Gas prices dip below $4; FBI’s Wray denounces threats; lower prices offer slight reprieve from inflation | Hot off the Wire podcast

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U.S. gas prices have dipped under $4 a gallon for the first time in more than five months. AAA says the national average is $3.99 for a gallon of regular. That’s down 15 cents in just the last week, and 68 cents in the last month.

Russia is using billboards to urge men to join the military and authorities have set up mobile recruiting centers. This is happening amid reports that hundreds of soldiers are refusing to fight in Ukraine and are trying to quit the military.

The director of the FBI has strong words for supporters of former President Donald Trump who have been using violent rhetoric in the wake of his agency’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. Christopher Wray says threats circulating online against federal agents and the Justice Department are “deplorable and dangerous.”

China has renewed its threat to attack Taiwan following almost a week of war games near the island, amid international condemnation and a stinging rebuke from the self-governing democracy’s government.

Africa’s public health agency says the continent of 1.3 billion people still does not have a single dose of the monkeypox vaccine, but “very advanced discussions” are underway with at least two partners.

A federal judge has ruled that Walgreens can be held responsible for contributing to San Francisco’s opioid crisis for over-dispensing opioids for years without proper oversight and failing to identify and report suspicious orders as required by law.

The New York Yankees are going through a rare rough patch, the New York Mets are rolling, a Braves newbie hits it out of the park, Detroit Tigers GM Al Avila is let go, and Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is set to start at their pre-season opener.

Government data released Wednesday showed that consumer prices jumped 8.5% in July compared with a year earlier. That’s down from a 9.1% year-over-year increase in June. The reprieve offered no certainty that prices would stay on the decline. Inflation has sometimes slowed only to re-accelerate later.

Donald Trump says he invoked the Fifth Amendment and wouldn’t answer questions under oath in the long-running New York civil investigation into his business dealings. 

Kobe Bryant’s widow is taking her lawsuit against the Los Angeles County sheriff’s and fire departments to a federal jury, seeking compensation for photos deputies shared of the remains of the NBA star, his daughter and seven others killed in a helicopter crash in 2020.

A Nebraska woman has been charged with helping her teenage daughter have an abortion. The charges come after investigators obtained Facebook messages in which the mother and daughter discussed using medication to end the approximately 24-week pregnancy.

Ukraine’s air force says that nine Russian warplanes were destroyed in massive explosions at an air base in Crimea amid speculation they were the result of a Ukrainian attack.

A Louisiana man convicted of the 1979 killing of his roommate and another friend is being released after 42 years in prison, his life sentence without possibility of parole recently commuted by a state board.

Donald Trump reasserted his grip on Republicans in Wisconsin’s primary, but both Democrats and Republicans say that the former president’s involvement in the state’s key races for governor and U.S. Senate could come back to hurt them in the swing state. 

President Joe Biden has signed veterans health care legislation that ends a long battle to expand benefits for troops who served near toxic “burn pits.” The ceremony Wednesday at the White House was a personal matter for Biden.

China is criticizing a U.S. law to encourage processor chip production in the United States and reduce reliance on Asian suppliers as a threat to trade and an attack on Chinese business. The law signed this week by President Joe Biden promises grants and other aid to investors in U.S. chip factories.

U.S. health officials have authorized a plan to stretch the nation’s limited supply of monkeypox vaccine by giving people just one-fifth the usual dose. In an announcement issued Tuesday, they cited research suggesting that the reduced amount is about as effective.