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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legislation to restore open internet protections known as net neutrality in the state after the Trump administration repealed the rules in December 2017.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.

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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.

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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.

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.”

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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.”

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.

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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


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Three judges suspended for drunken 3 AM fight at White Castle — that ended with two shot

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Three judges were suspended after engaging in a drunken shooting outside a White Castle.

"Three Indiana judges involved in a Downtown Indianapolis fight in May that ended with two of the judges shot have been suspended without pay after the Indiana Supreme Court determined they committed judicial misconduct," the Indianapolis Star reports. "In an opinion issued Tuesday, the court said judges Bradley Jacobs, Andrew Adams and Sabrina Bell 'engaged in judicial misconduct by appearing in public in an intoxicated state and behaving in an injudicious manner and by becoming involved in a verbal altercation.'"

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What Zelensky knew: The devastating and darkly ironic impact of Trump’s attempt to bribe Ukraine

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In their effort to exculpate President Donald Trump in the impeachment inquiry, Republicans put Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s denial that he ever felt pressure from the White House to open up investigations into Democrats at the center of their argument. A new GOP memo says that both leaders have acknowledged “there was no pressure” on the famous July 25 call that sparked the inquiry and thus argues that the allegations made by Democrats that Trump abused his power don’t hold.

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Greta Thunberg says ‘people must finally wake up’ to the fact Trump is ‘so extreme’ on climate change

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Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg said Tuesday that US President Donald Trump's climate change denialism was "so extreme" that it had helped galvanize the movement to halt long term planetary warming.

She spoke in an interview with AFP on the eve of her departure from North America where she has spent almost three months.

"He's so extreme and he says so extreme things, so I think people wake up by that in a way," the 16-year-old said from on board a sailboat preparing to depart from the East Coast town of Hampton, Virginia for Europe early Wednesday.

"I thought when he got elected, now people will finally, now people must finally wake up," she continued.

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