State of the economy, messaging before the midterms and remembering the queen | Hot off the Wire podcast

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The state of the economy has been a major concern this past year and was nearly derailed further by a labor dispute.

Early Thursday, rail companies and their workers reached a tentative agreement to avert a strike that could have shut down the nation’s freight trains, further adding to supply chain problems that have persisted since the start of the pandemic.

Mortgage rates hit another high this week, topping 6% for the first time since the housing crash in 2008. A year ago the rate was below 3%.

Small businesses are feeling the crunch as consumers pull back on spending, and income inequality has been on the rise.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden unveiled a plan to modernize airports during a stop in Boston and touted a commitment to electric vehicles at the auto show in Detroit.

The midterm elections are right around the corner, so we’ll take a look at how President Biden has altered messaging as well as his approval rating, potential abortion legislation, shifting politics in Georgia and the latest news on former President Donald Trump.

This past Sunday was the 21st anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. We listen to details on memorials from the day as well as the status of the mastermind behind the attacks.

In other national news, there have been many societal changes since the start of the pandemic. Two suspicious packages, including one that exploded, were found in Boston. A onetime aid to Andrew Cuomo is suing the former New York governor.

A deal ended a teacher’s strike in Seattle. Ken Starr, who investigated former President Bill Clinton, died. It was the 60th anniversary of President Kennedy’s moonshot speech. And there was an unwanted patron at a North Dakota bar.

Details have been released for Monday’s funeral services for Queen Elizabeth II as the United Kingdom mourns its longtime monarch. 

In other international news, Ukraine has made progress in pushing back its Russian invaders. We listen to details, as well get an update on the state of a nuclear plant and Russia’s attempts to influence foreign politics.

Plus, Iranian citizens have been charged in a hacking campaign and the state of COVID in the Philippines.  

And finally, in health and technology news, a look at the perception of healthcare in the U.S. and concerns over misinformation on TikTok.

— Compiled and narrated by Terry Lipshetz from Associated Press reports