Is student loan forgiveness on the horizon?

President Joe Biden said he’ll consider student loan forgiveness in the coming weeks. And this doesn’t sound like a real thing, but it is: Deadly pathogens can hitch a ride on microplastics, according to a new study.

πŸ‘‹ It’s Laura. It’s Thursday. That means it’s time for Thursday’s news!

But first, let’s start off with some extremely good news. ❀️🐾 A cat that was missing for 16 YEARS was reunited with his owner. (Fair warning, this story made me cry some happy tears.)

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πŸ”Ž Student loan forgiveness

Student loan debt? He’s thinking about it. As pressure grows from progressives to offer relief for student loan borrowers, President Biden said Thursday that he was considering using executive authority in coming weeks to cancel student loan debt β€” but less than $50,000. “I’m in the process of taking a hard look at whether or not … there will be an additional debt of forgiveness,” Biden said. Pressure has been mounting on the Biden administration to offer widespread debt relief to borrowers as the administration continues to pause payments. Since March 2020, the federal government has frozen the requirement that the nation’s 41 million borrowers pay back their t loans. Biden extended the moratorium until Aug. 31 after it was going to expire in May.

A person wearing a medical jacket holds a sign during a Cancel Student Debt rally outside the US Department of Education in Washington, DC, on April 4, 2022.

Selling Russian mega-yachts for a good cause?

Auctioning off one of those mega-yachts owned by Russian oligarchs may become easier if the Biden administration gets its wish – and it would support a good cause. The White House said Thursday that it would seek authority to streamline the process for seizing sanctioned Russian assets and having the proceeds be used to help Ukraine in its war with Russia. The administration said it would send the proposal to Congress alongside a supplemental request to support Ukraine. “We’re going to seize their yachts or luxury homes and other ill-begotten gains of Putin’s kleptocracy,” President Joe Biden said.

A Civil Guard stands by the yacht called Tango in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, Monday April 4, 2022. US federal agents and Spain's Civil Guard are searching the yacht owned by a Russian oligarch.  The yacht is among the assets linked to Viktor Vekselberg, a billionaire and close ally with Russia's President Vladimir Putin, who heads the Moscow-based Renova Group, a conglomerate encompassing metals, mining, tech and other assets, according to US Treasury Department documents.  All of Vekselberg's assets in the US are frozen and US companies are forbidden from doing business with him and his entities.  (AP Photo/Francisco Ubilla) ORG XMIT: PW106

A Civil Guard stands by the yacht called Tango in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, Monday April 4, 2022. US federal agents and Spain’s Civil Guard are searching the yacht owned by a Russian oligarch. The yacht is among the assets linked to Viktor Vekselberg, a billionaire and close ally with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, who heads the Moscow-based Renova Group, a conglomerate encompassing metals, mining, tech and other assets, according to the US Treasury Department documents. All of Vekselberg’s assets in the US are frozen and US companies are forbidden from doing business with him and his entities. (AP Photo/Francisco Ubilla) ORG XMIT: PW106

What everyone’s talking about

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🏈 Kicking off the NFL draft

For pro football fans, the biggest day of the offseason arrives Thursday with the first round of the NFL draft. Las Vegas is hosting the TV extravaganza for the first time, with 21 top prospects scheduled to attend. For the second consecutive year, the Jacksonville Jaguars will be on the clock first with the No. 1 overall selection. Will they go with Michigan DE Aidan Hutchinson, who tops USA TODAY Sports’ ranking of the top 50 prospects? Or will they pick Georgia DE Travon Walker, who goes No. 1 in our final mock draft? You can watch it unfold on ABC, ESPN and NFL Network (8 pm ET). Rounds 2-3 will take place Friday at 7 pm; Rounds 4-7 are Saturday at noon. Here’s how to watch.

The 2022 NFL draft will take place in Las Vegas.

The 2022 NFL draft will take place in Las Vegas.

Moderna seeks FDA OK for COVID-19 vaccines for younger kids

Moderna has submitted a request for emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine for children 6 months through 5 years old, the company announced Thursday. In the company’s study of 6,700 kids in the 6-month to under-6-year age group, researchers found after receiving two 25-microgram doses of the vaccine they developed levels of virus-fighting antibodies comparable to young adults who received two doses of the full-strength 100 microgram shot. While other countries already allow Moderna’s vaccine to be used in children as young as 6, the US has limited the company’s shot to adults. Only Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is currently allowed in the US for use in teens and children as young as 5.

Real quick

Deadly pathogens could hitch a ride on microplastics

Microplastics. These tiny particles are turning into a huge problem. Smaller than a grain of rice, microplastics are turning up in the world’s oceans and waterways. It’s estimated that tens of thousands of tons of microplastics pollute waters around the globe. In a study published this week in the journal Scientific Reports, scientists showed microplastics can provide a new way for microorganisms to concentrate near coastlines and travel deep into the sea – by hitching a ride. The microorganisms, toxoplasma gondii, cryptosporidium parvum and giardia enterica, end up in waterways when feces from infected animals contaminate the water. From there, the deadly pathogens could end up catching a ride on microplastics washing out to sea, concentrating the bugs and potentially putting humans and animals like sea otters, seals and dolphins at risk. Read more about the study here.

This May 19, 2010, file photo shows a blue rectangular piece of microplastic on the finger of a researcher with the University of Washington-Tacoma environmental science program, after it was found in debris collected from the Thea Foss Waterway, in Tacoma, Wash.  Tiny bits of broken-down plastic smaller than a fraction of a grain of rice are turning up everywhere in oceans, from the water to the guts of fish and the poop of sea otters and giant killer whales.  Yet little is known about the effects of these "microplastics"  - on sea creatures or humans.

This May 19, 2010, file photo shows a blue rectangular piece of microplastic on the finger of a researcher with the University of Washington-Tacoma environmental science program, after it was found in debris collected from the Thea Foss Waterway, in Tacoma, Wash. Tiny bits of broken-down plastic smaller than a fraction of a grain of rice are turning up everywhere in oceans, from the water to the guts of fish and the poop of sea otters and giant killer whales. Yet little is known about the effects of these “microplastics” – on sea creatures or humans.

A break from the news

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Student loan debt forgiveness, seized Russian yachts, NFL draft, microplastics. It’s Thursday’s news.

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