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AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EST

November 21, 2017 - 8:04 PM

FCC chairman sets out to scrap open internet access rules

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission set out Tuesday to scrap rules around open internet access, a move that would allow giant cable and telecom companies to throttle broadband speeds and favour their own services if they wish.

Ajit Pai followed through on a pledge to try to repeal "net neutrality" regulations enacted under the Obama administration. The current rules treat internet service providers such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon as if they were utility companies that provide essential services, like electricity. The rules mandate that they give equal access to all online content and apps.

Pai said those rules discourage investments that could provide even better and faster online access. Instead, he said new rules would force ISPs to be transparent about their services and management policies, and then would let the market decide.

"Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the internet," Pai said in a statement.

Pai distributed his alternative plan to other FCC commissioners Tuesday in preparation for a Dec. 14 vote. Pai promised to release his entire proposal Wednesday. Although the FCC's two Democrats said they will oppose the proposal, the repeal is likely to prevail as Republicans dominate 3-2. The vote for net neutrality in 2015 was also along party lines, but Democrats dominated then.

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Uber reveals coverup of hack affecting 57M riders, drivers

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Uber is coming clean about its coverup of a year-old hacking attack that stole personal information about more than 57 million of the beleaguered ride-hailing service's customers and drivers.

So far, there's no evidence that the data taken has been misused, according to a Tuesday blog post by Uber's recently hired CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi. Part of the reason nothing malicious has happened is because Uber acknowledges paying the hackers $100,000 to destroy the stolen information.

The revelation marks the latest stain on Uber's reputation.

The San Francisco company ousted Travis Kalanick as CEO in June after an internal investigation concluded he had built a culture that allowed female workers to be sexually harassed and encouraged employees to push legal limits.

It's also the latest major breach involving a prominent company that didn't notify the people that could be potentially harmed for months or even years after the break-in occurred.

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10 Things to Know for Wednesday

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday:

1. FCC CHIEF SETS OUT TO SCRAP 'NET NEUTRALITY'

The move would allow giant cable and telecom companies to throttle broadband speeds and favour their own services if they wish.

2. 'ROY MOORE DENIES IT, THAT'S ALL I CAN SAY'

Trump all but endorses the embattled Alabama Republican Senate nominee, discounting the sexual assault allegations against him.

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Teen idol David Cassidy, 'Partridge Family' star, dies at 67

NEW YORK (AP) — David Cassidy, the teen and pre-teen idol who starred in the 1970s sitcom "The Partridge Family" and sold millions of records as the musical group's lead singer, died Tuesday at age 67.

Cassidy, who announced earlier this year that he had been diagnosed with dementia, died surrounded by his family, a family statement released by publicist JoAnn Geffen said. No further details were immediately available, but Geffen said on Saturday that Cassidy was in a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, hospital suffering from organ failure.

"David died surrounded by those he loved, with joy in his heart and free from the pain that had gripped him for so long," the statement said. Thank you for the abundance and support you have shown him these many years."

"The Partridge Family" aired from 1970-74 and was a fictional variation of the '60s performers the Cowsills, intended at first as a vehicle for Shirley Jones, the Oscar winning actress and Cassidy's stepmother. Jones played Shirley Partridge, a widow with five children with whom she forms a popular act that travels on a psychedelic bus. The cast also featured Cassidy as eldest son and family heartthrob Keith Partridge; Susan Dey, later of "L.A. Law" fame, as sibling Laurie Partridge and Danny Bonaduce as sibling Danny Partridge.

It was an era for singing families — the Osmonds, the Jacksons. "The Partridge Family" never cracked the top 10 in TV ratings, but the recordings under their name, mostly featuring Cassidy, Jones and session players, produced real-life musical hits and made Cassidy a real-life musical superstar. The Partridges' best known song, "I Think I Love You," spent three weeks on top of the Billboard chart at a time when other hit singles included James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles' "The Tears of a Clown." The group also reached the top 10 with "I'll Meet You Halfway" and "Doesn't Somebody Want to be Wanted" and Cassidy had a solo hit with "Cherish."

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Trump all but endorses GOP's Moore despite sex accusations

WASHINGTON (AP) — Silent for more than a week, President Donald Trump all but endorsed embattled Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore on Tuesday, discounting the sexual assault allegations against him and insisting repeatedly that voters must not support Moore's "liberal" rival.

The president said he would announce next week whether he will campaign for Moore, who faces Democrat Doug Jones in a Dec. 12 special election to fill the seat once held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Trump, who won election despite facing more than a dozen accusations of sexual misconduct himself, dismissed questions from reporters about backing a Republican accused of sexual assault over a man who is a Democrat. Trump pointed to Moore's assertions that he did nothing wrong.

"Roy Moore denies it, that's all I can say," Trump said. In fact, he repeated 10 times in a 5-minute session outside the White House that the GOP candidate has denied any wrongdoing.

Two Alabama women have accused Moore of assault or molestation — including one who says she was 14 at the time — and six others have said he pursued romantic relationships when they were teenagers and he was a deputy district attorney in his 30s.

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Dramatic video shows escape, shooting of N. Korean defector

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A North Korean soldier races for the border in a jeep and then on foot before his former comrades shoot him at least five times as he limps into South Korea, where he collapses and is dragged to safety by southern soldiers on a dramatic video released by the U.S.-led U.N. command Wednesday.

The defection, subsequent surgeries and slow recovery of the soldier have riveted South Korea, but it will be a huge embarrassment for the North, which claims all defections are the result of rival Seoul kidnapping or enticing North Koreans to defect. Pyongyang has said nothing about the defection so far.

