Category Archives: National

F.C.C. Repeals Net Neutrality

By: Cecilia Kang

The Federal Communications Commission voted on Thursday to dismantle landmark rules regulating the businesses that connect consumers to the internet, granting broadband companies power to potentially reshape Americans’ online experiences.

The agency scrapped so-called net neutrality regulations that prohibited broadband providers from blocking websites or charging for higher-quality service or certain content. The federal government will also no longer regulate high-speed internet delivery as if it were a utility, like phone services.

The action reversed the agency’s 2015 decision, during the Obama administration, to better protect Americans as they have migrated to the internet for most communications.

Ajit Pai, the chairman of the commission, said the rollback of the rules would eventually help consumers because broadband providers like AT&T and Comcast could offer people a wider variety of service options. Mr. Pai was joined in the 3-to-2 vote by his two fellow Republican commissioners.

“We are helping consumers and promoting competition,” Mr. Pai said in a speech before the vote. “Broadband providers will have more incentive to build networks, especially to underserved areas.”

The discarding of net neutrality regulations is the most significant and controversial action by the F.C.C. under Mr. Pai. In his first 11 months as chairman, he has lifted media ownership limits, eased caps on how much broadband providers can charge business customers and cut back on a low-income broadband program that was slated to be expanded to nationwide carriers.

His plan, first outlined early this year, set off a flurry of opposition. Critics of the changes say consumers may have more difficulty finding content online and that start-ups will have to pay to reach consumers. In the last week, there have been hundreds of protests across the country, and many websites have encouraged users to speak up against the repeal. Some groups have said they planned to file a lawsuit challenging the change.

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Terrorist Attempt In New York

By: The BBC

“Terrorists won’t win,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said after a blast at the Port Authority terminal in Manhattan during the morning rush hour on Monday.

The suspect, Akayed Ullah, a 27-year-old Bangladeshi immigrant, was injured by a “low-tech explosive device” strapped to his body, officials say.

Three other people suffered minor wounds when it blew up in an underpass.

A photo circulating on social media shows a man, said to be Akayed Ullah, lying on the ground with his clothes ripped and lacerations on his upper body.

Mayor De Blasio said he was believed to have acted alone.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said: “This is New York. The reality is that we are a target by many who would like to make a statement against democracy, against freedom.

“We have the Statue of Liberty in our harbour and that makes us an international target.”

The explosion occurred at about 07:30 (12:30 GMT). Andre Rodriguez, 62, told the New York Times: “I was going through the turnstile. It sounded like an explosion, and everybody started running.”

Another eyewitness, Alicja Wlodkowski, told Reuters news agency that she had seen a group of about 60 people running. “A woman fell. And nobody even went to stop and help her because the panic was so scary,” she said.

Nearby subway stations were evacuated, and the Port Authority Bus Terminal temporarily shut.

It is the biggest and busiest bus terminal in the world, serving more than 65 million people a year.

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Time Awards Hollywood Whistleblowers As Person of The Year

By: BY STEPHANIE ZACHAREK, ELIANA DOCKTERMAN AND HALEY SWEETLAND EDWARDS of Time

Movie stars are supposedly nothing like you and me. They’re svelte, glamorous, self-­possessed. They wear dresses we can’t afford and live in houses we can only dream of. Yet it turns out that—in the most painful and personal ways—movie stars are more like you and me than we ever knew.

In 1997, just before Ashley Judd’s career took off, she was invited to a meeting with Harvey Weinstein, head of the starmaking studio Miramax, at a Beverly Hills hotel. Astounded and offended by Weinstein’s attempt to coerce her into bed, Judd managed to escape. But instead of keeping quiet about the kind of encounter that could easily shame a woman into silence, she began spreading the word.

“I started talking about Harvey the minute that it happened,” Judd says in an interview with TIME. “Literally, I exited that hotel room at the Peninsula Hotel in 1997 and came straight downstairs to the lobby, where my dad was waiting for me, because he happened to be in Los Angeles from Kentucky, visiting me on the set. And he could tell by my face—to use his words—that something devastating had happened to me. I told him. I told everyone.”

