Greetings, all! I’ve been away for a week, and I’m just now catching up on some of the things that have been happening in the U.S. and elsewhere. Sometimes being without the internet for a week makes one feel as though everything happens when one is not paying attention! Let’s get started:
With two earthquakes occurring in three weeks, the death toll in Nepal is currently around 8,200 people, and the search for both bodies and survivors continues.
In Pennsylvania, an Amtrak train has crashed and eight people are dead. Investigators are still trying to determine what went wrong.
The UN has released a report on the U.S. that criticizes “the country for police violence and racial discrimination, the Guantánamo Bay Detention Facility and the continued use of the death penalty.”
(However, it’s a bit like the pot calling the kettle black, with Russia joining in on the criticisms.)
On a related note: Now thirteen people have stepped forward to say that they experienced abuse and sexual assault in Chicago’s Homan Square police facility.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is opening a public inquiry on student loans in the U.S.
“Student loan servicers often make more money when they spend as little time as possible on each account, and they typically get paid more when a borrower is in repayment longer,” Richard Cordray, the director of the agency, says in remarks prepared for delivery at a hearing Thursday in Milwaukee. “So we are evaluating whether the typical methods of servicer compensation can jeopardize the interests of borrowers.”
Student loans are now the largest source of consumer debt outside of mortgages, according to Cordray. Two-thirds of graduates are finishing their bachelor’s degrees with debt that averages nearly $30,000, he added — a sum that can threaten the economic stability of young Americans and their future.
“Take us with you, Scotland” is a new refrain from some citizens in the North of England, who believe that the rest of their country does not represent their needs. Somewhat surprisingly, there are those in Scotland who welcome the idea.
In other British politics news of note: the UK now has more LGBTQ MPs than ever.
And in Oregon, here’s an interesting profile on the state’s bisexual governor, Kate Brown — who is also the first LGBTQ governor in the U.S.
Perhaps this is only newsworthy to the pitter-patter-pounding of my heart, but Cate Blanchett recently came out as not-straight, saying that she has had many relationships with women in the past.
In Other News:
More science confirms that cats are not the cold-hearted, lovable bastards we sometimes take them to be.
Women on 20s has determined a winner in their campaign to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.
Ever wondered what comparably popular name you’d have in other decades? Here’s a handy tool to find out.
Why are Minecraft videos so addictive? (Says the mother of two children who are often watching them.)
Harry Shearer, voice of Ned Flanders and Mr. Burns on The Simpsons, is leaving the show after more than 25 years.
And finally, in case you missed it, here are the 2015 BAFTA Winners.
Until next time, friends!