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Biden’s Student Loans Forgiveness Scheme on Hold Until June 2023

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Biden's Student Loans Forgiveness Scheme on Hold Until June 2023

The Biden administration has again suspended the student loans repayment scheme, claiming that the delay will allow courts to rule on the Democrats’ plan to forgive some debt.

It has now been extended until June 30, 2023, marking the eighth time that the US Education Department has delayed requiring student loan repayment.

President Joe Biden stated that his student loan forgiveness plan is completely “legal.”

On November 10, a federal judge in Texas dismissed the plan following a lawsuit filed by a conservative group on behalf of two borrowers who did not qualify for all of the program’s benefits.

Days later, a US court of appeals in St Louis, Missouri, granted an injunction against the program requested by six Republican-led states. The White House then petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the plan.

The program has ceased accepting new applications due to litigation.

Former President Donald Trump appointed the federal judge in Texas, who argued that the Biden administration had illegally bypassed Congress by approving a $400 billion program through a presidential executive order.

In a video posted on Twitter on Tuesday, Mr. Biden blamed Republican special interests and elected officials who were sued to deny this relief even to their own constituents.

“It’s not fair to expect tens of millions of eligible borrowers to resume student debt payments while the courts consider the lawsuit.”

In August, Mr. Biden announced his plan to cancel up to $20,000 (£16,800) in student debt per person, or $10,000 for Americans earning less than $125,000 per year.

According to the General Accountability Office, the moratorium, which began in March 2020, has already cost more than $100 billion in lost student loan repayments and interest.

Over 26 million Americans have applied for student loan forgiveness.

Sixteen million have been approved, but court cases have prevented the Department of Education, which is in charge of student debt, from clearing their records.

Americans collectively owe the US government $1.5 trillion in university loans.

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According to court documents, U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman declared the loan forgiveness plan illegal because Biden did not follow federal procedures to allow for public comment prior to the policy’s announcement.

The Job Creators Network Foundation filed the lawsuit in North Texas court in October on behalf of two borrowers who are ineligible for all of the program’s benefits. Those borrowers disagreed with the program’s eligibility criteria, and the lawsuit claimed that they were unable to express their dissatisfaction.

The latest assault on Biden’s loan forgiveness programs comes after the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit temporarily halted the program last month in response to a lawsuit filed by six Republican-led states. The Texas lawsuit adds to the growing list of legal challenges to Biden’s loan forgiveness plan, which he announced in August. Borrowers began submitting applications for the program in October.

Republicans and other advocacy groups have since slammed the program as a handout to high-paid professionals. In September, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a letter claiming that student loan forgiveness would harm the working class.

However, people earning more than $125,000 are ineligible for the loan relief program. Eligible applicants are limited to $10,000 in relief unless they are Pell Grant recipients, in which case they can receive up to $20,000 in relief.

According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, 56% of students who graduated from four-year public universities in 2021 had approximately $25,000 in student debt.

Biden’s decision to forgive more money for low-income students who qualify for federal Pell Grants will have a particularly large impact on low-income borrowers and people of colour, who are more likely to qualify for federal financial aid and have higher levels of student debt.

student loans

The US Department of Education closed the online portal for student debt relief on Friday, which had been accepting applications since Thursday evening.

“Courts have issued injunctions against our student debt relief program. As a result, we are not accepting applications at this time. We are attempting to have those orders overturned “According to the website.

According to the Texas lawsuit, Biden’s program violated the Administrative Procedure Act by not allowing for public comment. The lawsuit also claims that the Secretary of Education lacks the authority to implement the program.

One of the plaintiffs, Alexander Taylor, is not eligible for $20,000 in forgiveness because he did not receive a Pell Grant, which is only available to low-income students, and thus will only be entitled to $10,000 off his student loans.

Myra Brown, the other plaintiff, has privately held loans that are no longer covered by Biden’s plan. Previously, commercially held loans like Brown’s could be consolidated into Direct Loans, which meet the eligibility requirements of Biden’s program, but the Education Department changed this policy in response to multiple lawsuits from conservative states.

