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April 24, 2012 at 5:05 PM   |   Comments

Obama: I know about student debt

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., April 24 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday he knows what it's like to come out of college in debt and that's why Congress can't let student loan rates skyrocket.

Obama took his crusade to get Congress to act to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where 8,000 people jammed Carmichael Arena to hear him.

"Michelle and I, we've been in your shoes. Like I said, we didn't come from wealthy families," Obama said.

"So when we graduated from college and law school, we had a mountain of debt. When we married, we got poorer together. …

"And we were lucky to land good jobs with a steady income. But we only finished paying off our student loans -- check this out, all right, I'm the president of the United States -- we only finished paying off our student loans about eight years ago."

Obama stressed the need for a good education, noting the unemployment rate for those with a college degree is about half the national average of March's 8.2 percent and their incomes are twice that of those with only a high school degree.


Experts: N. Koreans missiles mock-ups

PYONGYANG, North Korea, April 24 (UPI) -- German experts say rockets North Korea displayed in a parade after the country's failed rocket launch were "mock-ups."

North Korea showed off the missiles on transporter-erector-launchers during an April 15 parade to honor the birth of the country's late founder Kim Il-sung, Yonhap news agency reported Tuesday.

The German experts said the missiles are nothing to worry about, as they are just mock-ups.

"At first glance, the missile seems capable of covering a range of perhaps 10,000 kilometers [6,213 miles]. However, a closer look reveals that all of the presented missiles are mock-ups," Markus Schiller and Robert H. Schmucker, analysts with Schmucker Technology in Germany, wrote in a report posted on a nuclear arms control and non-proliferation blog last week.

The two said, "At a closer look, it is impossible to find a real warhead separation plane on any of the observed [intercontinental ballistic missiles]," adding that the missiles displayed in the parade indicate they are mock-ups.


3 killed by bomb at station in Pakistan

LAHORE, Pakistan, April 24 (UPI) -- A bombing at the train station in Lahore, Pakistan, killed at least three people Tuesday, police said.

As many as 35 people were hurt in the rush-hour explosion, The Nation said. Some of the injured were women and children.

The blast was strong enough to shatter windows in nearby buildings, police said.

Investigators said as much as 20 pounds of explosive was concealed in a bag placed near a ticket office, The Nation of Pakistan reported. The bomb went off about 5 minutes after the Awam Express pulled out.

The dead included a station porter and a police constable.


Hollande seeks to woo far-right voters

PARIS, April 24 (UPI) -- French Socialist presidential candidate Francois Hollande said he'll seek to woo voters who cast ballots for the far-right candidate in the first round.

Hollande, in an interview published Tuesday in the left-leaning Liberation daily, spoke of his strategy to win over those who voted for National Front candidate Marine Le Pen, France 24 reported.

"There is a part of Le Pen electorate that comes from the left … who are against privilege, against globalization, against a Europe that doesn't work. It's up to me to convince them that it is the left that will defend them," Hollande said.

Hollande spoke of National Front voters in a "suffering electorate, made up of low-paid workers, manual staff and workers who feel like they've been abandoned."

Hollande won by a slimmer margin than predicted Sunday, capturing 28.63 percent of votes to 27.18 percent for French President Nicolas Sarkozy and 17.9 percent for Le Pen, a record for her anti-immigration party.


Man beaten after reprimanding hoopsters

MOBILE, Ala., April 24 (UPI) -- The severe beating of a Mobile, Ala., man by a group of adults after he reprimanded some boys over a basketball game had racial overtones, his sister said.

Mobile police spokesman Cpl. Christopher Levy said the victim, 40, went outside his home Saturday and spoke to the boys, who were playing basketball in the street, the Mobile Press-Register reported Monday. The boys left but soon after a large group of people, including adults and children, went to the man's house and confronted him, Levy said.

Matthew Owens, hospitalized in critical condition, was beaten so brutally that he hasn't been able to identify or describe his assailants, Levy said.

No arrests had been made. The race of the victim, the youths and the other adults wasn't provided in several media accounts.

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