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FCC plans to vote to overturn US net neutrality rules in December: sources

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By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the Federal Communications Commission is set to unveil plans next week for a final vote to reverse a landmark 2015 net neutrality order barring the blocking or slowing of web content, two people briefed on the plans said.

In May, the FCC voted 2-1 to advance Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to withdraw the former Obama administration’s order reclassifying internet service providers as if they were utilities. Pai now plans to hold a final vote on the proposal at the FCC’s Dec. 14 meeting, the people said, and roll out details of the plans next week.

Pai asked in May for public comment on whether the FCC has authority or should keep any regulations limiting internet providers’ ability to block, throttle or offer “fast lanes” to some websites, known as “paid prioritization.” Several industry officials told Reuters they expect Pai to drop those specific legal requirements but retain some transparency requirements under the order.

An FCC spokesman declined to comment.

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Internet providers including AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp and Verizon Communications Inc say ending the rules could spark billions in additional broadband investment and eliminate the possibility a future administration could regulate internet pricing.

Critics say the move could harm consumers, small businesses and access to the internet.

In July, a group representing major technology firms including Alphabet Inc and Facebook Inc urged Pai to drop plans to rescind the rules.

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Advocacy group Free Press said Wednesday “we’ll learn the gory details in the next few days, but we know that Pai intends to dismantle the basic protections that have fueled the internet’s growth.”

Pai, who argues the Obama order was unnecessary and harms jobs and investment, has not committed to retaining any rules, but said he favors an “open internet.” The proposal to reverse the Obama rules reclassifying internet service has drawn more than 22 million comments.

Pai is mounting an aggressive deregulatory agenda since being named by President Donald Trump to head the FCC.

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On Thursday the FCC will vote on Pai’s proposal to eliminate the 42-year-old ban on cross-ownership of a newspaper and TV station in a major market. The proposal would make it easier for media companies to buy additional TV stations in the same market.

Pai is also expected to call for an initial vote in December to rescind rules that say one company may not own stations serving more than 39 percent of U.S. television households, two people briefed on the matter said.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chris Reese)


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The real midlife crisis confronting Americans is much more depressing that what exists in popular imagination

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The way my mom imagined it, midlife was going to be great: counting down days until retirement, spending winters in Florida and checking off destinations on her bucket list. But it hasn’t turned out that way.

Instead of more time spent in Florida, she’s still stuck in snowy upstate New York. She traded romps in the sea and traveling the world for her daily visits to her mom, who’s in a nursing home. Instead of the joys of living the snowbird life, she’s saddled with stress, guilt and the challenges of caring for my grandmother, who is 89 and dealing with dementia.

“This is not how I imagined my life at midlife,” my mom, who is 61, tells me.

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Trump kids hit the campaign trail hoping he’ll notice them: ‘It’s a way of bonding with their dad’

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President Donald Trump's children are hoping their father will notice their efforts to help his re-election campaign.

The 2020 campaign offers Trump's three eldest children, born to his first wife Ivana Trump, an opportunity to attract their notoriously inattentive father's approval, reported Politico.

“I view it as the kids staying relevant," said one Trump adviser. "They are no longer on TV every week with 'The Apprentice,' so instead of NBC, they are on Fox News or at campaign events and are way more visible."

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Trump expands executive overreach – ends asylum protections for migrants in Central America coming to US

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In a new and expansive executive action President Donald Trump has created a new rule that ends asylum protections for migrants traveling from Central America to the United States.

Those seeking asylum who pass through another country before applying for U.S. asylum will be deemed automatically ineligible for asylum protections.

The Associated Press reports the new rule is "expected to go into effect on Tuesday, also applies to children who have crossed the border alone."

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