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Tide turns in the Ukraine war as Russia makes progress in the east

Russian forces are arguably having their best spell since the invasion of Ukraine began four months ago.

They have eliminated most Ukrainian defenses in the Luhansk region, consolidated control of a belt of territory in the south, improved their logistics and command structure and blunted the effectiveness of Ukrainian attack drones.
Within the last week, the Russians have been rewarded for their intense — some would say merciless — bombardments of the remaining parts of the Luhansk region held by Ukrainian forces, which have finally given up Severodonetsk and lost territory south of Lysychansk.
The head of the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic, Leonid Pasechnik, predicted last Friday that Russian forces would completely encircle Lysychansk within two or three days. So far they haven’t, but the city is in imminent peril.
A column of Ukrainian army tanks rolls down a road near Lysychansk on June 19, 2022.

Russian forces have also stepped up attacks in the Donetsk region, getting slightly closer to the belt of industrial towns in the region that runs south from Sloviansk through Kramatorsk to Kostiantynivka.
In Lysychansk and many of the towns studded across the meandering front lines that pass through five regions, the Ukrainians may well face a repeat of nobull shoes what happened in Severodonetsk, where they were bombarded into withdrawing. There was simply nothing left that could be defended.
The immediate dilemma for the Ukrainian military is whether it remains committed to defending Lysychansk, with the risk of losing troops and weapons if the city is encircled — and whether Ukraine’s political leadership will order a withdrawal to new defensive lines.
If so, can the units now in the pocket of territory held by Ukraine retreat without being decimated? Large sections of the highway from Lysychansk to Bakhmut are littered with wreckage, and Russian units are edging closer to Bakhmut itself.
Artillery shells hit the town of Bakhmut on the morning on June 26, 2022, damaging several homes and killing at least one person.

It appears the Russians are not currently making much progress from Izium in the north towards Sloviansk, despite repeated attempts to break through Ukrainian lines. Even so, Ukrainian officials cautioned Sunday that Russian forces were “accumulating” north of Sloviansk. The Russian military can quickly mobilize a handful of battalion tactical groups sitting across the border.
Some Russian military bloggers are not getting carried away with optimism. Yuri Kotyenok, for one, believes that Russian forces do not have enough manpower to encircle the heavily fortified cities of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk.
In the longer run, the Ukrainians’ best hope is that as they deploy more Western weaponry capable of destroying Russian artillery, rocket systems and command posts far behind the front lines, they can gradually reduce the deficit in firepower.
Ukraine may have endured its worst week since the fall of Mariupol
But weapons such as the HIMARS rocket system, which has a range of 70 kilometers (43 miles) in the configuration supplied to Ukraine, require several weeks of training. And in Donbas, several weeks is a long time given the current pressure on Ukrainian forces.
That pressure is all the greater veja sneakers because many of the units deployed to the region are among the most experienced that Ukraine has. They have been worn down by the sheer intensity of Russian bombardment and are not easily replaced.
And the Ukrainian military has already lost in combat some of the weapons rushed to the front. Russia’s Ministry of Defense claimed last week that Russian strikes had already eliminated some of the US-supplied M777 howitzers.
The Russian offensive has also learned from mistakes made during the initial and abortive drive towards Kyiv. Air defenses, principally the S-300, have been deployed to provide extensive rather than local cover, making Ukrainian attack drones less effective. Anecdotally, it seems fewer videos have been posted recently on social media showing Ukrainian combat planes in action.
A man inspects a bomb crater after Russian artillery shells hit a district of Kharkiv on June 26, 2022.

Russian rocket stage makes uncontrolled entry into Earth’s atmosphere

This photo shows preparation to test launch heavy-lift carrier rocket Angara-A5 at Russia's Plesetsk launch facility in the northwestern region of Arkhangelsk, December 14, 2020.

Perseverance rover makes ‘completely unexpected’ volcanic discovery on Mars

Lava once flowed at the site of an ancient lake on Mars.

The Perseverance rover landed on the planet just 10 months ago, but it has already made that surprising discovery.
The rover’s latest finding suggests that the bedrock it has been driving over since landing was once formed by volcanic lava flows — something that was “completely unexpected,” according to mission scientists. Previously, they thought the layered rocks Perseverance took photos of were sedimentary.
The rocks that Perseverance has sampled so far asics shoes also revealed that they interacted with water multiple times, and some of them include organic molecules.
These discoveries could help scientists create an accurate timeline for the events that have taken place in Jezero Crater, the site of an ancient lake, and has wider implications for understanding Mars.
The finding was announced Wednesday during the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in New Orleans.
For years, scientists have questioned if the rock in this crater was sedimentary rock, comprised of layers of material deposited by an ancient river, or igneous rock, which forms when lava flows cool.
Perseverance took this photo of Jezero Crater in April. The flat-topped hill, named Kodiak, has ancient layered rocks.

