5 things to know on Wednesday

The Fed is about to take major steps to calm inflation

The Federal Reserve should give interest rates their biggest increase in 22 years Wednesday in a bid to rein in an inflation rate that is raging at its highest level in 40 years. After raising its main short-term interest rate from near zero by a quarter of a percentage point in March, the Fed is expected to push it up another half point, its biggest move since 1994. And that is probably just the beginning: When the Fed started raising rates in March, it expects six more hikes this year and more in 2023. Wednesday’s move will drive up rates on everything from credit cards to loans mortgages; on the positive side, consumers will finally see bank deposit rates rise from paltry levels, especially for online savings accounts and CDs.

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EU chief calls on member countries to ban oil imports from Russia

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, leader of the European Union, on Wednesday called on the 27-nation bloc to ban oil imports from Russia in a sixth sanctions package targeting Moscow over its war in Ukraine. Von der Leyen, speaking in France, called on EU member countries to phase out imports of crude oil within six months and refined products by the end of the year. The proposals must be unanimously approved to enter into force and are likely to be the subject of fierce debate.

The move comes after Donetsk Regional Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said in a statement on Wednesday that 21 civilians had been killed and 27 others injured in Russian attacks on Tuesday. He added that this was the highest number of civilian casualties in the region, in eastern Ukraine, since April 8. Top Pentagon officials warned Congress on Tuesday that Russian military learns from mistakes as war enters new phasewhich will affect how the United States supports Ukraine.

Severe weather and wildfires continue to plague parts of the United States

Bad weather season is in full swing across the central and southern United States this week. A line of severe storms crosses the central United States, with the next system expected to make landfall Wednesday and Thursday from the southern plains, the National Weather Service said. Earlier this week, tornado watches and severe thunderstorm warnings were issued in Kansas, Oklahoma and the Ohio Valley region. At the South West, a growing wildfire in New Mexico has burned hundreds of square miles, destroys about 170 homes and threatens further destruction. Dan Pearson, a fire behavior analyst with the US Forest Service, warned that dry winds are expected to increase and shift Wednesday, pushing fire and smoke toward the city of Las Vegas, New Mexico. Schools in the community have canceled classes until at least Wednesday. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed her request for a presidential disaster declaration on Tuesday and said she hoped it would provide financial assistance for recovery efforts.

Amber Heard to testify in defamation lawsuit with Johnny Depp

Amber Heard is set to speak on Wednesday as the defamation lawsuit between the actress and her ex-husband and fellow actor Johnny Depp continues into its fourth week. Heard’s team began calling witnesses on the stand, beginning with psychologist Dawn Hughes who testified Tuesday that Heard suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder due to violence, including sexual abuse, Depp’s hands. Depp said he never physically attacked Heard and that she was the abuser who hit him regularly during their relationship. Heard’s lawyers had asked the judge to dismiss the case on Tuesday, but the judge refuse Requirement. Depp is suing Heard for $50 million, alleging she defamed him by a 2018 Washington Post opinion column where she claimed to have been the victim of domestic violence. Depp’s agent, Jack Whigham, testified Monday that the op-ed was “catastrophic” for Depp’s career.

May the 4 be with you! ‘Star Wars’ fans unite and celebrate

“May 4th” is a day for all lovers of Jedi, Resistance, Skywalkers, Hutts, Boba Fett, Baby Yoda and many more “Star Wars” characters to unite and celebrate everything in the galaxy far, far away. Why May 4, you ask? Well, it’s right there in the date, a play on “May the Force be with you”. The day has become known as Star Wars Day, an unofficial holiday that originated from a line of dialogue in George Lucas’ space saga, “Star Wars: A New Hope.” In the 1977 film, General Dodonna cheers on the Rebel fighters before they begin their assault on the Empire’s Death Star and, to wish them well, says, “And may the Force be with you !” The phrase’s first official application to May 4 was in 1979, when Britain’s Conservative Party paid for a newspaper ad saying, “May the fourth be with you, Maggie.” Congratulation ! to celebrate the appointment of party leader Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister.

Contribute: The Associated Press

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