“Their strength is extraordinary, and we will do everything that we can to pursue justice not only on their behalf but on behalf of all of us.” United States attorney Carmen J. Ortiz, about the families of the victims of the Boston marathon bombing, referencing the indictment of suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev who pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges on July 10, 2013
WEEK OF JULY 8, 2013
Nation: Airline tragedy in San Francisco.
On Sunday, an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 airliner traveling from Seoul, South Korea crash landed and caught fire at San Francisco International airport. 182 passengers were treated at local hospitals, 123 were not injured and sadly, two female Chinese students (both aged 16) died. Federal safety investigators will focus on flight operations, human performance, survival factors and the aircraft in trying to determine the cause of the crash, which could take months to years. Benjamin Levy was on the plane and described the landing, “We were approaching perfectly well, but we were too low. When the pilot realized it, he put some more gas to correct it, but it was too late, so we hit the runway pretty bad, and we started going up in the air again, and we landed pretty hard.”
World: Violence continues in Egypt.
On Monday at least 54 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi were killed when the police opened fire on a group outside the Cairo barracks where Morsi is believed to be held. While witnesses have reported that the attacks were unprovoked, military leaders say that the violence began when members of the Muslim Brotherhood attacked the officers’ club of the Republican Guard. Meanwhile, the U.S. has held off on taking a solid position, preferring to watch, and choose its words carefully, as the situation continues to develop. But then, that hasn’t stopped the scheduled delivery of four F-16s, a move that some have taken to signal support for the coup.
Politics: Success for the farm bill in the House.
House Republicans successfully passed a Farm Bill Thursday after removing the funding for food stamps. Though it might not seem an obvious addition to a bill on agriculture, this is the first time since 1973 that food stamps haven’t been a part of the farm bill, showing once more just how much the atmosphere in Congress has changed. The victory comes three weeks after the bill was blocked by conservative lawmakers and rural state Democrats who opposed the inclusion of the funds, but the fate of the food stamp program isn’t quite sealed yet. The program, which was 80 percent of the original bill’s cost, is still the centerpiece of the Senate’s own legislation, and the two sides have yet to duke it out.
Business: Senate blocks lowering student loan rates. Boo.
On Tuesday, a bill failed to pass in the Senate that would have granted a one-year extension on the 3.4 percent interest rate on new subsidized Stafford loans. That rate expired on July 1, returning to 6.8 percent. These loans represent about 40 percent of money disbursed by the government in education loans each year. The bill would have also bought lawmakers more time to craft a long-term strategy for setting interest rates for all federal education loans, which was in discussion on Thursday: tying rates for all federal loans for undergraduates to the variable rates of the 10-year Treasury bond, plus 1.8 percentage points. Loans for graduate students would be the Treasury rate plus 3.4 percentage points. We say, figure it out already, and keep rates low.
Women’s Affairs: So, where’s the women’s Tour de France?
As the excitement of the Tour de France heats up, Former World Time Trial champion Emma Pooley has launched a campaign to reignite the women’s event, which hasn’t taken place in four years. The race, which existed as the ‘Tour de France Feminin’ in the 80s, has taken place on and off over the years, and endured various legal battles over its name, along with limits on the distance women are allowed to ride. Pooley hopes to change all of that by launching a women’s Tour that takes place alongside the mens. “It’s already such a huge logistical operation, adding 50 female cyclists wouldn’t be a problem.” said Pooley. Sounds good to us!