AP News Summary at 3:46 p.m. EST

Fed raises key rate by half-point and signals more to come

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve reinforced its inflation fight by raising its key interest rate for the seventh time this year and signaling more hikes to come. But the Fed announced a smaller hike than it had in its past four meetings at a time when inflation is showing signs of easing. Though lower than its previous three-quarter-point hikes, the latest move will further increase the costs of many consumer and business loans and the risk of a recession. The policymakers also signaled that they are prepared to raise their benchmark rate by an additional three-quarters of a point and leave it there through 2023. Some economists had expected that the Fed would project only an additional half-point increase.

Live updates | France-Morocco in the World Cup semifinals

AL KHOR, Qatar (AP) — Kolo Muani has scored in the 79th minute to give France a 2-0 lead over Morocco in the World Cup semifinals.

Ukraine: Russian strikes thwarted, wreckage hits buildings

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian authorities say they thwarted a Russian attack on Kyiv and the surrounding region as their air defense system destroyed 13 explosive-laden drones. An official said drone wreckage damaged five buildings. No casualties were reported. The attempted strikes underlined the continued vulnerability of Ukraine’s capital but also highlighted Ukraine’s claims of increasing efficiency in intercepting weapons. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian forces fired 13 Iranian-made drones, and all were intercepted. Ukraine’s capital remained largely calm after Wednesday’s attack, which occurred around daybreak. In another development, Ukraine’s human rights chiefs said authorities discovered evidence that children were tortured in formerly Russian-occupied areas.

US deaths fell this year, but not to pre-COVID levels

NEW YORK (AP) — The number of U.S. deaths has dropped this year, but there are still more than there were before the coronavirus hit. Preliminary data — through the first 11 months of this year — indicates 2022 will see fewer deaths than the previous two COVID-19 pandemic years. Current reports suggest deaths may be down about 3% from 2020 and about 7% from 2021. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted its latest data Wednesday. It will be months before health officials have a full tally. COVID-19 is the nation’s third leading cause of death — behind heart disease and cancer.

Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss, ‘Ellen’ show’s dancing DJ, dies at 40

Longtime “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” DJ Stephen “tWitch” Boss has died at the age of 40. Boss’ wife, Allison Holker Boss, confirmed his passing in a statement published Wednesday on People.com. The statement Allison issued to People did not include any detail on the cause of his death. tWitch started his tenure at the Ellen Show in 2014 and later was promoted to co-executive producer in 2020. He began his career in the entertainment business in 2008, placing as a runner-up on “So You  Think You Can Dance.” He is survived by his wife and three children.

Trump Org. was secretly held in contempt for hindering probe

NEW YORK (AP) — According to a judge’s secret contempt ruling, Donald Trump’s company impeded a grand jury investigation last year by repeatedly failing to turn over evidence in a timely fashion, leading to a $4,000 fine. Court records made public Tuesday show that the Trump Organization was found to have been “willfully disobeying” four grand jury subpoenas and three court orders, to the detriment of Manhattan prosecutors who were left ill-prepared to question witnesses. The subpoenas preceded the Trump Organization’s July 2021 indictment on criminal tax fraud charges for helping executives avoid taxes on company-paid perks. The company was convicted this month and faces a fine of up to $1.6 million.

Peru’s new government declares police state amid protests

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Peru’s new government has imposed a police state amid violent protests following the ouster of President Pedro Castillo. The defense minister said the military will support national police in restricting the rights of people across the Andean nation to gather and move and be free from search and seizure. Peru’s new president, Dina Boluarte, has pleaded for calm and raised possibility of scheduling general elections for a year from now. Demonstrators have called for immediate elections for the presidency and all of Congress. Meanwhile Castillo remains jailed as authorities build a rebellion case against him. At least seven people have died in the demonstrations.

China won’t report asymptomatic COVID cases in further shift

BEIJING (AP) — China says it will stop reporting asymptomatic COVID-19 cases since they’ve become “impossible” to track with mass testing no longer required. That’s another step in the country’s uncertain exit from some of the world’s strictest antivirus policies. China last week announced its most significant easing yet of antivirus measures and has begun to see what appears to be a rapid increase in new infections. That has raised concerns that its health system could become overwhelmed as those in other countries did during early COVID waves. So far, though, many of those newly sick are staying home and there has been little evidence of a surge in patient numbers. But it’s difficult to get a clear picture of the virus’s spread.

US storm brings tornadoes, blizzard-like conditions; 2 dead

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A destructive storm marching across the U.S. spawned tornadoes that authorities say killed a young boy and his mother near Shreveport, Louisiana, and left trail of destruction several miles long. The National Weather Service said more tornadoes were expected Wednesday from New Orleans to Mobile, Alabama, with additional severe weather possible in the Florida panhandle. The storm dumped about 2 feet of snow in South Dakota and forecasters expect the storm system to hobble the upper Midwest with ice, rain and snow for days, as well as move into the Northeast and central Appalachians.

The AP names its nine Breakthrough Entertainers of 2022

This year’s nine Associated Press’ Breakthrough Entertainers of the Year includes actors and musicians who flowered in 2022. They are Sadie Sink, Stephanie Hsu, Tenoch Huerta, Joaquina Kalukango, Iman Vellani, Daryl McCormack, Tobe Nwigwe, Simone Ashley and Danielle Deadwyler. Three of them have connections to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and several had important starts on Broadway. Sink found a breakthrough on “Stranger Things” and ”The Whale,” while Hsu also was a Broadway veteran with a few TV credits when she was asked to play both a sullen teen and an intergalactic supervillain in the movie “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

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