Congress passes lowering student loan rates ... Source of parasite still a mystery ... Funeral for bride-to-be

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Associated Press

Posted on August 1, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Updated Thursday, Aug 1 at 9:00 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — College students taking out new student loans will be getting a break from the higher rates that took effect July 1. Congress has approved legislation that sets the initial borrowing rate for Stafford loans at 3.9 percent for undergrads and 5.4 percent for grad students. Parents would borrow at 6.4 percent. But the interest rates would be linked to the financial markets. The bill goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Federal health officials say it's too early to tell if the outbreak of an intestinal illness caused by a rare parasite is over. Nearly 400 people across the country have been sickened by cyclospora. Health officials in Nebraska and Iowa say they've traced their cases to prepackaged salad. But officials haven't told consumers what brands to stay away from.

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry is hoping to improve U.S. relations with Pakistan. He's meeting Thursday in Islamabad with newly elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (nah-WAHZ' shah-REEF') and Pakistan's powerful army chief. Topics such as Islamic extremism, the war in neighboring Afghanistan and Pakistani opposition to U.S. drone strikes are expected to dominate the discussion.

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland man who held three women captive in his home for about a decade faces life in prison plus 1,000 years when he's sentenced Thursday. Ariel Castro pleaded guilty to 937 counts, including causing the miscarriage of one of the women he impregnated. Prosecutors say they'll ask the judge to prohibit Castro from ever seeing his 6-year-old daughter who was born to one of the captives.

PEARL RIVER, N.Y. (AP) — A funeral will be held Thursday for a woman who died in a boating accident on New York's Hudson River some two weeks before her wedding. The service for Lindsey Stewart will be held at the church where she would have been married on Aug. 10. Stewart died Friday night when the powerboat she was in crashed into a barge. Her fiance was injured and his best man also was killed.

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