“I was beginning to despair we would never find the answer,” said Ken Farley, Perseverance project scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, in a statement.
Everything changed when Perseverance began using a drill on the end of its robotic arm to scrape away at the surfaces of rocks.
“The crystals within the rock provided the smoking gun,” Farley said.
Perseverance is armed with a suite of sophisticated instruments that can image and analyze these scraped rocks, revealing their composition and mineral content. Ones of these instruments is PIXL, or the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry.
In November, Perseverance used its instruments to study a rock, nicknamed “Brac” by the team. The analysis revealed large olivine crystals surrounded by pyroxene crystals, both of which pointed to the fact that the rock came from volcanic lava flows.
Mars rover scrapes at rock to 'look at something no one's ever seen'
“A good geology student will tell you that such a texture indicates the rock formed when crystals grew and settled in a slowly cooling magma — for example a thick lava flow, lava lake, or magma chamber,” Farley said.
“The rock was then altered by water several times, making it a treasure trove that will allow future scientists to date events in Jezero, better understand the period in which water was more common on its surface, and reveal the early history of the planet. Mars Sample Return is going to have great stuff to choose from.”
Now, the team wants to know if the rocks containing olivine were formed by a cooling lake of lava, or if they nike sneakers originated from a subsurface chamber of lava that was later exposed due to erosion.
“This was completely unexpected, and we are struggling to understand what it means,” Farley said. “But I will speculate that this is not likely the original crater floor. From the diameter of this crater, we expect the original crater floor is significantly deeper than where we are right now.”
It’s possible that lava flowed down into the crater, he said, but the original crater floor is below the rock they are driving over now.

Bringing back samples

So far, Perseverance has collected four rock samples with plans to collect up to 37 more. These samples will be returned to Earth by future missions, which will enable them to be studied in great detail and a variety of ways. Samples from Jezero Crater and its river delta could reveal if life ever existed on Mars.
Once back on Earth, volcanic rocks can be dated with very high accuracy, so these latest samples could help the team establish more accurate dates for features and events on Mars.
These rocks interacted with water over time to create new minerals. The minerals within the samples can reveal what the climate and environment was like and even the composition of the water billions of years ago on the red planet.
New Perseverance rover images reveal what happened before ancient Martian lake disappeared
“That will tell us whether or not the water that existed there was potentially habitable in the past,” said Kelsey Moore, geobiologist and postdoctoral scholar research associate in planetary science at the California Institute of Technology.
The rover also detected organic molecules in the rock it sampled, using its SHERLOC instrument, or Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals.
The presence of organic molecules doesn’t necessarily equal signs of past life, or biosignatures. Organics can be created biologically or abiotically — a physical process that does not include living organisms.
The Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars in 2012, ecco shoes has also discovered organics within its landing site of Gale Crater. Now that Perseverance has detected them, too, “this helps us understand the environment in which the organics formed,” said Luther Beegle, SHERLOC principal investigator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, in a statement.
While more investigation is needed to determine how these organic molecules were created, their presence gives the science team hope. That’s because it means that signs of past or present life could be preserved on Mars as well, if life ever existed there.
Why we're grateful for the tiny Ingenuity helicopter on Mars
“When these samples are returned to Earth, they will be a source of scientific inquiry and discovery for many years,” Beegle said.
And Perseverance has also been using its onboard ground-penetrating radar instrument, the first ever to be tested out on Mars. The Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment, or RMFAX, was used to “to peek into the subsurface and determine the structure of a rock under our wheels,” said Briony Horgan, associate professor of planetary science at Purdue University and a scientist on the rover mission.
The experiment was used as the rover drove across a ridgeline. The radar data revealed multiple rock formation with a downward tilt, which continue below the surface from the ridgeline itself. Instruments like RIMFAX can help steve madden shoes scientists create a better geologic map of Mars to understand its history.

Investigating an ancient river

Perseverance had a banner year in 2021 and it will move on to even more intriguing territory next year: the ancient river delta.
This fan-shaped structure has intrigued scientists for years, and Farley said the rover will arrive at the delta in about six or eight months.
The rocks in the delta are most likely sedimentary, trapping and preserving precious layers of silt from the river that once flowed into the crater’s lake. And the samples could reveal if organic molecules associated with signs of life, or even microfossils, could be hiding within the remains of the delta.

