JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) — Americans who came of age during the pandemic are skipping college in big numbers. Many have shunned traditional college paths, turning instead to hourly jobs or careers that don’t require a degree. Still others feel locked out, deterred by high tuition and the prospect of student debt. Colleges nationwide saw undergraduate enrollments drop 8% from 2019 to 2022, with continued declines even after the return to in-person classes, according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse. Economists say the impact could be dire. Fewer college graduates could worsen labor shortages in fields from health care and engineering to information technology.
La Nina, which worsens hurricanes and drought, is gone
WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists say the La Nina weather phenomenon that increases Atlantic hurricane activity and worsens western drought is gone after three troublesome years. La Nina is a natural and temporary cooling of parts of the Pacific Ocean that changes weather worldwide. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday that the globe is now in what’s considered a neutral condition and probably trending to an El Nino in late summer or fall. And that’s usually good news for the United States. Experts say La Nina is connected to more Atlantic storms and deeper droughts and wildfires in the West, making a La Nina often more damaging and expensive than the more famous El Nino.
Russian missile barrage slams into cities across Ukraine
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia launched a massive barrage of missiles and drones that hit residential buildings and critical infrastructure across Ukraine. The attacks Thursday killed six people, left hundreds of thousands without heat or electricity, and knocked a nuclear plant off the power grid for hours. It was the largest such attack in three weeks. Air raid sirens wailed through the night, as the attacks targeted a wide swath of the country. The Russian Defense Ministry said the strikes were in retaliation for a recent incursion into the Bryansk region of western Russia by what Moscow claimed were Ukrainian saboteurs. Ukraine denied the claim and warned that Moscow could use the allegations to justify stepping up its own assaults.
GM offers buyouts to most US salaried workers to trim costs
DETROIT (AP) — General Motors is offering buyouts to most of its U.S. salaried workforce and some global executives in an effort to trim costs as it makes the transition to electric vehicles. The Detroit automaker wouldn’t say how many workers it is targeting, but confirmed that the move is aimed at accelerating attrition to meet a previously announced goal of $2 billion in cost cuts by the end of next year. GM has about 58,000 salaried workers in the U.S. The company says the offers also are designed to avoid any possible firings at a later date. Offers will go to white-collar workers with at least five years of service, and global executives with who have been with the company at least two years.
Norfolk Southern brings apology, aid to derailment hearing
WASHINGTON (AP) — Norfolk Southern’s CEO is apologizing to Congress and pledging millions of dollars to help East Palestine, Ohio, recover from last month’s fiery train derailment. Senators are investigating railway safety and the Biden administration’s response to the disaster. In remarks prepared for Thursday’s hearing, CEO Alan Shaw says he is “deeply sorry” for the impact of the derailment. He says the railroad will “do the right thing” and commit $20 million to the response and voluntary safety upgrades. But a bipartisan group of senators wants to impose new regulations on railroads.
Health data breach hitting Congress ‘could be extraordinary’
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hackers have broken into a Washington, D.C. health insurance marketplace and stolen sensitive personal data including Social Security numbers and home addresses of members of Congress, their employees and family members. The House leadership says the size and scope of the impact “could be extraordinary.” DC Health Link, which runs the exchange, confirmed an unspecified number of customers were affected. It said it was offering identity theft service and credit monitoring. Some 11,000 of the exchange’s participants work in the House and Senate or are relatives. In a letter the exchange’s director posted to Twitter on Thursday the House leadership said the breach significantly increases the risk of identity theft, financial crimes, and physical threats to those affected.
Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell hospitalized after fall
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has been hospitalized after tripping and falling at a hotel. Spokesman Doug Andres says the 81-year-old Kentucky Republican was attending a private dinner at a Washington hotel Wednesday when he tripped. Andres says McConnell was admitted for treatment. In 2019, the GOP leader tripped and fell at his home in Kentucky and suffered a shoulder fracture. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor Thursday morning that he had called McConnell and spoken with his staff “to extend my prayers and well wishes.” The Senate has been without several members recently due to illness.
Court records show political pressure behind Fox programming
NEW YORK (AP) — Thousands of pages of documents in a recent lawsuit show that Fox News’ top executives sometimes were actively involved in politics rather than simply reporting or offering opinions on it. The documents were released as part of a libel lawsuit that voting machine company Dominion Voting Systems has filed against Fox over its airing of disproven allegations that the firm took part in a vast conspiracy to steal the 2020 presidential election. Fox has defended its behavior as standard reporting on a newsworthy story. But the documents show how Fox’s founder, Rupert Murdoch, suggested his staff intervene in Republican Party primaries and even assisted President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.
Why is Indonesia moving its capital from Jakarta to Borneo?
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian government authorities unveiled the site of the country’s new capital this week, showing a preview of what progress has been made on the city’s construction. Indonesia is moving the capital from Jakarta to the island of Borneo. But environmentalists warn that the capital will cause massive deforestation, endanger the habitat of endangers species such as orangutans and imperil the homes of Indigenous communities. Here’s a look at why the capital is moving, the government’s plans and why environmental activists are sounding the alarm about construction.
Maine motorists appeal to keep naughty vanity license plates
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A handful of motorists in Maine are appealing to keep their custom license plates after the state cracked down on naughty words, including unabbreviated expletives. So far there have been only rejections, including a vegan motorist whose license plate incorporate the words “love” and “tofu.” Until recently Maine virtually no limits on what the plates could say, allowing profanities and sexual vulgarity. After complaints, Maine is reestablishing a review process and has recalled more than 200 license plates. A state official says she’s happy said she’s happy that most motorists have relinquished their objectionable license plates without a fight.