Today: Student loan rates drop, alcohol behind overnight wrecks, Aurora remembered

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1. Senate passes tentative agreement to lower student loan rates

A bipartisan group of senators reached a tentative agreement on a student loans package Wednesday night, multiple aides from each party said. The tentative plan includes caps on loans to undergraduate students at 8.25 percent, graduate students at 9.5 percent and parents at 10.5 percent.

Student loan rates doubled July 1 from 3.4 to 6.8 percent after Congress failed to reach a deal averting the increase. If approved, this new plan would lower undergraduate rates to 3.85 percent this fall.

2. Udall reads names of Aurora victims on Senate floor to honor anniversary

Colorado Senator Mark Udall delivered remarks on the U.S. Senate floor to mark the one-year anniversary of the Aurora theater shooting Thursday morning. The Democrat said he read the names of the 12 victims to “honor the strength Coloradans have shown in the aftermath of the shooting,” which took place a year ago Saturday.

3. Bicycle thefts on the rise in Denver

With 1,666 bike thefts reporting in 2012, Denver police say reports of such crimes are up 20 percent from where they were two years ago. One of the worst locations to leave your bike is the Auraria Campus with 40 reported thefts from January to March.

Click here for the full list of the 10 worst places to leave your bike.

4. Are police violating your privacy by tracking license plates?

Police around the United States are recording the license plates of passing drivers and storing the information for years with little privacy protection, the American Civil Liberties Union said Wednesday.

Two years ago, FOX31 Denver found out how police forces in Colorado are using technology to collect your license plate information. Click here for more.

5. The Problems with developing wildland in high-risk fire zones

Two summers in a row, Colorado has lost hundreds of homes to fire in the Wildland-Urban Interface area of Colorado Springs, where human development is spreading onto previously-undeveloped wildland. That greatly increases the chances that homes in the area will be destroyed by a fire.

Insurance companies are passing that increased risk onto consumers with increased premiums. Is that fair? Let us know on Facebook.

6. Alcohol may have been behind myriad of overnight wrecks

Police say the driver who plowed into seven cars in east Aurora late Wednesday night was drunk. And they suspect alcohol may have been involved in a two-motorcycle accident that closed I-25 for several hours early Thursday morning.

7. Primetime Emmy nominations announced

The comedy Modern Family led all shows with six nominations, followed closely by the dramas “Downton Abbey” and “Breaking Bad,” and the the miniseries “American Horror Story: Asylum” and “Political Animals,” all of which each logged five. Click here for the full list of nominees.

8. Nelson Mandela cheats death, celebrates 95th birthday

Days after some called Nelson Mandela’s death imminent, South Africa President Jacob Zuma said that the civil rights leader was “steadily improving.” On Thursday, he will celebrate his 95th birthday. His foundation is asking people to volunteer 67 minutes of public service on Thursday, a reference to the number of years he devoted to public service.

9. Dow hits record high

Investors pushed the Dow to a new trading high early Thursday, gaining 82 points, or 0.5%, to hit that high of 15,552.70. Those numbers could be impacted by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke’s appearance before the Senate Banking Committee Thursday, where he will discuss how long the Fed will keep its stimulus policies in place.

10. British Open begins

Who will take home the hardware? One of golf’s four major tournaments began while most Americans slept Thursday morning. American Zach Johnson was the leader in the clubhouse as of 9 a.m. MST.

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