Biden Administration Is Moving Toward a Narrower Student Loan Relief Targeting Groups of Borrowers 

Photo of President Joe Biden retrieved from taken by Evan Vucci. 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is moving toward a narrower student loan relief plan that would target specific groups of borrowers — those with soaring interest, for example — rather than a sweeping plan like the one the Supreme Court rejected in June.

The Education Department on Monday released a draft of new federal rules paving the way for a second attempt at student loan relief. The proposal targets groups that are seen as especially vulnerable, focusing on those who owe so much, or make so little income, that they otherwise may never repay their loans.

Though full details are likely months away, the department says it wants to cancel some or all student debt for: borrowers whose balances exceed what they originally owed; those who have loans that entered repayment 25 or more years ago; those who used loans to attend career-training programs that led to “unreasonable” debt loads or insufficient earnings; those who are eligible for other loan forgiveness programs but did not apply.

Credit to Sueng Min Kim and Collin Binkley 

Israel Pushes Deeper Into Gaza and Frees Hama Captive; Netanyahu Rejects Calls for Cease-Fire 

Photo of Palestinians watching car get bulldozed. Retrieved from Credit to Hatem Ali. 

KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli ground forces pushed deeper into Gaza on Monday, advancing in tanks and other armored vehicles on the territory’s main city and freeing a soldier held captive by Hamas militants. The Israeli prime minister rejected calls for a cease-fire as airstrikes landed near hospitals where thousands of Palestinians are sheltering beside the wounded.

The military said a soldier captured during Hamas’ brutal Oct. 7 incursion was rescued in Gaza — the first rescue since the weekslong war began. Military officials provided few details but said in a statement that Pvt. Ori Megidish, 19, was “doing well” and had met with her family.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed her home, saying the “achievement” by Israel’s security forces “illustrates our commitment to free all the hostages.”

Credit to Najib Jobain, Samy Bagdy and Lee Keath 

Google CEO Defends Paying Apple and Others to Make Google the Default Search Engine on Devices

Photo of Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai retrieved from Credit to Jose Luis Magana. 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Testifying in the biggest U.S. antitrust case in a quarter century, Google CEO Sundar Pichai defended his company’s practice of paying Apple and other tech companies to make Google the default search engine on their devices, saying the intent was to make the user experience “seamless and easy.’’

The Department of Justice contends that Google — a company whose very name is synonymous with scouring the internet — pays off tech companies to lock out rival search engines to smother competition and innovation. According to court documents the government entered into the record last week, the payments came to more than $26 billion in 2021, a year in which operating expenses for Google’s parent company, Alphabet, were nearly $68 billion.

Google contends that it dominates the market because its search engine is better than the competition’s. “We are working very, very hard for any given query we provide the best experience,’’ Pichai said. “That’s always been our true north.’’

Credit to Paul Wiseman

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