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US sues after California governor signs ‘net neutrality’ law

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The U.S. Justice Department late on Sunday filed suit after California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation to restore open internet protections known as net neutrality in the state after the Trump administration repealed the rules in December 2017.

This marked the latest clash between the Trump administration and California, which have sparred over environmental, immigration and other hot-button issues.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Sunday in a statement that “states do not regulate interstate commerce — the federal government does. Once again the California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy.”

California’s net neutrality law is set to take effect on Jan. 1, but the Justice Department late Sunday in a court filing sought a preliminary injunction to block it from taking effect, warning that internet companies “cannot realistically comply with one set of standards in this area for California and another for the rest of the nation — especially when internet communications frequently cross multiple jurisdictions.”

The government said that California sought to “second-guess” the federal government and warned “the effect of this state legislation would be to nullify federal law across the country.”

In December, the Federal Communications Commission said in repealing the Obama-era rules that it was preempting states from setting their own rules governing internet access.

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California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said on Sunday the Trump Administration was ignoring “millions of Americans who voiced strong support for net neutrality rules” while California, which is “home to countless start-ups, tech giants and nearly 40 million consumers – will not allow a handful of power brokers to dictate sources for information or the speed at which websites load.”

The Trump administration rules were a win for providers like Comcast Corp, AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc, but the net neutrality repeal was opposed by internet companies like Facebook Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc.

In March, Brown accused the Trump administration of essentially declaring war on the most populous U.S. state after the Justice Department sued to stop policies that protect illegal immigrants against deportation.

Under President Donald Trump, the FCC voted 3-2 in December along party lines to reverse rules that barred internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic or offering paid fast lanes, also known as paid prioritization.

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who led the effort to reverse net neutrality, said in a statement on Sunday that “not only is California’s internet regulation law illegal, it also hurts consumers. The law prohibits many free-data plans, which allow consumers to stream video, music, and the like exempt from any data limits.”

Gigi Sohn, a former senior aide to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who ran the agency when the net neutrality rules were adopted, said the California law “is now the model for all future state and federal legislation … this is what internet users across the political spectrum have said they want by overwhelming majorities.”

Jonathan Spalter, who heads USTelecom, an industry trade group, said California’s law will not “help advance the promise and potential of California’s innovation DNA.”

He argued that instead of 50 separate state laws, “we need Congress to step up with a national framework for the whole internet ecosystem and resolve this issue once and for all.”

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In August, 22 states and a coalition of trade groups representing major tech companies urged a federal appeals court to reinstate the rules. Oral arguments are set for February 1.

The U.S. Senate voted in May to reinstate the net neutrality rules, but the measure is unlikely to be approved by the House of Representatives and the White House also opposes it.

The FCC in December handed ISPs sweeping new powers to recast how Americans use the internet, as long as they disclose changes. The new rules took effect in June but providers have made no changes in access.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Iran and US trade barbs after drone incident and ahead of new sanctions

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The United States on Monday was due to tighten sanctions on Iran as the two countries traded barbs in a tense standoff sparked by Washington's withdrawal from a nuclear deal.

Both nations say they want to avoid going to war, but tensions have spiralled as a series of incidents, including attacks on tankers and the shooting down of a US drone by Iran in the Gulf, raised fears of an unintended slide towards conflict.

On Sunday, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said a US-made MQ9 Reaper "spy drone" -- also widely used for carrying out military strikes -- had encroached his country's airspace on May 26.

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John Oliver warns Trump didn’t have an ‘Ebenezer Scrooge moment’ deciding to be ‘good’ — he’s still Trump

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John Oliver Trump hair

The best thing you can say about Donald Trump is that he "maybe hasn't eaten a dolphin before," John Oliver joked on his Sunday episode of "Last Week Tonight."

Oliver warned people that while Trump had a "change of heart" about Iran it was only about Iran. "He didn't have an Ebenezer Scrooge moment, threw open a window and yelled, 'I'm going to be good from now on!'" the host explained. "No, he just didn't bomb some people."

As Fox News explained, the drown that Iran shot down was not simply one from Amazon. Oliver said it wasn't like Trump said, "Alexa, send a drone to surveil Iran." According to Fox's genius analysis, those drones cost actual money.

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Donald Trump’s biggest regret is choosing Jeff Sessions as his attorney general

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In an interview that aired on Sunday, President Donald Trump told "Meet the Press" that his biggest regret is choosing Jeff Sessions to be his attorney general.

"If you could have one do-over as president, what would it be?" NBC host Chuck Todd asked Trump during their interview.

This article first appeared at Salon.com.After the president replied that his do over would involve "personnel," he elaborated that "I would say if I had one do over, it would be, I would not have appointed Jeff Sessions to be attorney general." When Todd asked Trump to clarify if he thought appointing Sessions was his "worst mistake," the president reiterated "yeah, that was the biggest mistake." He added that Sessions is "very talented" but was cut off by a new line of questioning from Todd before he could elaborate.

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