Brown had previously benefited from a federal loan forgiveness program as the owner of Desert Star Enterprises Inc., according to The Intercept. According to the publication, Brown’s company received a $48,000 business loan, $42,997 of which was forgiven in April as part of the Paycheck Protection Program.


Ukraine War: Burger King Still Open In Russia Despite Pledge To Exit

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Despite the brand’s owner’s over-a-year-old pledge to depart Russia, Burger King remains operational as usual.

Restaurant Brands International (RBI), which owns 15% of the fast-food chain’s franchise business in Russia, informed the BBC that it had “no new updates to share at this time” regarding its departure.

The company announced in March 2022 that it had begun the process of leaving Russia.

Western companies have been under pressure to flee Russia since the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict.

Critics accused RBI of “sustaining Putin’s regime” by neglecting to ditch its stake in its Russian business.

RBI, one of the largest fast-food restaurant companies in the world, has cited its complex franchise agreement as the reason for its inability to leave the country.

The transaction is a joint venture with three other entities involving approximately 800 restaurants.

David Shear, the president of the RBI, stated in March 2022 that Burger King’s primary operator in Russia “refused” to close the restaurants following the initial assaults on Ukraine.

However, he added that the company had “begun the process” of selling its 15% stake and that it would take “some time.”

burger king

Ukraine War: Burger King Still Open In Russia Despite Pledge To Exit.

When asked by the BBC about the progress made 18 months after the promise, a representative for the Canadian-American company stated that there were no updates.

Steven Tian, a Yale University research team member that monitors corporate responses to the Ukraine conflict, argued that using franchise agreements as an “excuse” was a “convenient smokescreen.” He noted that companies like Starbucks could terminate their contracts and leave the country.

By continuing to do business in Russia 18 months after Putin invaded Ukraine, they are sustaining Putin’s regime, he stated.

Since early 2022, Burger King in Russia has yet to generate a profit, according to a spokesperson for RBI, which is refusing new investment and supply chain support.

“Do the proper thing.”
Mark Dixon, founder of the Moral Rating Agency, a group that campaigns against companies doing business in Russia, demanded that RBI disclose its steps to abandon Russia.

burger king

Ukraine War: Burger King Still Open In Russia Despite Pledge To Exit.

“[The company] must be willing to violate its contract… It must assume the legal risk associated with doing the correct thing.”

Franchising is a distribution mechanism for goods and services. It entails a franchisor, a company that established the brand’s name, and a franchisee that pays a fee for the right to conduct business and sell its products.

In recent decades, it has been a tool utilized by many Western brands seeking to access new international markets. Typically, the length of the agreements is many years.

David Shear, the president of the RBI, stated in March 2022 that Burger King’s primary operator in Russia “refused” to close the restaurants following the initial assaults on Ukraine.

However, he added that the company had “begun the process” of selling its 15% stake and that it would take “some time.”

When asked by the BBC about the progress made 18 months after the promise, a representative for the Canadian-American company stated that there were no updates.


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Dianne Feinstein: ‘Pioneering’ Senator Dies Aged 90

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Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, who served for more than three decades and was a pioneer for women in American politics, passed away at 90.

Feinstein was the eldest senator in the United States, and she voted on Thursday.

The veteran Democrat was questioned about alleged memory and cognitive issues for months.

After a “minor fall” at home in April, she was admitted to the hospital, the latest in a series of health concerns.

The office of Ms. Feinstein stated in a statement that she died overnight at her residence in Washington, DC.

The statement continued, “Senator Feinstein was a force of nature who had an enormous impact on our country and her home state.” She left an incontestable and extraordinary legacy.

Governor Gavin Newsom of California must now appoint her replacement. He had previously promised to nominate a black woman to serve the remainder of her term, which ends in 2025.

Ms. Feinstein, born in 1933 and grew up in San Francisco, attended Stanford University and was elected to the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors in 1969.

This election marked the beginning of a long career in public service that led her to become the first female mayor of San Francisco and, in 1992, a senator.

She had previously proclaimed her intention to retire at the end of the following year, but she resisted mounting pressure. Several prominent Democrats, including Representatives Adam Schiff and Katie Porter, have previously declared their intentions to run for her Senate seat.


Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, who served for more than three decades and was a pioneer for women in American politics, passed away at 90.

