AP News Summary at 9:56 p.m. EDT | National

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Uvalde school police chief on leave after mass shooting

DALLAS (AP) — The Uvalde School District Police Chief has been placed on leave following allegations that he erred in his response to a mass shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers . Superintendent Hal Harrell said Wednesday he has placed School Police Chief Pete Arredondo on administrative leave. Arredondo has been criticized for his role as commander in charge of the response to the May 24 massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Officers armed with rifles waited in a school hallway for more than an hour as the shooter carried out the massacre. Arredondo tried to defend his actions, telling the Texas Tribune that he didn’t see himself as the commander and that he assumed someone else took control of the police response.

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

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is asking Congress to suspend federal gasoline and diesel taxes for three months — an election-year move meant to ease fiscal pressures. But it’s not clear that Biden has the votes to suspend 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 gas tax savings were fully passed on to consumers, people would save about 3.6% at the pump. Average prices are around $5 a gallon nationwide. Biden also wants states to suspend their own gasoline taxes or provide similar relief.

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

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has sought to reassure the public that the Fed will raise interest rates high enough and fast enough to rein in inflation, without tightening credit to the point to strangle the economy and cause a recession. Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee, Powell faced skeptical questions about the Fed’s ability to control inflation, which has risen to the top of Americans’ concerns as the congressional election nears. Democrats wondered if the Fed’s accelerated rate hikes would succeed in curbing inflation or instead could simply tip the economy into a slowdown. Several Republicans have accused Powell’s Fed of moving too slowly to start raising rates and now needs to accelerate its hikes.

Afghanistan quake kills 1,000, deadliest in decades

GAYAN, Afghanistan (AP) — The official Afghan news agency reported that a powerful earthquake struck a rural and mountainous region in the east of the country, killing 1,000 people and injuring 1,500 others. Wednesday’s earthquake was the country’s deadliest in two decades. Officials have warned that the already grim toll could rise further. Information remained sparse about the 6.1 magnitude quake near the Pakistani border. But the first images of villages nestled among the rugged mountains showed residents digging through the rubble of collapsed stone and mud-brick houses. The disaster was a major test for the Taliban-led government. The Taliban seized power last year as the United States and its allies withdrew from the country.

Appalling shootings, political forces align for speedy gun deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — Last month’s mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, produced a wave of change in Congress. Years of mass killings of children, worshipers and others have failed to spur lawmakers to pass significant legislation, so far. Buffalo and Uvalde arrived just 10 days apart, and the victims were elementary school students, teachers, and shoppers engaged in daily activities. Lawmakers say that helped spark a visceral demand from the public for Congress to finally do something. Feeling the pressure to act, bipartisan negotiators produced a compromise gun violence bill that the Senate is set to approve later this week. Action by the House is expected some time later.

January 6 Hearings: What We Learned and What’s Next

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House committee investigating the Capitol insurrection heard from election workers and state officials on Tuesday as it described former President Donald Trump’s pressure on the States to reverse his 2020 election defeat. On Thursday, they will hear from former Justice Department officials who resisted Trump’s pleas to declare the election “corrupt.” The fourth and fifth committee hearings are part of the panel’s effort to show how Trump’s pressure ultimately shifted to Congress and how his misrepresentations of widespread election fraud led to the violence of January 6, 2021, when hundreds of his supporters violently stormed the Capitol.

Ukraine expects EU-wide support for bloc membership bid

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A Ukrainian deputy prime minister overseeing the country’s effort to join the European Union said she was “100 percent” certain that all 27 EU countries would approve the country’s candidacy. Ukraine to join 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 early as Thursday. She says countries that had been skeptical about opening membership talks as Ukraine struggled against the Russian invasion are now supportive. Granting a country EU candidate status requires the unanimous approval of existing member countries. Application is the first step towards membership. It does not provide security guarantees or an automatic right to join the block.

Former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum has been charged

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum has been indicted on 21 federal charges, including conspiracy and wire fraud, for allegedly channeling donations through third parties to itself for personal use. The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced the indictment on Wednesday. Gillum is also accused of making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. That’s the latest issue for Gillum, who was the Democratic candidate for governor of Florida in 2018. He narrowly lost to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in a race that required a recount. In March 2020, Gillum was found intoxicated and unconscious in a hotel room with two men, one of whom works as a male escort.

Good dog! The Westminster Dog Show prepares to choose a winner

TARRYTOWN, NY (AP) — The top dog will soon be crowned at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The best show prize will be awarded Wednesday night at America’s most prestigious dog show. Westminster is often described as the Super Bowl of dog shows, and Winston the French Bulldog is aiming to do just that for co-owner Morgan Fox, a defensive lineman just signed by the Los Angeles Chargers. Winston faces Belle the English Setter, River the German Shepherd, Trumpet the Bloodhound, Hollywood the Maltese, Striker the Samoyed and another finalist to be chosen on Wednesday night.

Ravens linebacker Jaylon Ferguson dies at 26

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jaylon Ferguson has died at age 26. Ferguson played three seasons in the NFL. All were with Baltimore. Ferguson set the college’s Football Bowl Subdivision career sack record with 45 when he played at Louisiana Tech, and he was drafted by the Ravens in the third round in 2019. He played 38 games as a pro and had 4 1/2 bags. Ferguson was born on December 14, 1995 in St. Francisville, Louisiana. He played high school football and basketball at West Feliciana.

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