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Debt relief as Biden forgives billions in student loans

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Biden cancels $10,000 of federal student loan debt for certain borrowers making less than $125,000 per year

After months of spirited debate, President Joe Biden has formally announced a federal student loan relief plan.

On Wednesday, the President said in White House remarks that the action is aimed at helping “families who need it the most.”

According to the details, borrowers who have loans with the Department of Education and make less than $125,000 a year are eligible for up to $20,000 in student loan forgiveness if they received Pell Grants for college.

Additionally, individuals who make less than $125,000 a year but did not receive Pell Grants are able to receive for $10,000 in loan forgiveness.

The Biden administration not only announced these plans but also said that undergraduate federal loans can cap their payment at 5% of their monthly income.

Another major initiative from the White House is news that they will extend the pandemic-era pause on student loan repayments until Dec. 31—just one final time.

Despite increasing the debt, Biden said he would ‘never apologize’ for helping the “middle class.”

During the afternoon address, the President also defended his administration’s move to restart frozen federal student loan payments at the end of the year, saying this is an “economically responsible course” that will prevent his targeted student loan cancellation from having a “meaningful effect on inflation.”

However, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell slammed Biden’s announcement, saying that Democrats have “found yet another way to make inflation even worse, reward far-left activists, and achieve nothing for millions of working American families who can barely tread water.”

Veronica Dudo is the U.S. Correspondent for Ticker News covering America’s biggest headlines. As an Emmy® Award nominated global journalist, Veronica has traveled across the country and around the world reporting on historical events that connect all citizens. Lauded as an award-winning international journalist, Veronica has executed stellar news coverage for NBC News, CBS News, The Hill, ME-TV Network and AOL. Her stories have highlighted a plethora of topics ranging from breaking news and politics to economic affairs across the USA, European Union, and Asia; cultural affairs; globalization; governance; education; and sustainability.

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Race against the clock, will AI destroy music industry with new app

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In the ever-evolving landscape of AI technology, Udio, a new AI music generator developed by former Google Deepmind researchers, has recently made its debut.

Udio allows users to craft songs from simple text prompts, offering customisation options for various musical elements such as length, vocals, and lyrics.

 

The Good:

  • Accessible Creativity: Udio democratises music creation by providing a platform where anyone, regardless of musical expertise, can generate personalised songs effortlessly.
  • Customization Galore: Users have the freedom to tailor every aspect of their composition, from the mood of the music to the emotional depth of the vocals, allowing for a truly unique musical experience.
  • Realistic Vocals: One of Udio’s standout features is its ability to produce vocals that sound remarkably human, adding an emotional dimension to the generated music.

The Bad:

  • Ethical Concerns: As with any AI-powered tool, there are ethical considerations surrounding the authenticity of AI-generated music and its potential impact on the music industry, including issues of copyright infringement and artistic integrity.
  • Limitations in Length: While Udio offers flexibility in customisation, its maximum song length is limited to around 90 seconds, restricting its utility for those seeking longer compositions.
  • Copyright Ambiguity: While Udio attempts to navigate copyright concerns by restricting certain song requests, the boundaries remain unclear, leaving room for potential legal disputes and confusion among users.

 

Despite its innovative capabilities, Udio’s arrival has sparked debates within both the music and technology communities. While some laud its potential to inspire creativity and broaden musical horizons, others caution against the ethical implications and potential drawbacks of widespread AI-generated music.

As Udio continues to gain traction, it serves as a poignant reminder of the ongoing dialogue surrounding the intersection of AI technology and creative expression. Only time will tell how Udio and similar innovations will shape the future of music creation and consumption.

 

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U.S. tech giant email systems utilised by Russian hackers

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Russian government-backed hackers have reportedly exploited access to Microsoft’s email system, stealing correspondence between officials and the tech giant.

Key Points:

  1. Russian government-backed hackers exploited access to Microsoft’s email system, as per a directive from CISA.

  2. The directive warned of hackers using email authentication details to infiltrate Microsoft customer systems, including government agencies.

  3. This follows Microsoft’s acknowledgment of ongoing struggles against intruders named “Midnight Blizzard” and a separate hack attributed to China.

According to an emergency directive from the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released on Thursday.

The directive, issued on April 2, cautioned that hackers were leveraging email authentication details to infiltrate Microsoft customer systems, including those of unspecified government agencies.

This alarming revelation follows Microsoft’s acknowledgment in March of ongoing struggles against intruders dubbed “Midnight Blizzard.”

The cybersecurity industry’s concerns intensified further with a recent report from the U.S. Cyber Safety Review Board, attributing a separate hack to China and criticising Microsoft for cybersecurity oversights and lack of transparency.

While CISA refrained from naming affected agencies, Microsoft assured collaboration with customers and CISA to investigate and mitigate the breach. The Russian Embassy in Washington, historically denying involvement in hacking activities, did not respond immediately to requests for comment. CISA also cautioned that non-governmental organisations might have been targeted, urging customers to liaise with Microsoft for additional information.

 

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Google looks to snap up Hubspot as part of growth strategy

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Google’s bold bid to acquire HubSpot in a billion-dollar deal has raised eyebrows in the digital marketing industry.

HubSpot, Inc., founded by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah in 2006, develops software for inbound marketing, sales, and customer service.

The acquisition aims to enhance Google’s marketing tools and potentially benefit small to mid-market businesses with improved solutions.

However, concerns over regulatory hurdles and antitrust issues persist, prompting mixed reactions from investors and industry experts.

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