In our news wrap Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission rolled back Obama-era rules that safeguarded equal access to the internet. New York's attorney general said he will lead a multi-state lawsuit against the decision. Also, California's devastating Thomas fire is now the fourth largest in that state's history.
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In the day's other news- the Federal Communications Commission rolled back Obama-era rules that safeguarded equal access to the Internet. The so-called "net neutrality" guidelines were repealed in a three to two vote along party lines. The decision grants more power to Internet service providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T, allowing them to prioritize certain Websites over others.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the move will also increase competition.
By removing heavy-handed regulations that stand in the way of deploying digital infrastructure, especially in rural and low income urban areas, I'm also confident that more consumers will enjoy better, faster and cheaper Internet access.
New York state's attorney general said that he will lead a multi-state lawsuit to try to reverse the FCC's decision.
In Southern California, the devastating Thomas Fire is now the fourth largest in that state's history. The wildfires already scorched more than 242,000 acres, and still threatens communities north of Los Angeles. It's now only 30 percent contained. And today, it claimed a second life, a fireman, who died fighting the fire.
Texas U.S. representative, Republican Blake Farenthold, says that he will not seek re-election when his term ends next year. The announcement comes amid a swirl of claims from former staffers accusing him of sexual misconduct. He's now the fourth member of Congress in two weeks to announce resignation or retirement over sexual harassment allegations.
Television host Tavis Smiley contends that PBS, quote, "overreacted", in its decision to suspend distribution of his show, after investigating misconduct claims against him. In a Facebook post, Smiley denied the allegations. He said, quote: This has gone too far. And he vowed to fight back.
A PBS spokeswoman said that the public broadcaster stands by the investigation's integrity, after finding, quote, a pattern of multiple relationships with subordinates, and other conduct inconsistent with PBS standards.
Meanwhile, documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock confessed in an online post to sexual harassment, infidelity, and being accused of rape. Spurlock said, quote: I've come to understand after months of these revelations, that I am not some innocent bystander. I am also a part of the problem.
U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley called today for a strong international response against what she called Iran's, destabilizing behavior. She accused Iran of fanning the flames of conflict in the Middle East, flouting a U.N. resolution. Haley spoke standing in front of what she said were remnants of a missile she said Iran supplied to Houthi rebels in Yemen, that was fired at a Saudi airport.
This is absolutely terrifying. And this is why it has to stop. We have said multiple times that this is not just about the nuclear program. This is about everything else they're doing because Iran believes that they have been given a pass. It is incumbent on the international community to show not only are they not being given a pass, but all of these actions have to stop and stop immediately.
Iran's mission to the U.N. claimed that the missile on display was fabricated.
A Doctors Without Borders investigation has found that at least 6,700 Rohingya Muslims were killed in majority Buddhist Myanmar in August and September. More than 620,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since August, to escape the brutal military crackdown. The aid group said Rohingya men, women and children were, quote, routinely and systematically targeted because of their ethnicity.
Military soldiers, armed militias would come to their villages. Some people would say that they would then come and shoot people, individuals or in groups but also, that then there was elements of sexual violence that was occurring as well or they would set fire to the houses and the people living inside those houses would be burned to death.
Meanwhile, the United Nations' secretary general is demanding the release of two Reuters journalists. They were arrested by Myanmar's security forces while documenting the Rohingya crisis, and they could face up to 14 years in prison.
Back in this country, the speaker of the U.S. House, Paul Ryan, proposed a way to save the social safety net in the U.S.: have more children. Ryan said the government entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security were strained as millions of baby boomers retire or pass away. The U.S. birth rate plummeted to a record low in 2016.
The former star of the TV show Apprentice spoke out today about leaving her position as a senior White House aide. On ABC's Good Morning America, Omarosa Manigault Newman alluded to situations at the Trump White House that concerned her, as one of only two African- American members of the senior staff. She denied reports that she was fired, but teased that she has a story to tell.
Omarosa Manigault Newman:
I have seen things that have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community and my people. And when I can tell my story, it is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear.
When asked about Manigault Newman's concerns today, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said, quote: it's something that we take seriously and something that we want to see improve.
And on Wall Street today, stocks took a downward turn over lingering worries about last minute changes in the tax bill working its way through Congress. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 76 points to close at 24,508. The Nasdaq fell 19, and the S&P 500 slipped nearly 11.