10 things you need to know today: May 4, 2023
Russia accuses Ukraine of trying to kill Putin in Kremlin drone strike, the Fed raises interest rates again, and more
Russia accuses Ukraine of attacking Kremlin with drones
Russia claimed Wednesday that it foiled an attempt by Ukraine to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin with two drones that hit the Kremlin. Ukraine's leaders denied the accusation, which Russia made without providing any evidence of an attempt on Putin's life. "We don't attack Putin or Moscow," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on a visit to Finland. "We fight on our territory. We are defending our villages and cities." Three U.S. officials told NBC News that Washington received no advance notice of any such attack, and expressed skepticism that a drone could get anywhere near the Kremlin with all of the air defenses concentrated in Moscow to protect it. Even a blocked strike against the Russian capital would show surprising vulnerability. Russian nationalists expressed outrage and called for retaliation.
Fed hikes interest rates for 10th time but indicates pause
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised interest rates a quarter of a percentage point, suggesting it might pause its aggressive campaign to fight inflation, providing time to assess whether the damage from recent bank failures will get worse. The indication this 10th straight hike might be the last marked a significant shift in the central bank's effort to bring down inflation and steer the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said another issue currently creating anxiety for markets, the fear that Congress will fail to raise the debt ceiling and allow a catastrophic default on federal debt, shouldn't even be considered a possibility. "We shouldn't even be talking about a world in which the U.S. doesn't pay its bills," Powell told reporters. "It just — it just shouldn't be a thing."
Partner charged with helping suspect hide after killing of 5 neighbors
The partner of Francisco Oropeza, the man charged with killing five neighbors in Texas, was arrested Wednesday on charges that she hindered the search for him. Divimara Lamar Nava, 53, had denied she knew where Oropeza was during the four-day search that ended when he was found hiding under a pile of laundry in a closet at a house investigators went to after receiving a tip. Authorities think she was the one who hid Oropeza in the home near the city of Conroe where he was found. Lamar Nava is not described as legally married to Oropeza in jail records, but authorities identified them as spouses. Other unidentified people connected with Oropeza also were arrested.
8 students killed in Serbia school shooting
A seventh-grade student armed with two pistols and Molotov cocktails fatally shot seven girls, one boy, and a security guard at his school in Serbia's capital, Belgrade, on Wednesday. Another six students were wounded, one 13-year-old with "life-threatening injuries," in the attack at the Vladislav Ribniker primary school in the upscale Vracar neighborhood, said Belgrade police Chief Veselin Milic. The suspect, identified by police as 13-year-old Kosta Kecmanovic, also was carrying four Molotov cocktails. Police said they had not determined a motive for the shooting, but that the teenager had planned for a month, drawing sketches of the school and making a list of people to kill. School shootings are rare in Serbia.
History, civics scores fall on Nation's Report Card
National Assessment of Educational Progress test scores released Wednesday showed that eighth graders' knowledge of civics declined last year for the first time since the current testing framework was started in 1998. Scores plunged most sharply in history on the so-called Nation's Report Card, in a stark reminder of the effects the pandemic had on education. About 40 percent of eighth graders had "below basic" scores in U.S. history last year, up from 34 percent in 2018 and 29 percent in 2014. The backsliding during the years after COVID-19 hit the United States accelerated a trend of worsening test scores that started a decade earlier. Only 13 percent of the students scored at the proficient level in U.S. history, down from 18 percent in 2014.
FDA approves 1st RSV vaccine
The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved a shot developed by pharmaceutical giant GSK as the first vaccine to prevent the respiratory ailment RSV, respiratory syncytial virus. The move marked a milestone in the six-decade search for a way to protect vulnerable people from the virus. RSV is little more than a typical cold for most healthy people, but every year it lands more than 60,000 older adults in hospitals and sickens so many babies, leaving them gasping for air, that it overloads some pediatric intensive care units. A Pfizer vaccine is close to being approved, too, for older adults and pregnant women as protection for newborns. Regulators also are reviewing a monoclonal antibody treatment for babies developed by Sanofi and AstraZeneca.
Olympic medalist Tori Bowie dies at 32
U.S. sprinter and long jumper Tori Bowie, a three-time Olympic medalist, has died, her agent Kimberley Holland said Wednesday. She was 32. No cause of death was immediately released. Holland said Bowie was found dead in her Florida home. USA Track and Field tweeted that it was "deeply saddened" about the death of Bowie, whose "impact on the sport is immeasurable." Bowie was on the 100-meter relay team that won the gold at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. She also took silver in the 100 meter dash and the 200 meters at the same games. She won gold in the 100 meters at the IAAF World Championships in 2017, and was part of the gold-medal winning 100-meter relay team. "My heart breaks for the family of Tori Bowie," tweeted Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who finished just behind Bowie in the 100-meter relay and 100-meter sprint at the 2016 Games. "A great competitor and source of light."
Former FBI agent arrested on Jan. 6 charges
Authorities arrested a former supervisory agent for the FBI, Jared Wise, on charges that he entered the Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack by a mob of then-President Donald Trump's supporters, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. Wise, 50, allegedly yelled at police officers outside the building. "You are the Nazi. You are the Gestapo," he allegedly said. "Shame on you!" The FBI launched an investigation in January 2022 after receiving a tip that Wise entered the Capitol during the riot by Trump supporters trying to prevent Congress from certifying Trump's 2020 election loss to President Biden.
Asteroid passes near Earth
An asteroid passed near Earth on Wednesday at a distance just greater than that between the Earth and the moon. The asteroid is about the size of a bus, according to NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), and will approach Earth at a distance of approximately 270,000 miles. For reference, the moon is approximately 240,000 miles away from Earth. That distance is close enough for the asteroid, named 2023 HV5, to be classified as a near-Earth object (NEO) in the context of outer space. NEOs are "generally defined as an asteroid or comet that approaches our planet less than 1.3 times the distance from Earth to the Sun," and for the most part, tend not to be a threat, according to NASA.
Missy Elliott, Sheryl Crow, and Kate Bush among Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees
Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliott, George Michael, Willie Nelson, Rage Against the Machine, and The Spinners are among the artists set to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the organization revealed Wednesday. Bush was nominated multiple times before finally making it in this year after her song "Running Up That Hill" gained new life thanks to its use in the Netflix show Stranger Things. Crow, Elliott, Michael, and Nelson were on the ballot for the first time this year. Elliott previously said she was "humbled and grateful" for the "incredible honor" of becoming the first female hip-hop artist welcomed into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.