She recalls one screenwriter friend telling her that Weinstein’s behavior was an open secret passed around on the whisper network that had been furrowing through Hollywood for years. It allowed for people to warn others to some degree, but there was no route to stop the abuse. “Were we supposed to call some fantasy attorney general of moviedom?” Judd asks. “There wasn’t a place for us to report these experiences.”

Finally, in October—when Judd went on the record about Weinstein’s behavior in the New York Times, the first star to do so—the world listened. (Weinstein said he “never laid a glove” on Judd and denies having had nonconsensual sex with other accusers.)

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Disney To Buy Fox

By: David Faber of CNBC

Disney and Twenty-First Century Fox are closing in on a deal, and it could come as soon as next week, according to sources familiar with the matter.

CNBC has been reporting that Disney has held talks with the Rupert Murdoch-controlled media company to acquire its studio and television production assets, leaving Fox with its news and sports assets. Fox is also talking with CNBC parent company Comcast, but the talks with Disney have progressed more significantly.

The deal contemplates the sale of Fox’s Nat Geo, Star, regional sports networks, movie studios and stakes in Sky and Hulu, among other properties.

What would remain at Fox includes its news and business news divisions, broadcast network and Fox sports.

The enterprise value of the Fox assets in the Disney deal is seen as above $60 billion, according to sources. Current Fox shareholders would get one share of the Fox company that remains after the movie and television assets are sold plus shares of Disney in a fixed exchange ratio.

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5 US Presidents Unite For Hurricane Relief Concert

Compliments ABC News  by Morgan Winsor & Alexander Mallin

5 US Presidents Gather for Hurricane Relief. Photo: LM Otero/AP
5 US Presidents Gather for Hurricane Relief.
Photo: LM Otero/AP

United We Stand!
Music legends and artist performed as Democrats Barack Obama,  Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and Republicans George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush came together for the “Deep From the Heart: The One America Appeal” concert at Texas A&M University’s Reed Arena in College Station to raise money for relief efforts from the recent hurricane devastation in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The concert has already raised over $31,000,000.00 to help the impacted communities.  MORE

 

 

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Could Global Warming be solved by Regreening the planet ?

By: Reuters

Planting forests and other activities that harness the power of nature could play a major role in limiting global warming under the 2015 Paris agreement, an international study showed on Monday.

Natural climate solutions, also including protection of carbon-storing peatlands and better management of soils and grasslands, could account for 37% of all actions needed by 2030 under the 195-nation Paris plan, it said.

Combined, the suggested “regreening of the planet” would be equivalent to halting all burning of oil worldwide, it said. 
“Better stewardship of the land could have a bigger role in fighting climate change than previously thought,” the international team of scientists said of findings published in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

The estimates for nature’s potential, led by planting forests, were up to 30% higher than those envisaged by a UN panel of climate scientists in a 2014 report, it said.

Trees soak up heat-trapping carbon dioxide as they grow and release it when they burn or rot. That makes forests, from the Amazon to Siberia, vast natural stores of greenhouse gases.

Overall, better management of nature could avert 11.3bn tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year by 2030, the study said, equivalent to China’s current carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use.

The Paris climate agreement, weakened by US president Donald Trump’s decision in June to pull out, seeks to limit a rise in global temperature to “well below” 2C above pre-industrial times.

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Californians Evacuated as Fires Grow Exponentially In Northern and Southern California 

By: Anh Do, Victoria Kim and James QueallyContact Reporters

Orange County fire officials have evacuated at least 1,000 homes as a fast-moving fire in the Anaheim Hills spat smoke into the air and scorched several structures early Monday afternoon, according to fire officials and television footage.

The fire raced up a ridge and hit a tract homes at the top of a hill. Several caught fire, and firefighters were trying to prevent the fire from spreading further into the subdivision.
Canyon fire No. 2 broke out around 9:20 a.m. near the 91 Freeway and Gypsum Canyon Road, and quickly leapt the California 241 toll road, according to Sgt. Daron Wyatt, a spokesman for the Anaheim Fire Department.

