OFF TARGET The federal government heads closer to bringing back low rates on government-backed college loans just in time for the fall semester. This would mean interest on student loans would not double come September. However, the new rates will likely be subject to market forces and will no longer be set by Congress. Good news for the short term and those graduating in 2014. As for the long term—those of you without yachts can head on over to studentaid.ed.gov for info on finding the scholarships you’ll inevitably need before graduation.
SEX ABUSE LAWS
BULL’S EYE In addition to saying he won’t pass judgment on gay priests, Pope Francis unveils Vatican City legislation that provides harsher penalties for sex crimes, including sexual violence, prostitution and possession of child pornography as crimes against children. Such crimes carried a penalty of three to 10 years in prison, but the new laws raise that to five to 12 years—which still doesn’t seem like a whole lot to us, but it’s a step in the right direction.
PARTIAL SCORE President Obama sets Twitter abuzz after claiming that broccoli is his favorite food at a luncheon hosted by his wife, Michelle. While everyone may now be wondering if the president’s gone insane, it’s clear that this was a message intended for the kids—the luncheon’s not called the “Kids’ State Dinner” for nothing. I mean, we love broccoli just as much as the next guy, but out of all the foods you could pick as your favorite… we just don’t buy it.
BULL’S EYE A study published in the journal Science links hydrofracking to earthquakes. The scientists looked at the Maule earthquake in Chile in 2010, the Tohuku-oki quake in Japan in 2011, and the Sumatra in Indonesia in 2012 and found that these major earthquakes, even 20 months later, triggered smaller earthquakes in fracking regions of the Midwestern U.S. So, there are negative consequences to shooting pressurized chemicals into the depths of the Earth? No fracking way!
PARTIAL SCORE A video of a Death Valley National Park employee frying an egg in a skillet with nothing but the sun’s rays to help her out has caused a bit of a problem for the park’s staff—namely, that their park is now covered in egg thanks to a bunch of overeager visitors who “forgot” their skillets at home. The park took to its Facebook page to tell the public not to crack eggs on its sidewalks, which the park staffer in the video explicitly said wouldn’t work anyway. Maybe the heat’s gotten to them.
BULL’S EYE The remains of long-time Boston Strangler suspect Albert DeSalvo are exhumed, and DNA tests confirm a link between DeSalvo to the last murder victim of the 1960s serial killer who has never been identified. The 19-year-old victim, Mary Sullivan, believed to be one of at least 11 victims of the same killer, was found strangled in her Boston apartment in 1964, giving new meaning to French writer Emile Zola’s words: If you shut up truth and bury it under the ground, it will but grow…”