Biden's Mideast trip, inflation update, DC gun control rally: 5 things to know Wednesday

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Biden’s Mideast trip aims to build ties with Israel, Saudi Arabia

President Joe Biden will begin his first presidential trip to the Middle East in Israel — America’s closest ally in the region — Wednesday before he visits Saudi Arabia on Friday. One monumental task Biden will have in both countries is to convince officials he is committed to preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power. Since taking office, he has been dealing with other priorities, particularly Russia and China. To start, the Associated Press reports that Israeli officials said the U.S. and Israel would issue a “Jerusalem Declaration” that will take a tough stance on Iran’s nuclear program. Biden will also be walking a tightrope between other political challenges and his promises to prioritize human rights. Critics say that due to America’s “ironclad” commitment to Israel, it has not held the government accountable for its treatment of Palestinians. Administration officials say Biden has worked to restore ties with the Palestinians that had been essentially severed during the Trump administration.

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CPI report will likely support new rate hike by Fed

Several early warning signs of inflation are easing, and economists say that should lead to softer price increases in a few months. But the encouraging data isn’t expected to show up in the June consumer price index (CPI), due out Wednesday, with the annual rise likely to notch yet another new 40-year high of 8.8% after jumping from 8.3% to 8.6% in May. And that ugly inflation report will probably prompt the Federal Reserve to jack up its key interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point for a second straight month later in July, according to economists. While there are signs that inflation should pull back – including lower prices on oil, wheat and other commodities – it takes some time for such changes to work their way into consumer prices.

Highland Park survivors to rally at US Capitol, push for gun control legislation

Organizers are expecting up to 1,000 people to converge on the U.S. Capitol Wednesday in support of stricter gun laws in the wake of the July Fourth mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois. The “March Fourth” rally is part of a broader call for action in the wake of recent mass killings, including most recently the attack in Highland Park, where a gunman climbed to a rooftop in the Chicago suburb and opened fire on a parade. Seven people were killed and dozens of others were wounded. Organizers say harsher policies need to be enacted to prevent the steady stream of mass killings. There have been 333 mass shootings so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Families and survivors from Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman opened fire in an elementary school in May, killing 21 people, were also expected to attend.

Akron declares day of mourning for Jayland Walker

Two weeks after police killed Jayland Walker – an unarmed Black man – in Akron, Ohio, the city has declared Wednesday to be a day of mourning. Walker’s funeral also will be held Wednesday at the Akron Civic Theatre. Officers shot and killed Walker, 25, on June 27 as he fled police who were pursuing him for a traffic violation and an equipment violation, according to authorities. Akron City Council on Monday passed the resolution declaring Wednesday as a city-wide day of mourning for Walker, while public speakers and protesters gathered at the city hall to criticize the council for failing to reform Akron police. Police said they will continue with their current traffic stop and chase policies.

Biggest supermoon of the year to rise

The biggest supermoon of the year is set to rise Wednesday in the southeastern sky. July’s full moon will reach peak illumination at 2:38 p.m. ET, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. “It will be below the horizon at that time, so plan to look toward the southeast after sunset to watch it rise into the sky,” the almanac advised. When the moon’s orbit brings it closer to Earth than usual, the cosmic combo is called a supermoon. The moon can appear slightly bigger and brighter than normal, weather permitting. In addition to being a supermoon, July’s moon may also be known as a “buck” moon “because the antlers of male deer (bucks) are in full-growth mode at this time,” the Old Farmer’s Almanac said. It is is also called the “thunder” moon because of early summer’s frequent thunderstorms, NASA’s Gordon Johnston added.

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden’s Mideast trip, inflation update: 5 things to know Wednesday