Tag Archives: Government regulations

US speeds cases of translators, others blocked by travel ban

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President Donald Trump’s administration has agreed to speed up the immigration cases of some former interpreters for the U.S. military in Iraq

SEATTLE —
President Donald Trump’s administration has agreed to speed up the cases of some former interpreters for the U.S. military in Iraq and hundreds of other refugees whose efforts to move to the United States have been in limbo since he announced his travel bans three years ago.

The news was contained in a settlement filed in federal court in Seattle on Monday. It concerned more than 300 refugees who were on the verge of being permitted to come to America in 2017 when their applications were halted as part of Trump’s efforts to restrict travel from several mostly Muslim nations.

Some of those affected are close relatives of refugees who are already in the U.S., while others are from 11 countries, including Egypt, Iran and Somalia, that Trump singled out, citing security reasons.

“The government tried to keep refugee families apart under the pretense of national security,” said Lisa Nowlin, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, which sued along with several other organizations. “This settlement aims to undo the harmful effects of the illegal and misguided ban on refugees.”

The restrictions on refugees from the 11 countries and on relatives of those already in the U.S. — known as “follow-to-join” refugees — were companion measures to Trump’s broader travel bans on those seeking visas to enter the U.S., which the Supreme Court eventually allowed.

U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle — the same judge who blocked Trump’s initial, broader travel ban in early 2017 — blocked the companion refugee restrictions late that year in consolidated lawsuits that were brought by the ACLU, Jewish Family Services, International Refugee Assistance Project and other organizations. They alleged that the refugee bans were discriminatory and arbitrary and that they violated due process rights.

By the time Robart agreed to block the bans, hundreds of refugees had their cases upended, leaving them in administrative limbo. For many, background checks, medical clearances or other required documentation had expired by the time the bans were revoked. That meant they had to begin the process over again.

The plaintiffs included former interpreters for the U.S. military in Iraq, who sued under pseudonyms because they could face threats if their identities became public. Others were refugees who had petitioned to have their spouses and children join them in the U.S. from camps in Kenya, Uganda and elsewhere.

One plaintiff, Allen Vaught, a war veteran from Dallas, said the refugee ban “derailed efforts to get my last surviving Iraqi translator, who served bravely alongside U.S. military forces for many years, to the United States.”

Under the settlement, the refugees won’t automatically be admitted to the U.S., but the government agreed to move their cases to the front of the line for processing.

“What the administration did really messed up their cases,” said Mariko Hirose, litigation director of the New York-based International Refugee Assistance Project. “This settlement is aimed at making sure that people who were affected by the ban are able to get their cases adjudicated and hopefully come to the U.S. very quickly.”

The 11 countries were Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, the Republic of South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

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FDA crackdown on vaping flavors has blind spot: disposables

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WASHINGTON —
The U.S. government on Thursday began enforcing restrictions on flavored electronic cigarettes aimed at curbing underage vaping. But some teenagers may be one step ahead of the rules.

Parents, researchers and students warn that some young people have already moved on to a newer kind of vape that isn’t covered by the flavor ban.

These disposable e-cigarettes are sold under brands like Puff Bar, Stig and Fogg in flavors such as pink lemonade, blueberry ice and tropical mango.

The Food and Drug Administration’s crackdown narrowly targets reusable vaping devices like Juul, the blockbuster brand that helped trigger the teen vaping craze in the U.S. Under the new policy, only menthol and tobacco flavors are allowed for those devices.

Critics of the FDA policy fear teens will simply switch to the cheaper disposables, which are widely available at convenience stores and gas stations.

“They are very accessible and seem to be the new buzzy product,” said Dr. Karen Wilson, a tobacco researcher and pediatrician at Mount Sinai’s medical school in New York.

The FDA confirmed that the flavor restriction won’t apply to “self-contained, disposable products,” but only to rechargeable ones that use pods or cartridges prefilled with a nicotine solution.

The agency’s rationale: Reusable vaping devices are far and away the most popular with underage users, preferred by more than 60% of high schoolers who vape, according to survey data collected last year.

The FDA’s top tobacco regulator said it can still go after any vaping product that appeals to teenagers.

“If we see a product that is targeted to kids, we will take action,” Mitch Zeller, who heads the agency’s tobacco center, said in a statement.

Thursday was the deadline for makers of reusable e-cigarettes to stop selling fruity and candy flavors. Juul was already in compliance. It dropped its best selling mint and most other flavors before the ban was announced in early January and only sells tobacco and menthol.

