FCC votes along party lines to end 'net neutrality' The Federal Communications Commission repealed the Obama-era "net neutrality" rules Thursday, giving internet service providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T a free hand to slow or block websites and apps as they see fit or charge more for faster speeds. In a straight party-line vote of 3-2, the Republican-controlled FCC junked the long-time principle that said all web traffic must be treated equally. The move represents a radical departure from a decade of federal oversight. The push toward eliminating the rules has touched off protests and stirred fears among consumer advocates and ordinary Americans that cable and phone companies will be able to control what people see and do online.
Rubio's defection threatens Senate GOP's margin on tax bill WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican Sen. Marco Rubio declared Thursday he will vote against the GOP'S sweeping tax package unless negotiators expand its child tax credit, jeopardizing the Republicans' razor-thin margin as they try to muscle the $1.5 trillion bill through Congress next week. Rubio wants to increase the portion of the basic $2,000-per-child tax credit that would go to low-income families. In the current bill, families that pay little or no income tax would get only $1,100 per child. Rubio wants that amount increased, but he didn't specify an amount. Under current law, the tax credit is $1,000. "Given all the other changes they made in the tax code leading into it, I can't in good conscience support it unless we are able to increase the refundable portion of it.
4 children killed in bus-train collision in southern France PARIS (AP) - A regional train hit a school bus on a crossing in southern France Thursday, killing four children and critically injuring 11 other people on the bus, the French interior ministry said. Photos from the scene tweeted by a local television station showed the train derailed and the bus shorn in half - with first responders gathered around. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, who flew to the scene of the accident Thursday night, said that authorities still don't know what led to the accident on the crossing in Millas, some 15 kilometers (9 miles) west of Perpignan, close to the border with Spain.
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Trump's security paper offers stark vision of global rivalry WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump's "America First" vision is a stark worldview that sees rivals battling each other for supremacy or relevance and has little use for alliances, treaties and other international agreements unless they directly benefit the United States, its industry and workers. Trump's doctrine, to be laid out next week when he unveils his National Security Strategy, holds that nation states are in perpetual competition and the U.S. must fight on all fronts to protect and defend its sovereignty from friend and foe alike. While the administration often says that "America First" does not mean "America Alone," the NSS to be presented by Trump on Monday will make clear that the United States will stand up for itself even if that means acting unilaterally or alienating others on issues like trade, climate change and immigration, according to sources familiar with the strategy.
Farenthold retiring from House amid harassment accusations WASHINGTON (AP) - Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold announced Thursday that he won't seek re-election next year, adding his name to the list of lawmakers leaving Congress amid sexual harassment allegations that have cost powerful men their jobs in politics, the arts and other industries. In a five-minute video on his campaign's Facebook page, Farenthold denied a former aide's three-year-old accusations, which included that he'd subjected her to sexually suggestive comments and behavior and then fired her after she complained. But he apologized for an office atmosphere he said included "destructive gossip, offhand comments, off-color jokes and behavior that in general was less than professional."
Feds: Oklahoma man kept stepdaughter captive for 19 years MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) - A federal grand jury in Oklahoma has indicted a 63-year-old man accused of kidnapping his stepdaughter and holding her captive for 19 years in Mexico and elsewhere, during which time he fathered her nine children. An indictment handed up in Muskogee on Wednesday accuses Henri Michelle Piette of kidnapping Rosalynn Michelle McGinnis in 1995 or 1996 and traveling with the intent to have sex with her. An FBI agent says in an affidavit that Piette first had sex with McGinnis at an eastern Oklahoma home when she was 11 or 12. McGinnis, now 33, managed to escape from Piette last year in Mexico, where they were living, and she went to the U.S.
Detroit breaks ground on tallest tower, symbol of resurgence DETROIT (AP) - An 800-foot-tall (244-meter) centerpiece is coming to Detroit's resurgent downtown as the city continues to build momentum about three years after exiting the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. The 58-story building dominating the local skyline will rise on the site of the iconic J.L. Hudson department store, whose 1983 closing epitomized Detroit's economic downfall. "When we lost Hudson's it symbolized how far Detroit had fallen," Bedrock Detroit real estate founder Dan Gilbert said Thursday during a ceremonial groundbreaking for the new building. "When it was imploded in 1998 it was a very sad day for a lot of people." But the bad times for downtown appear to be largely over.
Disney buying large part of 21st Century Fox in $52.4B deal NEW YORK (AP) - Disney is buying the Murdoch family's Fox movie and television studios and some cable and international TV businesses for about $52.4 billion, as the home of Mickey Mouse tries to meet competition from technology companies in the entertainment business. Disney's all-stock deal for 21st Century Fox gives it the studios that produce the Avatar movies, "The Simpsons" and "Modern Family," though Murdoch will form a new company to keep the U.S. television networks, including Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network and Fox Broadcasting. "The Simpsons" will continue to air on Murdoch's Fox stations. The deal also brings Marvel characters such as X-Men and The Avengers under one roof - Disney's.
No jail for fertility doctor who lied about using own sperm INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - A retired Indianapolis fertility doctor accused of inseminating patients with his own sperm will serve no jail time after pleading guilty Thursday to charges that he lied to investigators. A Marion County judge gave Dr. Donald Cline a one-year suspended sentence, but ruled his actions justified him having a felony criminal record. The 79-year-old doctor had pleaded guilty to two counts of obstruction of justice and faced up to three years in prison on each charge. Some of the now-adult children of Cline's former patients filed a complaint with the Indiana attorney general's office in 2014 after they became suspicious that Cline had inseminated some of his patients with his own sperm.
Decade since recession: Thriving cities leave others behind As the nation's economy was still reeling from the body blow of the Great Recession, Seattle's was about to take off. In 2010, Amazon opened a headquarters in the little-known South Lake Union district - and then expanded eight-fold over the next seven years to fill 36 buildings. Everywhere you look, there are signs of a thriving city: Building cranes looming over streets, hotels crammed with business travelers, tony restaurants filled with diners. Seattle is among a fistful of cities that have flourished in the 10 years since the Great Recession officially began in December 2007, even while most other large cities - and sizable swaths of rural America - have managed only modest recoveries.