Griner, Whelan families to meet Biden; details of queen’s state funeral; mortgage rates hit 6% | Hot off the Wire podcast

Wkbt 1920x1080

Rail companies and their workers reached a tentative agreement to avert a nationwide strike that could have shut down the nation’s freight trains and devastated the economy less than two months before the midterm elections. President Joe Biden announced the deal Thursday.

Biden plans to meet at the White House on Friday with the families of WNBA star Brittney Griner and Michigan corporate security executive Paul Whelan, both of whom remain jailed in Russia. The meetings are to be the first in-person encounter between Biden and the families and come amid sustained but so far unsuccessful efforts by the administration to secure the two Americans’ release.

A boil-water notice has been lifted in Mississippi’s capital city after nearly seven weeks. Gov. Tate Reeves and Jackson officials made the announcement Thursday.

A Virginia man who stormed the U.S. Capitol while wearing an antisemitic “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt over a Nazi-themed shirt has been sentenced to 75 days of imprisonment. Photographs of Robert Keith Packer wearing the sweatshirt went viral after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

Thousands of mourners are waiting for up to nine hours in line to file past the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as she lies in state at Westminster Hall. The queue to pay respects to the late monarch stretched for 4.4 miles past Tower Bridge on Thursday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for his “balanced” approach to the Ukrainian crisis and blasted Washington’s “ugly” policies at a meeting that followed a major setback for Moscow in the war.

Roger Federer has announced that he is retiring from professional tennis at the age of 41 after winning 20 Grand Slam titles. Federer has not competed since Wimbledon in July 2021.

Two minutes of silence will be observed Monday across the United Kingdom at the end of Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey. That’s to give the British public a chance to pay their respects to the late monarch. Buckingham Palace released details Thursday of the state funeral and a ceremony at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor ahead of her private interment later Monday.

Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates climbed over 6% this week for the first time since the housing crash of 2008, threatening to sideline even more homebuyers from a rapidly cooling housing market. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the 30-year rate rose to 6.02% from 5.89% last week.

President Joe Biden’s popularity has improved substantially from his lowest point this summer, but concerns about his handling of the economy persist. That’s according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Support for Biden recovered from a low of 36% in July to 45%, driven in large part by a rebound in support from Democrats just two months before the November midterm elections.

Newly revealed text messages show how deeply a Mississippi governor was involved in the state paying more than $1 million in welfare money to Brett Favre to help pay for one of the retired NFL quarterback’s pet projects. Instead of the money going to help low-income families in one of the nation’s poorest states, as intended, it was funneled through a nonprofit group to Favre and was spent on a new volleyball facility at a university both men attended.