At a congressional hearing Wednesday, the CEO of Fontem U.S., which makes blu vapes, was pressed to drop its vivid vanilla and cherry crush disposable e-cigarettes.

Fontem chief Antoine Blonde countered that its customers are adults, not children. Less than 3% of high school students who vape reported blu as their preferred brand, according to 2019 government data.

“We’re not aware of any issue caused by our disposable flavors,” Blonde said.

Sales of disposable e-cigarettes and all other tobacco and vaping products are prohibited to teenagers under the government’s new age limit, which went from 18 to 21 late last year.

High school student Philip Fuhrman says most of his New York classmates who vape have ditched Juul for disposables like Stig, a tiny e-cigarette sold in flavors like mighty mint and mango bomb.

They’re easier to hide because “they’re smaller and when you’re done you can just throw it away,” said the 16-year-old Fuhrman, who says he no longer vapes. He’s now an anti-vaping activist and his mother is one of the founders of a parents’ group opposed to youth vaping.

At $20 for a three-pack, Stig may not seem cheap. But Fuhrman and other teens say it’s a smaller investment than the $40 or $50 needed to buy a Juul device and a four-pack of pods. Furhman says teens will instead buy a pack of Stigs “for the weekend and then just be done with it.”

The makers of Stig, Puff Bar and Fogg disposables did not respond to requests for comment.

Analysts report that disposables are still just 5% of the nearly $15 billion global vaping market, according to the firm ECigIntelligence.

Researchers who study e-cigarette trash around high schools say they have noticed a shift in what teens are vaping. Jeremiah Mock, of the University of California, San Francisco, has been finding discarded Puff Bars in local school parking lots over the last three months.

Vape shop owners also say the market is changing.

Since the FDA announcement, distributors and manufacturers have ramped up their disposable offerings, according to Vapewerks owner Jeremy Gardner in Cumberland, Maryland.

“How do disposables get a free pass when they’re essentially the same thing as a Juul or anything else that comes with a prefilled pod?” he asked.

Gardner doesn’t stock his most requested brand, Puff Bar, but sells a rival disposable. Most of his business comes from larger, tank-based vapes, which are more popular with adults and allow users to customize flavors and nicotine concentrations. Those products are exempt from government flavor restrictions.

E-cigarettes, which heat a nicotine solution into a vapor, are often promoted as a less harmful alternative to traditional cigarettes but the FDA has not approved any vaping product to help smokers quit. The makers of all vaping products face a May deadline to submit applications for government health and safety review.

Mike Chang, owner of Master Piece Smoke Shop in New York City, says most of his customers who buy disposables switched from Juul after the company pulled its mint, mango and dessert flavors last fall. The company took that voluntary step under pressure from multiple federal investigations and lawsuits from state and local authorities.

The San Francisco company’s retail sales have fallen 35% since their peak last July, driven by the loss of flavors, according to Wall Street research firm Piper Sandler. Juul does not sell disposable e-cigarettes.

In a government survey last year, more than 1 in 4 high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the prior month. The next federal study begins this spring.

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AP videojournalist Marshall Ritzel in New York contributed to this report.

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Follow Matthew Perrone on Twitter: @AP—FDAwriter

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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News flash from Florida legislators: Telegraph era is over

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Florida lawmakers are transmitting a news bulletin: The telegraph era is over

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. —
Florida lawmakers are transmitting a news bulletin: The telegraph era is over.

Before there was instant messaging, emails and even corded telephones, there was the reliable telegraph to instantaneously transmit messages far and wide. Now, people turn to the internet, text messaging, Twitter, gifs and emojis to write their long-distance notes.

While thumbing through a volume of Florida laws, state Rep. Tommy Gregory and a colleague came upon old statutes regulating the telegraph industry.

“I wondered if they were now obsolete,” said Gregory, a former lieutenant colonel in the Air Force.

“We probably haven’t sent a telegraph in the state of Florida in more than a decade,” Gregory said in an interview. Indeed, it’s anybody’s guess when that final Florida missive might have been tapped into the ether. Western Union, once a leading telegraph service provider, sent out its last telegram on Jan. 27, 2006.

Gregory considered the statutes useless in today’s era of smartphones and emails, and he moved to rip the laws out of the state’s books.

A state House committee on Wednesday agreed unanimously to repeal Chapter 363 of the Florida Statute in its entirety. One lawmaker cheekily registered his vote by using his fingers to tap into the dais as if using Morse Code.

