On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: World leaders condemn Russia’s invasion
The war in Ukraine has been a major theme at this week’s U.N. meetings. Plus, national political correspondent Phillip Bailey explains why Arizona’s secretary of state race is in the national spotlight, a new lawsuit accuses former President Donald Trump of fraud, money reporter Medora Lee looks at the impact of Federal Reserve rate hikes and another powerful earthquake rocks Mexico.
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Good morning. I’m Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things you need to know Thursday, the 22nd of September, 2022. Today, the latest from UN meetings as much of the world condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Plus a closer look at rising interest rates and more.
Here are some of the top headlines:
- Hurricane Fiona hit Turks and Caicos yesterday as a Category 3. Puerto Rico is still working to recover with more than a million homes and businesses still without power yesterday.
- A day after more than 200 whales were found stranded in Tasmania, only 35 were alive earlier today. It’s not clear what led the animals to wash up on the Australian Island.
- And two people have finally claimed the ticket to the third largest jackpot lottery win in US history. They came forward in Illinois, nearly two months after the mega millions $1.34 billion winning ticket was announced.
President Joe Biden yesterday strongly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and for the world to stand behind efforts against the aggression. In an address to the United Nations, he also called Russian leader Vladimir Putin reckless for making veiled nuclear threats.
President Joe Biden:
A permanent member of the United Nations Security Council invaded its neighbor, attempted to erase the sovereign state from the map. Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenants of the United Nations Charter. No more important than the clear prohibition against countries taking the territory of their neighbor by force. Again, just today, President Putin has made overt nuclear threats against Europe and a reckless disregard for the responsibilities of the non-proliferation regime. Now, Russia’s calling up more soldiers to join the fight and the Kremlin is organizing a sham referendum to try to annex parts of Ukraine, an extremely significant violation of the UN Charter.
Biden’s comments came after Putin accused the West of nuclear blackmail. He said, “Those who are attempting to blackmail us with nuclear weapons must be aware that the prevailing winds may also turn towards their side.”
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also addressed the UN yesterday. He even got a standing ovation.
Mankind and the international law are stronger than one terrorist state. Russia will be forced to end this war. We can return the Ukrainian flag to our entire territory. We can do it with the force of arms, but we need time.
Zelenskyy said Russia has made no serious effort to negotiate an end to the war, accusations also thrown toward Ukraine.
Meanwhile, a pair of Americans fighting for Ukraine have been freed in a prisoner exchange after being captured in June. Saudi Arabia brokered a swap with Russian-backed separatists featuring other prisoners too, including five British nationals.
In Russia, protests have sparked this week across the country with more than 1400 arrests made in 38 cities nationwide. Activists are protesting the government’s latest plan to call some 300,000 citizens into military service. Russia passed a law in February that makes it a criminal offense punished by up to 15 years in prison to discredit the military. Russia has used the law to stamp out dissent to its invasion of Ukraine.
Arizona’s Secretary of State races are usually sleepy campaigns, but this year’s contest will take the national spotlight when the two major party contenders clash in their first debate tonight. Producer PJ Elliott spoke with national political correspondent, Phillip Bailey for a preview of what’s to come.
The past two years, our country has been unusually consumed by the last election, the 2020 presidential election due to these continued and persistent lies about who won the 2020 election. Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential race. Yet we see this growth of election deniers, about more than 300 or so who are running for some pretty serious public offices here in 2022, including secretaries of state. We wrote last year, USA TODAY, about this proliferation and this coalition of “America first” secretaries of state candidates who are running in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, some really important swing states. People who have denied the outcome of the 2020 election who are now running to oversee the next election, and probably more so than any of them, Mark Finchem of Arizona is the face of that movement.
So what should people be looking for in this specific debate in Arizona, which takes place tonight?
I think look, Mark Finchem, the Republican candidate for Secretary of State in Arizona, is running against the Democrat, Adrian Fontes. The Fontes campaign has leaned heavily into the election denial claims by representative Finchem, they have not shied away from it. If you notice Mr. Fontes’s first campaign ad of this race, he talks about being a Marine and he uses footage from the January 6th riots. He goes after Finchem and calls him a radical and extremist. He’s the first sort of person who’s going to have a debate here where Democrats and others are saying democracy itself is on the line. Now, obviously other issues like inflation, the economy, and abortion have taken the forefront. But in these secretaries of state races, in particular, voting rights and election denialism is going to be at the forefront. What I’m looking forward to see is how aggressive Fontes is and is he going to be sort of a rallying cry to remind Democrats and voting rights advocates around the country of what’s at stake in 2022.
So how can those that are not living in Arizona watch this?