In a statement issued after her passing, US President Joe Biden said that Ms. Feinstein “made history in so many ways, and generations to come will benefit from her legacy.”

Due to a case of shingles, she was absent from Capitol Hill for nearly three months earlier this year. Upon her return, she assumed fewer responsibilities and used a wheelchair to navigate the US Capitol. She occasionally appeared perplexed in interviews, committee hearings, and floor votes.

Ms. Feinstein was well-known for her ardent support of gun control measures and the 1994 assault weapons prohibition signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

After the murders of her predecessor, George Moscone, and city councilman Harvey Milk, she became mayor of San Francisco in 1978.

She stated that the experience of racing to Mayor Moscone’s office and discovering a bullet wound while searching for his pulse had left an indelible mark on her.

As a senator, Ms. Feinstein was the first woman to chair the influential Senate Intelligence Committee, overseeing a multi-year evaluation of the CIA’s controversial interrogation program of foreign terrorists following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The evaluation ultimately resulted in legislation prohibiting “enhanced interrogation techniques” on terrorism suspects, such as waterboarding.


Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, who served for more than three decades and was a pioneer for women in American politics, passed away at 90.

Ms. Feinstein was the first woman to serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the first woman to lead the Senate Rules Committee.

Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, described Dianne Feinstein as a “pioneering woman leader” in a statement.

“Dianne’s extraordinary career will inspire countless women and girls to pursue careers in public service for generations to come,” she said.

On the Senate floor, Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell praised “her dogged advocacy and diligent service”.

In recent years, concerns about her deteriorating health and cognitive abilities have prompted calls for her retirement and brought attention to the aging of America’s legislators.

During a committee vote, individuals around her could be heard in a widely circulated video telling her to “just say yes.”

Despite mounting family tensions, she is succeeded by a daughter, Katherine, who reportedly held power of attorney over her mother’s legal affairs. Richard Blum, her investment banker spouse, passed away last year.


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Soccer Player Paulinho Won’t Let Intolerance Of His Afro-Brazilian Religion Stop His Faith

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LAGOA SANTA, Brazil — When the Brazilian football player Paulinho scored a goal at the Tokyo Olympics, he celebrated by pointing an imaginary arrow at the glowing cameras as a tribute to a deity in his persecuted Afro-Brazilian religion and a shot at religious intolerance.

Subsequently, he lost over 10,000 social media followers for his public tribute to Oxóssi, a godly archer who uses his bow to stalk and feed the hungry.

He claims he progressively gained new fans in his soccer-obsessed South American nation by representing his Afro-Brazilian religion, Candomblé, and challenging religious intolerance. His religion has been subject to a rising tide of persecution, sometimes attributed to the rapid spread of evangelical Christianity in Brazil.

“Some competitors inquire about my religion, wanting to know what it is like… They always heed when I speak. But it’s still a small minority in football’, the 23-year-old Atletico Mineiro player said in an interview at his residence outside of Belo Horizonte in Brazil’s southeast. “I…get messages about how I express myself about the religion, some from people who also believe in the faith but aren’t too outspoken. And it’s great to feel that they appreciate what I do.”

In Brazil, only a small minority practice Candomblé. In recent years, however, reports of religious intolerance against them have increased, particularly at the hands of members of Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal congregations, whose mission is to convert unbelievers.


Although he was not as involved with Candomblé then, he felt targeted when he began his professional career in 2017 with the prominent club Vasco da Gama.

Some members of African-influenced religions have been subjected to verbal abuse, discrimination, and even the devastation of their temples and forced eviction from their neighborhoods.

Growing up in Rio de Janeiro, Paulinho experienced religious discrimination like his mother and grandmother before him.

His mother, Ana Christina Sampaio, recalled feeling insulted when other players’ parents implied that her son’s success on the football pitch was due to Afro-Brazilian sacrificial rituals.

She stated, “They disregarded Paulinho’s abilities and efforts.” Certainly, there is religious intolerance, but in Brazil, it appears to be religious bigotry against Candomblé.

As Catholic Portuguese colonists carried enslaved Africans to Brazil, these men and women merged their traditional religions with Catholicism. These religions are practiced by less than 1% of Brazil’s 210 million inhabitants.