Surge makes Tennessee U.S. leader in new COVID cases per capita

Tennessee leads the nation in new COVID-19 cases per capita, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

According to data compiled by The New York Times over the last week, the state has seen an average of over 8,300 new coronavirus infections each day.

Health experts believe part of the alarming number has to do with a nike store low rate of vaccinations, particularly among children.

Fewer than one in four children ages 12 to 17 in Tennessee are vaccinated against COVID-19.

That is having devastating consequences for families.

Julie McDivitt’s son, Jacob Rodriguez, started feeling sick in late July. He told CBS News’ Omar Villafranca he felt like he “had COVID.”

“Felt really tired, headache. Couldn’t taste nothing. It was awful,” Rodriguez said.

But his symptoms didn’t raise any red flags for McDivitt. Even after a positive COVID test, she expected her athletic son to easily overcome COVID, and for a while, it looked like that was the case — until his temperature started to rise.

“Day 2, fever hits, and it never let up,” McDivitt said. “Fourteen days straight, he ran a fever.”

McDivitt took Jacob to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis. He had developed severe inflammation from MISC — a rare and potentially fatal condition related to COVID-19.

“The nurse comes in, and he’s like,asics shoes  ‘It looks like Jacob’s played four quarters of football with no pads on inside of his body,”’ McDivitt recalled.

“When you hear that from a medical professional, what are you thinking?” Villafranca asked.

“Truthfully? ‘God, where are you taking us with this? Am I going to be on that list? Is my kid going to be one of those numbers?'” replied McDivitt.

For four days, Jacob and McDivitt sat together in a hospital room as Jacob slowly improved. But over the course of those four days, the hospital went from treating five pediatric COVID patients to 21. Within a few weeks, it peaked at 33. At least three children died in August.

Le Bonheur Medical Director of Infection Prevention Dr. Nick Hysmith called the hospital’s increase of COVID cases a “perfect storm” between “the vaccination rate, the delta variant and schools starting back.”

“Not only is it devastating to see a child in that situation, but to know that the majority, at this point, it’s preventable is also devastating,” said Hysmith.

McDivitt said Jacob had not been wearing a mask properly and, like her, is not vaccinated.

But Jacob’s bout with the virus has changed things for the family; McDivitt says she’s got plans to see her doctor about the shot.

“We’re getting it. I just have some questions first. I’m getting it,” McDivitt said.

“People were just coming up to me, like every class period like, ‘What did you go through?’ and I was just telling them, like, it’s no joke, keen shoes like take this more serious, or you could probably end up like how ended up,” Jacob said.

Due to his infection, Jacob lost 20 pounds and had to miss two games of his senior football season. On Friday, he made his return to the field, running out with his teammates, wearing jersey number 41.

Tesla Says Autopilot Makes Its Cars Safer. Crash Victims Say It Kills.

Benjamin Maldonado and his teenage son were driving back from a soccer tournament on a California freeway in August 2019 when a truck in front of them slowed. Maldonado flicked his turn signal and moved right. Within seconds, his Ford Explorer pickup was hit by a Tesla Model 3 that was traveling about 60 mph on Autopilot.

A 6-second video captured by the Tesla and data it recorded show that neither Autopilot — Tesla’s much-vaunted system that can steer, brake and accelerate a car on its own — nor the driver slowed the vehicle until a fraction of a second before the crash. Jovani Maldonado, 15, who had been in the front brooks shoes passenger seat and was not wearing his seat belt, was thrown from the Ford and died, according to a police report.

The accident, which took place 4 miles from Tesla’s main car factory, is now the subject of a lawsuit against the company. It is one of a growing number of crashes involving Autopilot that have fueled concerns about the technology’s shortcomings, and could call into question the development of similar systems used by rival carmakers. And as cars take on more tasks previously done by humans, the development of these systems could have major ramifications — not just for the drivers of those cars but for other motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.

Tesla, founded in 2003, and its chief executive, Elon Musk, have been bold in challenging the auto industry, attracting devoted fans and customers and creating a new standard for electric vehicles that other established carmakers are reckoning with. The company is worth more than several large automakers combined.

But the accidents involving Autopilot could threaten Tesla’s standing and force regulators to take action against the company. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has about two dozen active investigations into crashes involving Autopilot.

