With hugs and handshakes, shuttle Endeavour’s seven astronauts bid farewell to the International Space Station crew after they ate a Thanksgiving meal together of turkey, cornbread dressing and candied yams.
“You’ve totally fixed us up on the inside and on the outside,” station commander Mike Fincke told Endeavour’s crew before the hatches between the station and shuttle shut. “You guys were such perfect guests. You left the place cleaner than you found it.”
The shuttle was set to undock early today and return to Florida on Sunday, completing a 16-day mission for Endeavour’s crew. It delivered a new bathroom, kitchenette, two bedrooms, exercise equipment, and a system that purifies urine, sweat and condensation into drinking water.
SUV crash kills all seven inside
An SUV plunged off an overpass in northern Colorado and hit a concrete embankment in a fiery crash early Thursday morning, killing all seven people inside it, including two young children, authorities said.
Investigators haven’t determined the identities or ages of the victims, Colorado State Trooper Gilbert Mares said. The Chevrolet Suburban was registered in Alberta, Canada, he said.
Among the dead were an infant, a toddler, three other males and two females, Mares said. He said one of the males was driving. Larimer County coroner’s investigator Maury Miller said a driver’s license was found in the wreckage, but it was impossible to match the photo to any of the victims.
The SUV veered into the median on Interstate 25 near Johnstown, 40 miles north of Denver, plunged off an overpass and went airborne for about 40 or 50 feet before hitting an embankment and bursting into flames, Mares said.
Student advocates target some lenders
Student advocacy groups are urging the Treasury Department to prevent a new $200 billion consumer-lending program from benefiting private student lenders, which they say are largely unregulated and prey on students with risky, high-interest loans.
The program, announced this week and developed by the Treasury and Federal Reserve, is not aimed specifically at the student loan market. Its much broader goal is to encourage lending to consumers – including car loans and credit cards – as well as help the financial system by increasing liquidity in the credit markets.
But groups including Consumers Union, the nonprofit group that publishes Consumer Reports magazine, and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers say the money also will help prop up private student-loan providers, which often offer high and variable interest rates but not the consumer protections guaranteed under the federal government’s loan programs.