2021-07-22 12:14:55 ..
2021-07-29 11:57:17 UTC
2021-07-30 13:44:35 UTC --martyb
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LONDON—The U.S. government has given assurances to the U.K. that Julian Assange wouldn't be held under the strictest maximum-security conditions if extradited to the U.S., a concession aimed at resolving Washington's yearslong battle to put the WikiLeaks founder on trial on espionage charges.
The U.S. has also assured British authorities that Mr. Assange, if convicted, would be permitted to serve any jail time in his native Australia, according to excerpts of a court ruling provided by the U.K. Crown Prosecution Service, the public prosecutor's office for England and Wales.
A U.K. court on Wednesday formally allowed a U.S. government appeal against a January ruling blocking Mr. Assange's extradition. No date for a hearing has yet been set.
A British judge in January refused to grant a U.S. request to extradite Mr. Assange on the grounds that he would likely commit suicide if incarcerated in a federal maximum-security, or "Supermax," prison and subjected to added security measures, such as solitary confinement, which are common pretrial arrangements in national-security cases.
The U.S. has given the U.K. a package of assurances that Mr. Assange won't be held at ADX, a maximum-security federal penitentiary in Colorado, or subjected to extra security measures, according to the excerpts of the ruling, potentially removing a key impediment to his potential extradition.
[...] Experts said the Justice Department's offer to allow Mr. Assange to serve out any sentence in Australia was unusual, given that inmates usually only apply for such a move once they have been convicted, under the international prisoner transfer program.
The UK's largest producer of semiconductors has been acquired by the Chinese-owned manufacturer Nexperia, prompting a senior Tory MP to call for the government to review the sale to a foreign owner during an increasingly severe global shortage of computer chips.
Nexperia, a Dutch firm owned by China's Wingtech, said on Monday that it had taken full control of Newport Wafer Fab (NWF), the UK's largest producer of silicon chips, which are vital in products from TVs and mobile phones to cars and games consoles.
Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative MP for Tonbridge and Malling and the chair of the foreign affairs select committee, told CNBC on Monday that he would be very surprised if the deal was not being reviewed under the National Security and Investment Act, new legislation brought in to protect key national assets from foreign takeover.
"The semiconductor industry sector falls under the scope of the legislation, the very purpose of which is to protect the nation's technology companies from foreign takeovers when there is a material risk to economic and national security," he said.
The vote was 69-28 in a Senate split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, signaling the growing bipartisan interest in reining in large tech companies' power, just days after House lawmakers from both parties unveiled a series of bills that could force Silicon Valley companies to change their business practices and in the most severe cases, break the companies up.
Khan, who is aligned with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, is well-known for her 2017 paper, "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox," which argued that decades-old antitrust laws aren't equipped to deal with the e-commerce giant and the unique ways it exerts its dominance. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
Khan previously worked as a counsel for the House Judiciary's antitrust panel, where she helped lead an investigation into the tech giants. That probe's findings of monopoly-style tactics and anti-competitive behavior at Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon gave rise to the recent bills introduced by House lawmakers.
Khan, 32, will be one of the youngest commissioners in the FTC's history after a meteoric rise since writing the Amazon paper as a law school student. She is an associate professor at Columbia Law School, and previously worked as a legal adviser to FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra (D).
[...] Lawmakers are working on legislation to call off the lottery immediately. They're also trying to head off any plans for "vaccine passports." And last month, they introduced a sweeping antivaccination bill that would essentially demolish public health and vaccination requirements in the state—and not just requirements for COVID-19 vaccines, requirements for any vaccine.
[...] State Rep. Beth Liston (D-Dublin) blasted the bill, telling The Columbus Dispatch, "Not only would it prevent schools, businesses and communities from putting safety measures in pace related to COVID, it will impact the health of our children... This bill applies to all vaccines—polio, measles, meningitis, etc. If it becomes law we will see worsening measles outbreaks, meningitis in the dorms, and children once again suffering from polio."