Back in its day, the telegraph was cutting-edge technology. Until Samuel Morse invented his eponymous code and sent out the first message by telegraph in 1844, the Pony Express was still the speediest way to get a message from coast to coast.

“WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT?” the first telegraph message asked.

For starters, fax machines, Twitter and Facebook.

Telegram companies were once common. During America’s wars, a telegram arriving at a family’s door was a thing to be dreaded, perhaps containing the news of a beloved service member’s death. Air travel and interstate highways later made mail delivery faster and cheaper. Then the corded telephone became ubiquitous. Fax machines also became common. More recently, email and the Internet allowed for instantaneous messaging.

These days, smartphones have become the go-to communications tool.

The Florida law was adopted more than a century ago and remained mostly unchanged since 1913.

It established penalties against telegraph companies that refused to transmit messages, making them liable for damages for mental anguish and physical suffering because of their failure to promptly and correctly transmit or deliver a telegram.

Based on their research, staffers concluded that “the provisions of chapter 363, F.S., are outdated and no longer applicable.”

Gregory, an anti-red tape Republican, said the matter might not be urgent, but not necessarily a trivial exercise.

“This is not health care. Right. This is not an in-depth and complex legislation,” he said.

“But I think we need to reduce the footprint of government.”

(STOP)

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Dank, the model that is not, scrutinized amid vaping sickness

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It is a extensively identified vaping cartridge within the marijuana economic system, however it’s not a licensed model. And it is received the form of market buzz no professional firm would need.

The vaping cartridges that go by the catchy, one-syllable title “Dank” — a slang phrase for extremely potent hashish — are figuring prominently within the federal investigation to find out what has brought on a rash of mysterious and generally deadly lung sicknesses apparently linked to vaping. Many of the circumstances have concerned merchandise that comprise the marijuana compound THC, usually obtained from unlawful sources.

The suspect Dank vapes are a well-known product within the underground marijuana economic system — it isn’t a authorized, examined model. It is merely a reputation on a field or a cartridge, packaging that is simply obtained on-line and utilized by illicit producers to lure clients.

However with colourful packing containers and names like Cherry Kush and Blue Dream, the selfmade vapes seem convincing on the shelf.

“It would not look very totally different from what you should purchase in a (authorized) dispensary,” mentioned Beverly Hills-based hashish legal professional Allison Margolin.

Up to now, investigators haven’t recognized a perpetrator within the sicknesses reported in dozens of states. However officers say sufferers have talked about the Dank title incessantly. Lots of the individuals who received sick in Illinois and Wisconsin, for instance, mentioned they used cartridges bought in Dank packaging.

The uncooked supplies to provide a Dank vape aren’t arduous to search out: Prepared-to-fill Dank packing containers and cartridges might be ordered from Chinese language web websites for pennies apiece. A Craigslist put up final week provided a field full of empty Dank packages for $16. And you should purchase the packing containers and empty cartridges in retailers in downtown Los Angeles.

A rogue producer provides hashish oil — nearly definitely untested — and it is prepared on the market.

“It is a generic product title that does not actually tie again to at least one retailer or one distributor,” Dr. Jennifer Layden, chief medical officer for the Illinois Division of Public Well being, mentioned final month. “People are getting it from pals or people on the road, with no understanding of the place it got here from previous to that.”

The chief promoting level for pot vapes in Dank packaging: It is a fast excessive on a budget, accessible for as little as $20 a gram on the illicit market, roughly one-third of what a buyer would pay for a cartridge in a authorized marijuana store in California

However they arrive with danger: Merchandise within the authorized marijuana market are examined for security and purity, whereas these within the illicit market will not be and will comprise pesticides, heavy metals or different harmful contaminants.

In accordance with California information, no licensed firm is manufacturing a hashish vape carrying the Dank title them within the state.

“It was by no means a professional firm,” mentioned Los Angeles dispensary proprietor Donnie Anderson. “It was all the time an underground model.”

Given the shadowy pedigree of Dank vapes, it isn’t shocking that particulars about its historical past are scarce. In California, the Dank title seems to have emerged in the course of the largely unregulated medical hashish period, previous to broad legalization that started in 2018.

Dispensary proprietor Jerred Kiloh, who heads the Los Angeles-based United Hashish Enterprise Affiliation, recollects seeing Dank vapes for the primary time about seven years in the past. Kiloh remembers being visited by distributors promoting them at his store, although that stopped way back.

What stays is the title, which has managed to retain a shocking cachet within the underground business.

