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More Reasons to Love New York: Free 4-Year College Tuition

New York just became the first state to implement a plan for free tuition to state colleges. The Excelsior Scholarship aims to give middle class families a hand in college tuition, but does come with a set of caveats. First of all, it’s meant to be used in conjunction with financial aid and scholarships. On average the cost of a four-year education at a NY state school (tuition, room and board, fees) comes out to $83,000. The Excelsior plan will cover up about $26,000, so students will need to supplement with financial aid, grants, or scholarships for a truly free tuition. Still, it’s a great help for many struggling students.

To apply, a family needs to earn $100,000 or less a year, but doesn’t have to be a New York State resident just want to attend one of the New York State colleges. Additionally, the student will need to go straight from high school to college and be enrolled as a full-time student. If the student graduates high school late or enrolls in college as a part time student, the money is denied.

Finally, after graduation the student will need to “pay back” the assistance by living and working in New York for the amount of time they received the tuition assistance. If they choose to move before the obligation is complete, they will need to pay back the monetary value, just like student loans.

This photo taken on February 12, 2017 shows an H7N9 bird flu patient being treated in a hospital in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei province.

China’s Bird Flu Spike

H7N9 avian flu, or bird flu, historically has proved fatal to 1/3 of the people who contracted it. This past winter China reported 460 confirmed cases of bird flu, far from an epidemic number according to the World Health Organization, yet still serious. It’s the most reported cases during a single season since this strain was first contracted by humans in 2013.

Bird flu gets its name from being contagious among birds. China is seeing first hand results within its poultry industry, prompting new rules to protect poultry farms from infection. Most of the 460 reported cases in humans have stemmed from direct bird contact. A few were contracted by family members and care givers of the patients, but not enough to be a worrisome human-to-human transmission.

American scientists are stockpiling H7N9 vaccines should the virus escalate into an epidemic.


In this handout photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) transits the South China Sea on April 8, 2017. The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group is on a regularly scheduled Western Pacific deployment as part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet-led initiative to extend the command and control functions of U.S. 3rd Fleet. U.S Navy aircraft carrier strike groups have patrolled the Indo-Asia-Pacific regularly and routinely for more than 70 years

North Korea

Tensions on the Korean peninsula are high. North Korea announced plans to test a nuclear weapon, which drove the U.S. Navy to station a strike group, including the carrier Carl Vinson, along the coast of South Korea. North Korea then issued a statement on Friday morning threatening to attack American military bases located in South Korea, with a promise to “annihilate” them.

Satellite images have analysts believing the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea could be planning an underground detonation. Saturday marks the 105-year anniversary of the country’s founder, Kim Il-sung. In the past this day was used to show military force, so it is quite possible the current leader, Kim Jong-un, could follow through with some sort of action.


Smoke rises after an air strike on Islamic State (IS) militants positions during an ongoing operation against the group in the Achin district of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province on April 14, 2017, a day after the US military struck the district with its largest non-nuclear bomb. 

Bombing Afghanistan

On Thursday, the U.S. dropped what’s become known as the “Mother of all bombs” on a targeted set of mountain tunnels in the Achin district. It was the first time the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast was used in combat, as part of an intense bombing campaign against the Islamic State in Afghanistan.

Between 36 and 83 militants were killed along with at least three major caves in ISIS’s intricate tunnel system. The bombing was well-thought out and influenced by battlefield realities, according to senior military commanders. Plans were in the works for about 45 days to include careful analysis of the area, air support strategy, and systemic retreat of Afghan forces from the area.
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