At least three Tesla drivers have died since 2016 in crashes in which Autopilot was engaged and failed to detect obstacles in the road. In two instances, the system did not brake for tractor-trailers crossing highways. In the third, it failed to recognize a concrete barrier. In June, the federal traffic safety agency released a list showing that at least 10 people have been killed in eight accidents involving Autopilot since 2016. That list does not include the crash that killed Jovani Maldonado.

Tesla’s credibility has taken a hit, and some experts on autonomous driving say that it is hard not to question other claims made by Musk and the company. He has, for example, said several times that Tesla was close to perfecting Full Self Driving, a technology skechers shoes that would allow cars to drive autonomously in most circumstances — something other auto and technology companies have said is years away.

Musk and Tesla did not respond to several requests for comment.

Autopilot is not an autonomous driving system. Rather, it is a suite of software, cameras and sensors intended to assist drivers and prevent accidents by taking over many aspects of driving a car — even the changing of lanes. Tesla executives have claimed that handing off these functions to computers will make driving safer because human drivers are prone to mistakes and distractions, and cause most of the roughly 40,000 traffic fatalities that occur each year in the United States.

“Computers don’t check their Instagram” while driving, Tesla’s director of artificial intelligence, Andrej Karpathy, said last month in an online workshop on autonomous driving.

While Autopilot is in control, drivers can relax, but are not supposed to tune out. Instead, they’re supposed to keep their hands on the steering wheel and eyes on the road, ready to take over in case the system becomes confused or fails to recognize objects or dangerous traffic scenario.

But with little to do other than look straight ahead, some drivers seem unable to resist the temptation to let their attention wander while Autopilot is on. Videos have been posted on Twitter and elsewhere showing drivers reading or sleeping while at the wheel of Teslas.

The company has often faulted drivers of its cars, blaming them in some cases for failing to keep their hands on the steering wheel and eyes on the road while using Autopilot.

But the National Transportation Safety Board, which has completed investigations into accidents involving Autopilot, has said the system lacks safeguards to prevent misuse and does not effectively monitor drivers.

Similar systems offered by General Motors, Ford Motor and other automakers use cameras to track a driver’s eyes and issue warnings when they look away from the road. After a few warnings, GM’s Super Cruise system shuts down and requires the driver to take control.

Autopilot does not track drivers’ eyes and monitors only if their hands are on the steering wheel. The system sometimes continues operating even if drivers have their hands on the steering wheel for only a few seconds at a time.

“This monitoring system is fundamentally weak because it’s easy to cheat and doesn’t monitor very consistently,” said Raj Rajkumar, a professor at hey dude Carnegie Mellon University who focuses on autonomous driving technology.

Consumer Reports said in May that one of its engineers had been able to turn on Autopilot in a Tesla and slip into the back seat while the car kept going. The California Highway Patrol said in May that it had arrested a man who got out of the driver’s seat of his Model 3 while it was moving.

Autopilot can also be used on city roads, where intersections, pedestrians and oncoming traffic make driving more difficult than on highways. GM’s Super Cruise works only on divided highways.

Still, Musk has often defended Autopilot. The company has cited its own statistics to claim that cars driving with the system turned on are involved in fewer accidents per mile than other cars. Last Thursday, he wrote on Twitter, that “accidents on Autopilot are becoming rarer.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not forced Tesla to change or disable Autopilot, but in June it said it would require all automakers to report accidents involving such systems.

Several lawsuits have been filed against Tesla just this year, including one in April in Florida state court that concerns a 2019 crash in Key Largo. A Tesla Model S with Autopilot on failed to stop at a T intersection and crashed into a Chevrolet Tahoe parked on a shoulder, killing Naibel Leon, 22. Another suit was filed in California in May by Darel Kyle, 55, who suffered serious spinal injuries when a Tesla under Autopilot control rear-ended the van he was driving.

The crash that killed Jovani Maldonado is a rare case when video and data from the Tesla car have become available. The Maldonados’ lawyer, Benjamin Swanson, obtained them from Tesla and shared both with The New York Times.

Benjamin Maldonado and his wife, Adriana Garcia, filed their suit in Alameda County Superior Court. Their complaint asserts that Autopilot contains defects and failed to react to traffic conditions. The suit also names as defendants the driver of the Tesla, Romeo Lagman Yalung of Newark, California, and his wife, Vilma, who owns the car and was in the front passenger seat.

Yalung and his lawyer did not respond to requests for comment. He and his wife, who were not reported injured in the accident, have not yet addressed the Maldonado family’s complaint in court.