Final month, Wisconsin authorities uncovered an unlawful vaping-cartridge operation that they mentioned was producing 1000’s of cartridges loaded with THC oil on daily basis for nearly two years. Images launched by the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Division confirmed neatly stacked Dank packing containers and cartridges, apparently prepared for cargo.

Additionally final month, Minnesota authorities seized practically 77,000 THC vaping cartridges, a few of which have been packaged in Dank packing containers.

In November 2018, authorities in Lorain County, Ohio, intercepted 4 packages mailed from California holding individually wrapped and sealed packages of Dank cartridges. They believed quite a few related packages have been despatched to the world beforehand.

“Dank Vapes seems to be probably the most outstanding in a category of largely counterfeit manufacturers, with frequent packaging that’s simply accessible on-line and that’s utilized by distributors to market THC-containing cartridges with no apparent centralized manufacturing or distribution,” mentioned a report by Illinois and Wisconsin officers, and from the federal Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

Docs say the sicknesses resemble an inhalation harm. Signs have included shortness of breath, fatigue, chest ache, diarrhea and vomiting.

Ron Gershoni, co-founder of vape producer Jetty Extracts who sits on the board of the California Hashish Producers Affiliation, mentioned the strictly regulated authorized business has been working to differentiate itself from the underground market that continues to thrive in California.

His firm would not view Dank vapes as a competitor, however he understands how the title has survived within the unlawful market.

They “primarily promote empty packaging, and anybody can fill it,” he mentioned. “It is a enterprise mannequin that made sense. Anyone who needed to make a buck.”

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Blood is a member of AP’s marijuana beat group. Observe the AP’s full marijuana protection: https://apnews.com/Marijuana

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Dank, the model that is not, scrutinized amid vaping sickness

[ad_1]

It is a broadly identified vaping cartridge within the marijuana financial system, but it surely’s not a licensed model. And it is received the sort of market buzz no respectable firm would need.

The vaping cartridges that go by the catchy, one-syllable identify “Dank” — a slang phrase for extremely potent hashish — are figuring prominently within the federal investigation to find out what has brought about a rash of mysterious and generally deadly lung sicknesses apparently linked to vaping. Many of the instances have concerned merchandise that comprise the marijuana compound THC, usually obtained from unlawful sources.

The suspect Dank vapes are a well-known product within the underground marijuana financial system — it isn’t a authorized, examined model. It is merely a reputation on a field or a cartridge, packaging that is simply obtained on-line and utilized by illicit producers to lure prospects.

However with colourful containers and names like Cherry Kush and Blue Dream, the do-it-yourself vapes seem convincing on the shelf.

“It would not look very completely different from what you should buy in a (authorized) dispensary,” stated Beverly Hills-based hashish lawyer Allison Margolin.

Thus far, investigators haven’t recognized a wrongdoer within the sicknesses reported in dozens of states. However officers say sufferers have talked about the Dank identify ceaselessly. Most of the individuals who received sick in Illinois and Wisconsin, for instance, stated they used cartridges bought in Dank packaging.

The uncooked supplies to provide a Dank vape aren’t laborious to seek out: Prepared-to-fill Dank containers and cartridges will be ordered from Chinese language web websites for pennies apiece. A Craigslist put up final week supplied a field full of empty Dank packages for $16. And you should buy the containers and empty cartridges in outlets in downtown Los Angeles.

A rogue producer provides hashish oil — nearly actually untested — and it is prepared on the market.

“It is a generic product identify that does not actually tie again to at least one retailer or one distributor,” Dr. Jennifer Layden, chief medical officer for the Illinois Division of Public Well being, stated final month. “Of us are getting it from mates or of us on the road, with no understanding of the place it got here from previous to that.”

The chief promoting level for pot vapes in Dank packaging: It is a fast excessive on a budget, obtainable for as little as $20 a gram on the illicit market, roughly one-third of what a buyer would pay for a cartridge in a authorized marijuana store in California

However they arrive with threat: Merchandise within the authorized marijuana market are examined for security and purity, whereas these within the illicit market are usually not and will comprise pesticides, heavy metals or different harmful contaminants.

In accordance with California data, no licensed firm is manufacturing a hashish vape carrying the Dank identify them within the state.

“It was by no means a respectable firm,” stated Los Angeles dispensary proprietor Donnie Anderson. “It was all the time an underground model.”

Given the shadowy pedigree of Dank vapes, it isn’t shocking that particulars about its historical past are scarce. In California, the Dank identify seems to have emerged through the largely unregulated medical hashish period, previous to broad legalization that started in 2018.