As of 2 p.m., the fire had grown to approximately 2,000 acres, fire officials said. In a video posted to the Anaheim Fire Department’s Facebook page, Wyatt said he had received “unconfirmed reports” of one firefighter suffering a minor injury and five structures sustaining fire damage.

At least 200 firefighters from multiple fire task forces are battling the blaze. Television footage showed several homes on fire early Monday afternoon.

Evacuations were ordered south of the 91 Freeway, west of the 241 toll road, north of Nohl Ranch Road and east of Serrano Avenue. The eastbound 91 Freeway was closed, with small spot fires reported along the roadway.

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What To Do In Active Shooter Incidents

First, our sincere condolences and prayers go out to the families who have been impacted by the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 1st, 2017.

This domestic terrorist attack by an Active Shooter is now the largest mass shooting incident in United States history.  Unfortunately, this will not be the last time this kind of threat happens to communities across the US and around the world.

Do you know what to do if you find yourself confronted by an Active Shooter or in a Domestic Terrorist attack?  Have you discussed this with your family and friends?

The US Department of Homeland Security advises to “Run – Fight – Hide” in Active Shooter events.  If you can run and get to safety  – do it.  If you can’t run then hide until the event is over.  If you are cornered and unable to run or hide, then fight for your life.  Many may remember during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the people on United Flight 93 found themselves in this very predicament.  They could not run because they were in the air on a plane, they could not hide because everyone was confined in the same cabin space.  Then a group of passengers got together to fight, uttering the now famous words, “Let’s Roll” as they combined forces and overtook the terrorists.  Although the plane crashed in a rural field in Pennsylvania claiming the lives of everyone on board, it is agreed by many that the passengers heroic efforts may have saved the lives of thousands by fighting the terrorists and causing the plane crash in a field instead of hitting a populated target.

This video from the FBI talks about what to do if you are threatened by an active shooter:

More information is available on the FBI Active Shooter Resource Website  and on the UCIT.tv & TRN.tv  DAPP (#911, Disaster Awareness, Preparedness & Planning) Channels.

Please take a moment to discuss this with your family and friends and do the best you can to prepare for how you could respond if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.

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Federal Response Teams Assisting in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands

Compliments of FEMA.gov

WASHINGTON – In the wake of Hurricane Maria, life, personal safety, and access to safe shelters for disaster survivors remain a priority of local responders, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the entire federal family.

To aid in life sustaining missions, six FEMA Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) task forces are deployed to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico and are working in tandem with numerous federal partners to rescue and render aid to distressed survivors in the region.  Additional FEMA US&R task forces are arriving today to expand operations, as areas become accessible. FEMA US&R task forces currently conducting operations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands include Virginia Task Forces 1 and 2, Florida Task Forces 1 and 2, and California Task Forces 6 and 7. Components of New York Task Force 1 and Massachusetts Task Force 1 are on the ground providing logistics support.

Federal partners assisting with Search and Rescue (SAR) missions include the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), and the U.S. Department of the Interior / National Park Service.

Collectively, these federal agencies have rescued 180 individuals and searched more than 45 structures in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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Rescue Families
Family Rescues

 

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Hurricane Harvey Hits Texas, August 2017

From FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)

Friday, President Donald J. Trump issued a Major Disaster Declaration for the state of Texas, making federal funding available for emergency work and to affected individuals and businesses owners who sustain damage as a result of the storm.

Shelters are open across the affected and surrounding areas. Download the FEMA mobile app for shelter information, weather alerts, and safety tips. The app (available in English and Spanish) provides directions to open shelters, disaster survival tips, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service.

The federal coordination is fully-activated, geared up, and providing support to states, local communities, and tribes as needed.  FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C. and Regional Response Coordination Center in Denton, Texas, are operating 24-hours a day.

Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog,www.twitter.com/femawww.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema 

From BEMA (Black Emergency Managers Association)

In December 2016 NAACP HQ renewed disaster assistance memorandum of agreement (MOA) with FEMA.  Additional assistance during time of response & recovery is available from your local NAACP chapter. For an updated MOA contact your local NAACP office.

Hurricane Harvey Shelter Activations

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