In court filings, Tesla has not yet responded to the allegation that Autopilot malfunctioned or is flawed. In emails to Swanson’s firm that have been filed as exhibits in court, a Tesla lawyer, Ryan McCarthy, said the driver, not Tesla, bore responsibility.

“The police faulted the Tesla driver — not the car — for his inattention and his driving at an unsafe speed,” McCarthy wrote. He did not respond to emails seeking comment.

Maldonado works for PepsiCo, delivering beverages to retailers. The family, which includes two other children, lives in San Lorenzo, about 15 miles north of Fremont.

In written answers to questions, Maldonado said he and his wife were too devastated to talk in an interview. “We are living day by day,” he said. “There is so much sadness inside. We take family walks and try to do things together like going to church. There is a massive hole in the family.”

Maldonado described his son as an outgoing high school sophomore who liked to sing and planned to go to college. His dream was to become a professional soccer player and buy his parents a house. “Like any grateful child, he wanted to take care of his parents like they did for him,” Maldonado said.

The data and video allow a detailed look at how Autopilot operated in the seconds before the crash. Tesla vehicles constantly record short clips from forward-looking cameras. If a crash occurs, the video is automatically saved and uploaded to Tesla’s servers, a company official said in emails included in exhibits filed by Swanson.

The video saved by the car Yalung was driving shows it passing vehicles on the right and left. Four seconds before impact, Maldonado turned on his blinker. It flashed four times while his Explorer was in its original lane. A fifth flash came as his truck was straddling the lanes. In court documents, Maldonado said he had noticed the Tesla approaching rapidly in his rearview mirror and tried to swerve back.

In most of the video, the Tesla maintained a speed of 69 mph, but just before impact it briefly increased to 70 mph then slowed in the final second, according to data from the car.

Rajkumar of Carnegie Mellon, who reviewed the video and data at the request of The Times, said Autopilot might have failed to brake for the Explorer because the Tesla’s cameras were facing the sun or were confused by the truck ahead of the Explorer. The Tesla was also equipped with a radar sensor, but it appears not to have helped.

“A radar would have detected the pickup truck, and it would have prevented the collision,” Rajkumar said in an email. “So the radar outputs were likely not being used.”

Maldonado’s truck rolled over and slammed into a barrier, the police report said. It had a shattered windshield and a crumpled roof, and the rear axle had come loose. The Tesla had a crumpled roof, its front end was mangled, its bumper was partly detached, and its windshield was cracked.

Jovani Maldonado was found lying face down on the shoulder of Interstate 880, his blood pooling.

US Defence Secretary makes unannounced visit to Afghanistan as troop withdrawal deadline looms

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin - Brendan Smialowski/AFP
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin – Brendan Smialowski/AFP

The US defence secretary touched down in Kabul on Sunday in a surprise visit amid uncertainty around the May 1 deadline for the total withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.

Lloyd Austin a retired army general, said the Biden administration wanted to see “a responsible end to this conflict” and “a transition to something else.”

The May deadline for the withdrawal of US troops was set under a deal negotiated with the Taliban by the Trump administration last year as part of its drive to reduce American commitments in the region.

More than 2,300 American soldiers have died in Afghanistan since the start of the conflict in 2001, in the wake of the September 11 attacks by al-Qaeda.

Mr Biden has warned that meeting the May 1 deadline could be “tough”, indicating that forces could remain – albeit only for a short time.

Afghanistan territories vs troops
Afghanistan territories vs troops

However, the Taliban has warned that there could be a “reaction” if the agreement is not honoured.

At the height of the conflict, the US had more than 100,000 troops in the country. However, the number has dwindled to around 3,500 – about 1,000 fewer than a congressional study suggested was needed to prevent the collapse of the Afghan government.

Peace talks in Doha have stalled, leaving the Biden administration facing a dilemma of whether to press ahead with the withdrawal by the end of next month although it could leave the Afghan government vulnerable to another Taliban surge.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken last month sought to put pressure on the Afghan government, led by President Ashraf Ghani, by warning it could face a Taliban offensive on its own if it did not fall into line with US peace plans.

Washington’s proposals, contained in an eight-page document, include establishing an interim government that would include members of the Taliban.

Last Friday Turkey announced its willingness to hold a peace summit next month with Mr Ghani promising to attend on condition that Hibatullah Akhundzada, Taliban’s leader, also does so.

