be one of America’s most prolific serial killers. He was arraigned Wednesday on a second-degree murder charge in Cusick’s 1968 killing in Nassau County. From a hospital bed in New Jersey, Cottingham pleaded not guilty. He’s already serving a life sentence for other killings.While he has claimed he was responsible for up to 100 homicides, authorities have only officially linked him to a dozen so far.

Ravens linebacker Jaylon Ferguson dies at age 26

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jaylon Ferguson has died at age 26. Police said the cause of death is still to be determined but that no foul play is suspected at this time. Ferguson played three NFL seasons. All were with Baltimore. Ferguson set the college Football Bowl Subdivision career sacks record with 45 when he played at Louisiana Tech, and he was drafted by the Ravens in the third round in 2019. He played in 38 games as a pro and had 4 1/2 sacks. Ferguson was born Dec. 14, 1995, in St. Francisville, Louisiana. He played high school football and basketball at West Feliciana.

From ‘carp’ to ‘copi’: unpopular fish getting a makeover

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — If “invasive carp” doesn’t sound appetizing, how about a plate of copi? The state of Illinois is unveiling a market-tested rebranding campaign to make the fish appealing to consumers. Four species imported from Asia decades ago now infest the Mississippi and other rivers in the US heartland. They also threaten the Great Lakes. Officials say the fight to contain them would get a boost if more people would eat them. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources hired a marketing firm to find a new name. And “copi” is the winner. Chefs, distributors and others in the food industry say it’s a tasty, healthy fish.

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