These secretary of state races, PJ, are typically very sleepy affairs. A lot of people even in state don’t necessarily pay attention to their secretary of state race, but this is going to seize national attention. Obviously, the Arizona Republic will be paying attention to this, along with USA TODAY through our websites. Obviously, the Arizona PBS is hosting the debates, so it’s going to be on their website. But for national audiences, C-SPAN is probably the best way to watch. This is going to be nationally broadcast. Like I said, usually, these races are sort of a snooze fest and they’re very anonymous. People are like, “Who’s running for secretary of state.” This year’s going to be different, not just in Arizona, but in Nevada and Michigan and many other key states. Secretary of state races are going to be at the forefront and we’re going to be watching them pretty much in the same way we watch gubernatorial or senate races.
You can find Phillip’s full story in today’s episode description.
Former President Donald Trump is being accused of mass fraud in a lawsuit this week. New York Attorney General Letitia James yesterday accused him of padding his net worth by billions of dollars and misleading banks about his assets.
We are filing a lawsuit against Donald Trump for violating the law as part of his efforts to generate profits for himself, his family, and his company. The pattern of fraud and deception that was used by Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization for their own financial benefit is astounding.
Yesterday’s lawsuit filed in state court in Manhattan is the culmination of a three-year civil investigation into Trump and the Trump Organization. His three oldest children, Donald Jr, Ivanka, and Eric, were also named as defendants along with two longtime company executives. In more than 200 pages, the suit alleges dozens of instances of fraud. They include claims made on annual financial statements as proof of his riches as he looked for loans and deals. In one example, he said to have claimed his Trump Tower apartment was nearly three times its actual size and valued the property at $327 million. The Attorney General said no New York City apartment has ever sold for close to that amount. James said the investigation also found evidence of potential criminal violations, including insurance fraud and bank fraud, but she said her office was referring those findings to outside authorities.
The Federal Reserve has announced that it’s raising interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point again for the third consecutive time. So how will that hit your wallet and portfolio? PJ Elliott spoke with money reporter, Medora Lee for some answers.
So when the Fed raises interest rates, it doesn’t actually raise consumer rates, but it raises what is considered its Fed funds rate. It’s a benchmark, interest rate, and all other consumer rates will eventually follow in a ripple effect through the economy. When the Fed raises rates, you should expect mortgage rates to rise. If you’re already locked into a fixed mortgage rate, you probably don’t have to worry, your rate will just remain the same where you locked it in. But if you haven’t bought a home yet, you should expect those rates to be higher, so you’ll have to weigh more carefully whether you can afford this house now because your monthly payments will be bigger and weigh how much you want the house because you’ll be paying more.
So what about credit cards? How is that going to be affected?
That’s probably going to be very huge because credit cards notoriously already have very high rates. And I think that with every rate hike that comes credit card rates will rise even more. Already they’re almost like 20% or something on some of these credit cards. So with credit cards, you should probably be looking to stop spending so much on your credit card and if you can find credit cards with lower interest rates. A lot of credit card companies are still offering 0% balance transfers, so you should really take advantage of that. Usually, they’ll give you 0% on your credit card for something like 18 months or something. And during that, if you transfer your balance, you can start paying down your principal right away before the rate shoots up. So just make sure you don’t spend any more on that card though because your goal is to lower your debt not increase it.
Yes, absolutely. So let’s talk about savings and stocks now, how are those affected by a Fed rate hike?
So the stock market is going to be tough. I mean, they’re always going to be some companies that can weather this. But basically though higher interest rates kind of slows down the entire economy and it makes borrowing more expensive for consumers and for businesses. So for their business investments, they’ll be paying more if they have to take out a loan. And then they get a little bit of a whammy from consumers if they have to pay more for their money as well, they may not buy as much of whatever it is you’re selling or serving. So this could really hurt the stock market a lot. Generally, the high-growth companies like tech companies are the first to feel it because they generally spend a lot of money now for future growth. If they have to pay more for that money now that’ll hurt your future growth.
Another powerful earthquake has hit Mexico, this time with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8. The quake hit early this morning in the western state of Michoacan near the Pacific Coast. That comes just three days after a 7.6 magnitude quake shook western and central parts of the country, killing at least two people. That was the third major earthquake to strike the country on September 19th, following previous ones in 1985 and more recently in 2017. Those September 19th quakes came right around when the country was doing its annual earthquake drill conducted every year to mark the 1985 tragedy that killed nearly 10,000 people.
Thanks for listening to 5 Things. You can find us seven mornings a week wherever you get your audio, including Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Thanks to PJ Elliott for his great work on the show, and I’m back tomorrow with more of 5 Things from USA TODAY.