Education Department Revives Website That It Said Made Applying for Loan Forgiveness Too Easy

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The Federal Student Aid plans to continue developing a website for student loan forgiveness after the whistleblower filed multiple complaints about the site.(GETTY IMAGES)

THE TRUMP administration is set to revive a website that the Education Department’s Federal Student Aid office designed to help students who have been defrauded by their colleges apply for loan forgiveness – a decision made less than 24 hours after a whistleblower complaint surfaced, accusing a high-ranking department official of initially rejecting it on grounds that the tool made the process too easy.

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Feds Nix Site That Made Student Aid Too Easy ]

Those familiar with the reversal say Diane Auer Jones, principal deputy undersecretary at the Education Department, gave the go-ahead Tuesday for staff at the Federal Student Aid office to continue developing the website after the whistleblower filed multiple complaints with the Office of Inspector General. The complaints reported that Jones scuttled the website because she was unhappy with the prompts the smart application would ask of borrowers, thought it provided them with too much information and would have helped too many complete the application correctly, without any disqualifying mistakes.

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The Education Department denies the whistleblower’s accusation and told U.S. News that Jones rejected the new website because it included data that was not accurate, represented a significant bias and would have been unhelpful to borrowers seeking to apply for loan forgiveness.

Now, department officials say the website was never blocked at all.

“There has been no reversal on this at all,” says Angela Morabito, a spokeswoman for the department. “There can’t be a ‘reversal’ on a decision that was never made.”

Morabito tells U.S. News in response to questions about the site’s revival that it was Jones who insisted on creating a smart form to auto-populate borrower information and that the changes required a delay in the website’s development.

“It is totally counterintuitive to think that we would want to delay implementing our own reg and would rather keep the deeply flawed one used by the previous administration,” she says.

However, the narrative presented by the department doesn’t speak to the concerns raised by the whistleblower, who also said the changes Morabito described could have been made “almost instantly.”

The development of the website was part of a $90 million federal contract to build one main hub for all federal student aid needs that modernized existing loan servicing portals and made them more user-friendly. As part of the larger redesign, staff at the Federal Student Aid office, all of whom are career officers and not political appointees, were tasked with developing a website that would allow students to apply for what’s known as borrower defense – a process by which students whose colleges misled them about things like job placement rates, average earnings post-graduation and the transferability of credits to apply for some or all of their debt to be forgiven.

The borrower defense rule – revised in 2016 by the Obama administration to protect students from predatory for-profit colleges – recently underwent a contentious overhaul to reflect Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ long-standing belief that the rule was too lax and should be revamped to limit relief to those who were most seriously harmed.

The new rule makes it more difficult for student loan borrowers to qualify for relief, and, for those who do qualify, the rule includes a new formula that provides only partial relief to the majority of claims. The new rule is viewed as extreme even by some congressional Republicans, who joined Democrats in the House and Senate earlier this year to pass a bipartisan resolution that would have nixed the rule’s revision entirely.

President Donald Trump vetoed the resolution last month. The Democratic-controlled House is set to vote Friday to overrule the president’s veto – an effort that would require two-thirds vote in both chambers.

The new borrower defense website, which is supposed to reflect the changes to the rule as well as streamline the application process so that claims could be processed more easily, was scheduled to go live July 1, when the new borrower defense rule is set to take effect. It’s unclear now when the new website will be available. For now, borrowers seeking to make a claim can still use the original application.

D.C. Mayor Makes Case for Statehood, Criticizes Trump

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser at Saturday’s protest.ERIC THAYER/REUTERS

“Welcome to Black Lives Matter Plaza,” Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser said Saturday afternoon before a packed crowd at an intersection in front of the White House renamed by the city a day before.

“It’s so wonderful to see everybody peacefully protesting, wearing your mask, she said. “You know, if you’re like me, on Monday you saw something you hoped you’d never see in the United States of America: federal police moving on American people peacefully protesting in front of the people’s house.”

Ms. Bowser again made the case for statehood for the District of Columbia and took a shot at President Trump.

“If he can take over Washington D.C., he can come for any state and none of us will be safe,” she said. “So today we pushed the Army away from our city. Our soldiers should not be treated that way. They should not be asked to move on American citizens. Today we say no. In November, we say ‘next.’ ”

Mr. Trump hasn’t yet commented on the demonstrations swelling around the White House.

The large group of law enforcement officers that stood watch over the protests near the White House earlier in the week had been scaled back. As of late Friday afternoon, there were no authorities guarding the fence that had been constructed nearby at Lafayette Square.