Hot off the Wire: Listen to today’s top stories

Congress is on the verge of approving a $13 billion bipartisan gun violence bill that seemed unimaginable a month ago. House approval is expected Friday on legislation that would be lawmakers’ most sweeping answer in decades to mass shootings that have come to shock yet not surprise Americans.

The Senate approved the measure Thursday, with 15 Republicans joining Democrats in backing passage. The election year vote comes just weeks after a gunman massacred 19 elementary school students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, and a white man motivated by racism allegedly killed 10 Black grocery shoppers in Buffalo, New York.

Governors, lawmakers and attorneys general in states with strict gun-permitting laws are strategizing over how to shore up their restrictions after Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision expanded gun rights in a New York case.

The head of the United Nations has warned the world faces “catastrophe” because of the growing shortage of food around the globe. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the war in Ukraine has fueled an “unprecedented global hunger crisis” already affecting hundreds of millions of people. Guterres said U.N. negotiators have been working on a deal that would enable Ukraine to export food and let Russia bring food and fertilizer to world markets without restrictions.

A regional governor in eastern Ukraine says that the country’s troops will retreat from a besieged city to avoid encirclement. The city of Sievierodonetsk, the administrative center of the Luhansk region, has faced relentless Russian bombardment.

Toyota is recalling 2,700 of its bZ4X crossover vehicles globally for wheel bolts that could become loose, in a major setback for the Japanese automaker’s ambitions to roll out electric cars.

The House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol revealed Thursday that several Republican loyalists in Congress who trumpeted the president’s claims later sought pardons from the White House after the effort failed.

In sports, a Duke player goes No. 1 in the NBA draft, the Yankees stun the Astros, the Braves beat the Giants, a Pro Football Hall of Famer dies and another Manning will be heading to the SEC.

Former top Justice Department officials have testified to the Jan. 6 committee that President Donald Trump hounded the department to pursue his false election fraud claims, contacting the agency’s leader “virtually every day” and striving in vain to enlist the government’s top law enforcement officials in his desperate bid to stay in power.

The House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol heard testimony Thursday that Trump was fixated on fake voter fraud claims and insisted the officials pursue them despite being repeatedly told that none had any merit.

Federal agents searched the Virginia home of a Trump-era Justice Department official who championed efforts by Trump to overturn the results of the 2020 election. That’s according to a person familiar with the matter. 

The Supreme Court has ruled that Americans have a right to carry firearms in public for self-defense, a major expansion of gun rights. The court struck down a New York gun law in a ruling expected to directly impact half a dozen other populous states.

Thursday’s decision came with recent mass shootings fresh in the nation’s mind and Americans emotionally divided on the issue. Across the street from the court, the Senate sped toward passage of its own national legislation, a gun law modest in scope but still the most far-reaching in decades.

Authorities say a knife-wielding psychiatric patient has fatally stabbed one man and wounded another inside a Las Vegas hospital. Metro Police say the stabbings occurred early Thursday in the psychiatric ward of University Medical Center.

A judge has given final approval to a settlement of more than $1 billion for victims of the collapse of a Florida beachfront condominium. Ninety-eight people died when the 12-story Champlain Towers South suddenly collapsed. It was one of the deadliest building failures in U.S. history.

Michigan has agreed to destroy more than 3 million dried blood spots taken from babies and kept in storage. It’s all part of a partial settlement in an ongoing lawsuit over consent and privacy in the digital age. Hospitals routinely prick the heels of newborns to draw blood to check for more than 50 rare diseases. That practice isn’t being challenged. The dispute in Michigan is over leftover samples.

Health officials have ordered vaping company Juul to pull its electronic cigarettes from the U.S. market. It’s the biggest blow yet to the embattled company that is widely blamed for sparking a surge in teen vaping. The announcement Thursday by the Food and Drug Administration is part of a sweeping regulatory review of e-cigarettes, which faced little regulation until recently.

Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates inched up this week following last week’s mammoth jump, the biggest in 35 years. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the 30-year rate ticked up to 5.81% this week, from last week’s 5.78%.

Andrea Fuentes prevented a tragedy at the swimming world championships in Budapest, Hungary, with her quick reaction. The United States coach knew something was wrong when she saw artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez sink motionless to the bottom of the pool during a solo free routine on Wednesday.

Listen to new podcast episodes from our other programs