Academics and advocates for religious freedom assert that neo-Pentecostal congregations sometimes demonize Afro-Brazilian religions. In uncommon instances, pastors have been found to explicitly direct radicalized evangelicals to commit acts of violence.

Sociologist Reginaldo Prandi stated, “Candomblé has always been persecuted; the only place in Brazil where its adherents are the majority is during Carnival.” He made note of the well-known traditional samba school competition in which references to Candomblé deities, or orixas, have been a constant for decades.


In recent years, samba schools have pleaded for Afro-Brazilians to be accepted and religious violence to cease.

“Prejudice cannot invalidate his football abilities. Everyone will forget about his religion if he proves to be an exceptional athlete. This is Brazil’s custom, said Prandi. However, it will be one of the first things people say when he performs poorly.

Paulinho stated that the prejudice he faced prompted him to abandon Brazil and play football in Europe. In 2018, he transferred to the German club Bayer Leverkusen for $21 million. In four years, he participated in 79 matches and scored nine goals. According to him, his faith was never an issue there.

Paulinho currently plays for the Brazilian club Atlético Mineiro, which in the 1980s featured some of the country’s first outspokenly evangelical soccer players. He still hopes to play professionally in England or Spain.

In Brazil, however, he has become an influential advocate for a marginalized religious minority.

He stated, “People recognize that I have a deeper understanding and knowledge of our religion.” Looking back… Candomblé has been present throughout all phases, illuminating the path. And now I can speak with more assurance.”

Earlier this year, Paulinho displayed his Candomblé pride during a game, provoking his detractors and bolstering his supporters. After scoring, he removed his shirt to reveal a new tattoo. It read “se” — or “energy” in Yoruba — or, as Axé is known to Brazilians, Axé, which is essential to Candomblé.

A supporter of Atletico Mineiro posted on Paulinho’s Instagram, “Get out of our club, macumbeiro!” shortly after. This term is sometimes used derisively to refer to Macumba members, defined as “a polytheistic religion of African origin… practiced mainly by Black Brazilians in urban areas.”

In the same post, another club supporter said: “You care more about candomblé and politics than football, you shouldn’t be here.”

Paulinho has also been targeted by far-right activists aligned with former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who had a significant evangelical support base. Paulinho was among the few active soccer players to publicly endorse President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the 2022 elections.


Growing up in Rio de Janeiro, Paulinho experienced religious discrimination like his mother and grandmother.

Since the 1960s, the acceptance of Candomblé among Brazil’s middle class has been facilitated by the support of Brazilian performers such as Grammy-winner Caetano Veloso.

“At that time, the world was in search of other civilizations. Europeans pursued Buddhism, while the Beatles travelled to India,’ said Prandi. “Brazilians were not required to travel.

“We had this very dramatic and theatrical religion in the state of Bahia, which originated with the Africans,” he continued. It was then that all intellectuals became involved; it was our counterculture.

Prandi stated nonetheless that persecution of Candomblé continued.

“Now Brazil has a very conservative movement, which led to the election of Bolsonaro, and people like Paulinho are viewed as a threat because he is a popular football player,” he said.

Others are following in Paulinho’s footsteps. After scoring the game-winning goal in the Brazilian Cup final against Flamengo on Sunday, Sao Paulo FC midfielder Rodrigo Nestor revealed on national television that he is a Candomblé follower.

Nestor told TV Globo after the match, “My orishas, my mother Ians, were with me.” He referred to the Candomblé deity of wind, lightning, magic, and fire.

Paulinho aims to again represent Brazil at the Paris Olympics next year. He maintains confidence in his abilities and religious pride. Before each contest, he prays to the divine beings for guidance. In addition, his mother blesses him with water and basil leaves to ward off negative vibrations.

“My faith has taught me to be patient,” said Paulinho. “This is also a wonderful quality of my orisha: Oxóssi only has one arrow, so he must be accurate. He must be patient.

“In some games, I have only one clean shot. I could get it right; I could get it wrong,” he added. “However, regardless of the outcome, I am confident that the discipline I’ve gained from Candomblé will allow me to find other opportunities if I remain resilient.”


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