Inflation slowed in April for first time in 9 months – National & International News – WED 11May2022

Analysts believe gas prices will continue to rise over summer. Democrats believe oil and gas companies are price gouging customers.

 

 

Inflation slowed in April for first time in 9 months. Senate GOP and Joe Manchin block abortion rights bill. American reporter killed in Israel raid.

 

 

NATIONAL NEWS

Inflation slowed in April for first time in 9 months

The rise of inflation slowed slightly in April after several straight months of increases. Year-on-year inflation last month rose by 8.3%, a slight decrease from the 8.5% rise in March. This increase was still near a 40-year high.

It’s not yet clear if this is the beginning of the end of a 9-month streak of red hot inflation. Analysts say the minor slowdown was due in large part to a temporary drop in gas prices. Gas prices have since risen to near record highs once again. The price of used cars, a major indicator of inflation, also dipped somewhat in April.

It is far to early for consumers to expect much relief on grocery bills and other major drivers of inflation. The factors that led to price increases, including the war in Ukraine, rising consumer demand, and supply chain woes are still in play. The war in Ukraine has not only impacted gas prices but will also drive up the price of certain staple foods in the near term.

In an effort to cool demand and slow inflation, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates on short-term loans by half a percentage point last week. The Fed had previously raised the rate by one-quarter percentage point up from near-zero in February. 

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Senate Republicans and Joe Manchin block abortion rights bill

The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) was defeated in the Senate 51-49 with all 50 Republican Senators and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin voting against. The WHPA would have codified the right to abortion at the federal level and prevented states from placing undue burdens on patients or providers. Following the leaked Supreme Court draft decision on Roe v. Wade last week, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed to bring the measure to a vote, despite the impossibility of it passing.

Manchin as well as Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins have said they nominally support abortion rights and would vote in favor of a bill to codify Roe v. Wade. However, all three said that the provisions of WHPA were too broad. Murkowski and Collins have floated the narrower Reproductive Choice Act (RCA) as an alternative. The RCA would bar states from denying patients the right to choose to have an abortion but would allow states to pass certain restrictions. Abortion-rights groups said the RCA would not sufficiently protect abortion rights. It would do little to curtail medically unnecessary waiting periods or specifications for the design of clinics that many states have used to force clinics to close.

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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Al Jazeera accuses Israeli forces in fatal shooting of American reporter 

A Palestinian-American journalist was fatally shot in the head during a raid of a refugee camp in the West Bank. Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, was reporting for Al Jazeera on the Israeli military raids on the camp and a nearby town of Jenin. Al Jazeera says it was Israeli forces who fatally shot Akleh, who was wearing a helmet and body armor that clearly identified her as a member of the press. The Israeli Defense Ministry claims that Palestinians actually killed Akleh in a firefight with the military raiding party.

Jenin and other towns in the occupied West Bank have been a hotbed for violence in recent weeks. There have been dozens of shootings and fatal stabbings of Israeli citizens over the past two months by Palestinians. Over the weekend, three Israeli men in an Orthodox-Jewish settlement in the West Bank were axed to death. Police have arrested two Palestinians in connection with that assault. 

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