[...] "At its core, this proposal would destroy our current public health framework that prevents outbreaks of potentially lethal diseases, threatens the stability of our economy as it recovers from a devastating pandemic and jeopardizes the way we live, learn, work and celebrate life," the letter said.
[...] "HB 248 would put all Ohioans at risk while increasing the cost of health care for families, individuals and businesses," spokesperson Dan Williamson said. "This proposal applies to all immunizations, including childhood vaccines. If passed, this legislation could reverse decades of immunity from life-threatening, but vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, hepatitis, meningitis and tuberculosis."
President Biden on Wednesday announced a ramped-up effort to determine the origins of COVID-19, reflecting a new acceptance in U.S. political and public health circles that the virus might have emerged naturally or from a Chinese lab in the city of Wuhan.
Biden asked the U.S. intelligence community to "redouble their efforts" to come to a definitive conclusion on the disease's origins, calling on them to report back to him within 90 days.
"As part of that report, I have asked for areas of further inquiry that may be required, including specific questions for China," Biden said in a statement. "I have also asked that this effort include work by our National Labs and other agencies of our government to augment the Intelligence Community's efforts. And I have asked the Intelligence Community to keep Congress fully apprised of its work."
"The United States will also keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence," Biden added.
Top intelligence officials including Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines acknowledged at a hearing in April that a laboratory accident was a plausible scenario that the intelligence community was investigating.
On the first anniversary of the global COVID-19 pandemic, US President Joe Biden announced that he will direct states to open vaccine eligibility to all American adults no later than May 1, a dramatic acceleration of the national immunization plan that has been sluggish and, at times, chaotic.
"That's much earlier than expected," Biden said in a televised, prime-time address. It doesn't mean every American over age 18 will have their shot by then, Biden cautioned, but you'll be able to get in line.
The announcement means that carefully crafted prioritizations for vaccines will soon no longer apply. The White House COVID-19 Response Team landed on May 1 for the deadline after concluding that national vaccination efforts would be far-enough along by the end of April to make the prioritizations obsolete anyway.
"If we all do our part, this country will be vaccinated soon," Biden said, "our economy will be on the mend, our kids will be back in school, and we'll have proven once again that this country can do anything."
The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday approved final rules for a new broadband subsidy program that could help struggling families pay for internet service during the pandemic.
The agency's $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit Program provides eligible low-income households with up to a $50 per month credit on their internet bills through their provider until the end of the pandemic. In tribal areas, eligible households may receive up to $75 per month. The program also provides eligible households up to $100 off of one computer or tablet.
The congressionally created program is aimed at closing the digital divide, which has become painfully apparent over the past year as millions of Americans have been forced to work and learn remotely. Some have also raised concerns that the digital divide could affect access to the vaccine as signups typically happen online.
[...] Last year, Congress passed a coronavirus relief package that contained provisions for the FCC's new program. And the FCC has established a fresh task force this year to improve the data it collects on broadband availability, which could ultimately help the agency better target its efforts to close the gap.
[...] "This is a program that will help those at risk of digital disconnection," Rosenworcel said in a statement. "It will help those sitting in cars in parking lots just to catch a Wi-Fi signal to go online for work. It will help those lingering outside the library with a laptop just to get a wireless signal for remote learning. It will help those who worry about choosing between paying a broadband bill and paying rent or buying groceries."
Concerning the regulation of digital communications, and, in connection therewith, creating the digital communications division and the digital communications commission
Session: 2021 Regular Session
Subjects: Professions & Occupations
Telecommunications & Information Technology
The bill creates the digital communications division (division) . . . On an annual basis and for a reasonable fee determined by the commission, the division shall register digital communications platforms . . . such as social media platforms or media-sharing platforms, that conduct business in Colorado . . . A digital communications platform that fails to register with the division commits a class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 for each day that the violation continues.