North Korea's actions during the defector's Nov. 13 escape at Panmunjom violated the armistice agreement ending the Korean War because North Korean soldiers fired across and physically crossed the border in pursuit of the soldier, Col. Chad G. Carroll, a spokesman for the U.N. command, told reporters in a live TV briefing.

The video shows the soldier speeding down a tree-lined road, headlights on, past dun-colored fields and shocked North Korean soldiers, who begin to run after him. He crashes the jeep into a ditch near the line that divides North and South and the blue huts familiar to anyone who's toured the area, which is the part of the border where North and South Korean soldiers face each other at their closest distance just meters (feet) apart. There were no tour groups at the time of the defection, Carroll said.

Soldiers from the North sprint to the area, firing handguns and AK rifles — about 40 rounds, the South says — at the defector; one hurries across the dividing line before running back to the northern side. South Korean soldiers then crawl up to the defector, who has fallen injured in a mass of leaves against a small wall. They drag him to safety as North Korean troops begin to gather on their side of the line.

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Mugabe leaves legacy of economic ruin, upheaval in Zimbabwe

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — From widely acclaimed liberator of his nation to despotic dictator, Robert Mugabe's 37-year rule of Zimbabwe has been one of Africa's most controversial and influential.

Wily and ruthless, the 93-year-old Mugabe outmanoeuvred his opponents for decades but was undone by his own miscalculation in his final weeks in power. He blundered when he sidelined his right-hand man in order to position his wife, Grace, as his successor. He didn't anticipate that the fired vice-president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, would swiftly and skillfully depose him.

But Mnangagwa had spent years learning from Mugabe how to seize and wield power.

For years Mugabe inspired other leaders across the continent to emulate his tactics and extend their rule by manipulating the constitution and suppressing opposition through violence and intimidation.

Mugabe's often violent seizure of Zimbabwe's white-owned farms was his signature action — and devastated the country's agricultural production, transforming what had been known as Africa's breadbasket into a land of barren fields and hungry people. Mugabe cloaked the land grabs in ringing rhetoric, shaking his fist and shouting that Africa's land should be held by Africans. It didn't matter that the farms, which had been pledged to poor blacks, instead went to his generals, Cabinet ministers, cronies and his wife — or that many of the fields lay fallow years later. Even now Mugabe is widely revered by many Africans as the continent's most radical de-colonizer.

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CBS News and PBS cut ties to Rose following sex allegations

NEW YORK (AP) — CBS News and PBS both cut ties to Charlie Rose on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after several women who worked with him on his PBS interview show alleged a pattern of sexual misconduct, including groping and walking naked in front of them.

Both organizations stressed the importance of providing a safe, professional workplace.

Rose joins a lengthening list of media figures who have lost jobs because of workplace behaviour, including Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, Fox host Bill O'Reilly, NBC News political reporter Mark Halperin and National Public Radio news chief Michael Oreskes. The reckoning has come to entertainment, too, led by the assault allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

After he was fired, CBS News said three women at the network came forward with complaints about Rose's behaviour. The network gave no other details. Prior to that, the accusations about his behaviour were all by women who worked or sought work at "Charlie Rose" on PBS.

"Despite Charlie's important journalistic contribution to our news division, there is absolutely nothing more important, in this or any organization, than ensuring a safe, professional workplace_a supportive environment where people feel they can do their best work," CBS News President David Rhodes said in a memo to staff on Tuesday. "We need to be such a place."

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VA study shows parasite from Vietnam may be killing veterans

HERALD, W.Va. (AP) — A half a century after serving in Vietnam, hundreds of veterans have a new reason to believe they may be dying from a silent bullet — test results show some men may have been infected by a slow-killing parasite while fighting in the jungles of Southeast Asia.

The Department of Veterans Affairs this spring commissioned a small pilot study to look into the link between liver flukes ingested through raw or undercooked fish and a rare bile duct cancer. It can take decades for symptoms to appear. By then, patients are often in tremendous pain, with just a few months to live.

Of the 50 blood samples submitted, more than 20 per cent came back positive or bordering positive for liver fluke antibodies, said Sung-Tae Hong, the tropical medicine specialist who carried out the tests at Seoul National University in South Korea.

"It was surprising," he said, stressing the preliminary results could include false positives and that the research is ongoing.

Northport VA Medical Center spokesman Christopher Goodman confirmed the New York facility collected the samples and sent them to the lab. He would not comment on the findings, but said everyone who tested positive was notified.

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FBI: Border agent's death a 'potential assault '

DALLAS (AP) — An FBI official said Tuesday that the bureau is investigating the death of a border patrol agent and severe injuries to another as "potential assault," but he wouldn't rule out that they could have been hurt in some other way.

Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie Jr. said during a news conference in El Paso that investigators are still trying to "gather the facts," but they are currently treating it as an assault on a federal officer.

The couched language comes more than two days after U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agent Rogelio Martinez succumbed to traumatic head injuries and broken bones suffered while on duty, and after several politicians portrayed his death as the result of an attack.

Martinez died Sunday and his partner, whose name has not been released, was seriously injured. They were found late Saturday in a culvert near Van Horn, about 30 miles (50 kilometres) from the border with Mexico and 110 miles (175 kilometres) southeast of El Paso.

At Tuesday's news conference, Buie and U.S. Border Patrol Acting Chief Victor Velazquez did not say why they believed the agents may have been attacked.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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