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Senate approves two FCC nominees as it reviews Obama rules

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The U.S. Senate on Thursday unanimously confirmed two nominees to serve on the Federal Communications Commission as the Trump administration looks to reverse many Obama-era telecommunications regulations.

Brendan Carr, a Republican who is general counsel at the FCC and Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, were both confirmed by voice vote, bringing the five-member FCC to full strength and giving Republicans a 3-2 majority.

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Rosenworcel served as a commissioner for the regulator until the end of 2016 when lawmakers failed to take up her renomination under former President Barack Obama.

The FCC, which since January has been controlled by Republicans by a 2-1 margin, is working to reverse a number of Obama-era telecommunications regulations, including the landmark 2015 net-neutrality rules prohibiting broadband providers from giving or selling access to certain internet services over others.

The Senate did not immediately vote to reconfirm FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to another term, even though he appeared at a confirmation hearing in July with the other nominees. Pai would need to leave the commission by the end of the year if he were not reconfirmed.

In a statement, Pai praised Rosenworcel and Carr’s confirmations and said they have “distinguished records of public service and will be valuable assets to the FCC in the years to come. Their experience at the FCC makes them particularly well-suited to hit the ground running.”

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Pai, chosen by Trump in January to head the agency, also has said he wants to dismantle other significant regulations as part of a sweeping review he said would remove barriers to business and modernize rules.

Pai also plans significant changes to local TV ownership limits and plans other changes to media regulations.

Democrats insisted Republicans had agreed in 2015 to reconfirm Rosenworcel as part of a deal to confirm FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly. Republicans denied there was a deal but the standoff had delayed consideration of telecommunications legislation in the Senate.

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Under Pai, the FCC chose not to review AT&T Inc’s planned $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc.

The FCC is currently reviewing Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc’s proposed $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media Co, one of the largest U.S. TV station operators.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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Will US Republicans feel the heat from climate change?

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Francis Rooney is a Republican congressman from a conservative Florida district who opposes federal funding for abortions and supports President Donald Trump's plans for construction of a wall along the Mexican border.

But he also recently co-sponsored a carbon pricing bill and is one of a handful of lawmakers from his side of the aisle who have bucked orthodoxy and acknowledged human beings are responsible for global warming.

The modern Republican party is one of the few political forces in the world whose leadership denies manmade climate change, but there are now small yet perceptible signs of changes within its ranks, driven by an increase in extreme weather events and shifting public opinion.

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Corey Lewandowski, Stephen Miller and the wages of contempt in TrumpWorld

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One of the worst side effects of the Trump presidency is the unleashing upon the world of these squinty-eyed, shaved-head, pissy little monsters like Corey Lewandowski and Stephen Miller, providing them a platform where they can spread their hatred of and contempt for decency and democracy and all things right and just well beyond their lonely basements and bedrooms where they had heretofore been confined. Guys like them have always been with us. You can probably recall running across one or two of them in a civics class in high school or college, shooting their sweaty palms into the air from the back row, trying to be recognized so they could challenge one liberal shibboleth or another.

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Five things to watch for on Emmys night

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Television's glitzy big night out is upon us -- the 71st Emmy Awards kick off Sunday evening in Los Angeles.

A little show called "Game of Thrones" looks set to dominate the proceedings one last time. But there is more to television's Oscars than the blood-spattered fight for the Iron Throne.

Here are five things to look out for:

- No host, many stars -

The Oscars went without a host in January -- and the streamlined ceremony got a 12 percent bump in total number of viewers. So few in Hollywood were surprised when the Emmys followed suit.

The lack of a host means the focus will turn to the starry lineup of A-list presenters, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, Michael Douglas, Naomi Watts, Julia Louis-Dreyfus... and the Kardashian clan.

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