The division shall investigate and the commission may hold hearings . . .
- Include practices that promote hate speech; undermine election integrity; disseminate intentional disinformation, conspiracy theories, or fake news; . . . .
- May include business, political, or social practices that are conducted in a manner that a person aggrieved by the practices can demonstrate are unfair or discriminatory to the aggrieved person. . . . .
- Practices that target users for purposes of collecting and disseminating users' personal data, including users' sensitive data
- Profiling users based on their personal data collected
- Selling or authorizing others to use users' personal data to provide location-based advertising or targeted advertising; or
- Using facial recognition software and other tracking technology.
The full text of the bill is here.
Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:
The independent review of Australia's main environment law, released last week, provided a sobering but accurate appraisal of a dire situation.
The review was led by Professor Graeme Samuel and involved consultation with scientists, legal experts, industry and conservation organizations. Samuel's report concluded Australia's biodiversity is in decline and the law (the EPBC Act) "is not fit for current or future environmental challenges".
[...] To reverse Australia's appalling track record of protecting biodiversity, four major reforms recommended by Samuel must be implemented as a package.
- Setting standards [...]
- Greater government accountability [...]
- Decent funding [...]
- Increase ecological knowledge [...]
[...] Samuel recommends Regional Recovery Plans be adequately funded to help develop some knowledge. But we suggest substantial new environmental capacity is needed, including new ecological research positions, increased environmental monitoring infrastructure, and appropriate funding of recovery plans, to ensure enough knowledge supports decision making.
Samuel's report has provided a path forward that could make a substantial difference to Australia's shocking track record of biodiversity conservation and land stewardship.
But Environment Minister Sussan Ley's response so far suggests the Morrison government plans to cherry pick from Samuel's recommendations, and rush through changes without appropriate safeguards.
If the changes we outlined above aren't implemented as a package, our precious natural heritage will continue to decline.
"I lived in the bottom for years," says [Janie] Gullickson, 52. "For me and people like me, I laid there and wallowed in it for a long time."
But if she has to pick the lowest point – one that lasted years, not days, she says – it came shortly after she hit 30 in 1998. At that time, Gullickson had five kids, ages 5 to 11, by four different men. She came home from work one day as a locksmith to find that her ex-husband had taken her two youngest and left the state. Horrified, devastated and convinced that this was the beginning of the end, her life spiraled: She dropped her other son off with his dad, left her two daughters with her mom and soon became an IV meth user.
In prison six years later, Gullickson was contemplating joining an intensive recovery program when a "striking, magnetic gorgeous Black woman walked in the room, held up a mug shot and started talking about being in the very chairs where we were sitting," Gullickson remembers. There was life on the other side of addiction and prison, the woman said. But you have to fight for it. Gullickson believed her.
"I remember thinking, I may not be able to do all that, be what she was, but maybe I could do something different than this," Gullickson says. "That day, I felt the door open to change and healing."
Now Gullickson, executive director of the Mental Health & Addiction Association of Oregon, is determined to give other addicts the same opportunity. That's why she pushed for the passage of Measure 110, first-of-its-kind legislation that decriminalizes the possession of all illegal drugs in Oregon, including heroin, cocaine, meth and oxycodone. Instead of a criminal-justice-based approach, the state will pivot to a health-care-based approach, offering addicts treatment instead of prison time. Those in possession will be fined $100, a citation that will be dropped if they agree to a health assessment.
The law goes into effect Monday and will be implemented over the next decade by the state officials at the Oregon Health Authority.
[...] "I hope that we all become more enlightened across this country that substance abuse is not something that necessitates incarceration, but speaks to other social ills – lack of health care, lack of treatment, things of that nature," says Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., an outspoken critic of the War on Drugs.
[...] Watson Coleman also points out that it's far more expensive to pay to incarcerate someone than get them treatment. Rehab programs not only empower people, she says, but they also save communities money.
Also at: CNN.