Sports Commentary: Why Wimbledon Still Thrills

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The unassuming hero of Jonas Karlsson's clever, Kafkaesque parable is the opposite of a malcontent. Despite scant education, a limited social life, and no prospects for success as it is usually defined, he's that rarity, a most happy fella with an amazing ability to content himself with very little. But one day, returning to his barebones flat from his dead-end, part-time job at a video store, he finds an astronomical bill from an entity called W.R.D. He assumes it's a scam. Actually, it is more sinister-- and it forces him to take a good hard look at his life and values.

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Donald Trump picked a military town, Virginia Beach, Va., to give a speech Monday on how he would go about reforming the Dept. of Veterans Affairs if elected.

He blamed the Obama administration for a string of scandals at the VA during the past two years, and claimed that his rival, Hillary Clinton, has downplayed the problems and won't fix them.

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The season for blueberries used to be short. You'd find fresh berries in the store just during a couple of months in the middle of summer.

Now, though, it's always blueberry season somewhere. Blueberry production is booming. The berries are grown in Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, Michigan and the Pacific Northwest — not to mention the southern hemisphere.

But in any one location, the season is still short. And this means that workers follow the blueberry harvest, never staying in one place for long.

More than 4 in 10 working Americans say their job affects their overall health, with stress being cited most often as having a negative impact.

That's according to a new survey about the workplace and health from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.

While it may not sound so surprising that work affects health, when we looked more closely, we found one group was particularly affected by stress on the job: the disabled.

If you've stepped foot in a comic book store in the past few years, you'll have noticed a distinct shift. Superheroes, once almost entirely white men, have become more diverse.

There's been a biracial Spider-Man, a Muslim Ms. Marvel, and just last week, Marvel announced that the new Iron Man will be a teenage African-American girl.

Joining this lineup today is Kong Kenan, a Chinese boy who, as part of a reboot of the DC comics universe, is one of four characters taking up Superman's mantle.

On Tuesday, an international tribunal soundly rejected Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea, an area where China has been building islands and increasing its military activity.

The case before the international tribunal in the Hague was brought by the Philippines, challenging what's widely seen as a territorial grab by Beijing. The tribunal essentially agreed. Beijing immediately said the decision was null and void and that it would ignore it. There are concerns now that the tribunal's decision could inflame tensions between the U.S. and China.

The deaths last week of three African-American men in encounters with police, along with the killing of five Dallas officers by a black shooter, have left many African-American gun owners with conflicting feelings; those range from shock to anger and defiance. As the debate over gun control heats up, some African-Americans see firearms as critical to their safety, especially in times of racial tension.

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College Students' Borrowing Hits An All-Time High

Nov 3, 2011

Students are borrowing more money to pay for college than ever before. New data shows that students who graduated in 2010 carried 5 percent more debt than in the previous year. And education debt is expect to grow in the coming years, as students struggle to pay higher tuition costs.

Last week we learned that college tuition costs went up around 5 percent. This week, the Project on Student Debt reports that student debt went up by about the same amount.

Average Debt Tops $25,000

Lauren Asher tracks loan amounts for the student debt project, a California non-profit. She says that in 2010, the debt of the average students was $25,250.

The data is gathered from more than 1,000 colleges. It does not include for-profit schools, where enrollment has been climbing, and where loan levels tend to be much higher.

Now, you might expect the most expensive schools to have the highest levels of debt. Asher says that's not necessarily the case.

"Even colleges with the same sticker prices and similar student bodies can have very different shares of students with debt," she says, "and very different average debt for those who borrow."

So, a low-cost, public school like Alabama A&M produces graduates with an average debt of more than $31,000. The school says that it's simply a result of shrinking state support for the historically black college.

Meanwhile, the sticker price for Williams College, in Massachusetts, is around $55,000 a year. But students there only borrow around $8,000 on average. Spokesman Jim Kolesar says that's a result of a $1.7 billion endowment. It's also part of the school's commitment to admit everyone who qualifies, regardless of need.

Kolesar says that "the vast majority of the way the debt need is met is through grants." Only families making around $75,000 a year or more are expected to take out loans.

Overwhelmed By The Numbers

If these numbers are a little overwhelming to you, you are not alone. Families and students get confused by the aid process. Sometimes, they choose schools that end up costing them more than they expect, and that leads to more debt. The federal government is trying to clear up the confusion.

Raj Date of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says his agency is teaming up with the Department of Education to clarify confusing terms in financial aid offers.

You might have a loan that is called an institutional loan," he says. "In another school, the same loan might be called a private loan. But it's describing the same thing."

The hope is that the information will help students avoid a lifetime of debt that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. The White House is also expanding programs that limit how much of their income students must pay.

Raj Date says that it's all part of an effort to police the huge amount of debt held by students, which is now in the trillion-dollar range. He says, "student lending is bigger than the credit card business. It is bigger than the auto finance business."

An Uncertain Future

One big question is: Will these numbers continue to grow? Lauren Asher says the numbers for the class of 2010 could have been worse. But, she says, "there were substantial increases in grant aid for students, particularly the federal Pell grant."

Budget hawks in Congress have given every sign that students cannot expect more increases in the future. That could make substantial debt the norm, for more and more students.

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