Dispensary proprietor Jerred Kiloh, who heads the Los Angeles-based United Hashish Enterprise Affiliation, recollects seeing Dank vapes for the primary time about seven years in the past. Kiloh remembers being visited by distributors promoting them at his store, although that stopped way back.

What stays is the identify, which has managed to retain a shocking cachet within the underground business.

Final month, Wisconsin authorities uncovered an unlawful vaping-cartridge operation that they stated was producing hundreds of cartridges loaded with THC oil day by day for nearly two years. Pictures launched by the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Division confirmed neatly stacked Dank containers and cartridges, apparently prepared for cargo.

Additionally final month, Minnesota authorities seized almost 77,000 THC vaping cartridges, a few of which have been packaged in Dank containers.

In November 2018, authorities in Lorain County, Ohio, intercepted 4 packages mailed from California holding individually wrapped and sealed packages of Dank cartridges. They believed quite a few related packages have been despatched to the realm beforehand.

“Dank Vapes seems to be probably the most distinguished in a category of largely counterfeit manufacturers, with frequent packaging that’s simply obtainable on-line and that’s utilized by distributors to market THC-containing cartridges with no apparent centralized manufacturing or distribution,” stated a report by Illinois and Wisconsin officers, and from the federal Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

Medical doctors say the sicknesses resemble an inhalation harm. Signs have included shortness of breath, fatigue, chest ache, diarrhea and vomiting.

Ron Gershoni, co-founder of vape producer Jetty Extracts who sits on the board of the California Hashish Producers Affiliation, stated the strictly regulated authorized business has been working to tell apart itself from the underground market that continues to thrive in California.

His firm would not view Dank vapes as a competitor, however he understands how the identify has survived within the unlawful market.

They “primarily promote empty packaging, and anybody can fill it,” he stated. “It is a enterprise mannequin that made sense. Anyone who wished to make a buck.”

———

Blood is a member of AP’s marijuana beat group. Comply with the AP’s full marijuana protection: https://apnews.com/Marijuana

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Japanese officers cautious on prospects for US commerce deal

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Officers in Japan appeared cautious over the prospects for a commerce cope with the U.S. after President Donald Trump mentioned he was ready to signal a pact quickly.

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Japan’s chief authorities spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, mentioned Tuesday that the 2 sides are nonetheless finalizing particulars after reaching a primary settlement in late August on commerce in farm merchandise, digital commerce and different industries.

Suga mentioned Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are contemplating signing a deal in late September after they attend the U.N. Normal Meeting in New York.

“We’re accelerating the work that also stays,” he mentioned. “However I decline to remark additional as a result of now we have not reached a proper settlement.”

Trump’s discover to Congress, launched by the White Home on Monday, didn’t point out tariffs on autos and elements, lengthy a sticking level between the 2 nations.

It mentioned his administration was wanting ahead to collaborating with lawmakers on a deal that will lead to “extra honest and reciprocal commerce” between the 2 nations.

Toshimitsu Motegi, who turned overseas minister final week after negotiating the deal as financial system minister, mentioned Japan should watch fastidiously to forestall Washington from forcing any last-minute adjustments, Kyodo Information company reported.

The agricultural minister, Taku Eto, cautioned towards letting down Tokyo’s guard till the ultimate settlement is reached, it mentioned.

A protracted-sought commerce settlement with Japan was scrapped when Trump withdrew the U.S. from a pan-Pacific commerce settlement shortly after taking workplace in 2017.

Japan and the opposite 10 remaining members of the commerce pact, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, then renegotiated their very own deal with out the U.S.

Trump mentioned he most popular that Washington and Tokyo strike a bilateral deal.

That resurrected the longtime concern of tariffs on Japanese automotive and auto elements exports to the U.S. and of stiffer duties on U.S. exports of farm and different merchandise to Japan.

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Company may maintain Three Mile Island nuclear particles in Idaho

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The partially melted reactor core from the worst nuclear accident in U.S. historical past may stay in Idaho for an additional 20 years if regulators finalize a license extension sought by the U.S. Vitality Division, officers mentioned Monday.

The core from Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania partially melted in 1979, an occasion that modified the way in which Individuals view nuclear expertise.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Fee has decided there can be no important affect from extending the license to retailer the core on the 890-square-mile (2,305-square-kilometer) web site that features Idaho Nationwide Laboratory.

“No important radiological or non-radiological impacts are anticipated from continued regular operations,” the fee mentioned about its discovering.

The company would even have to finish a security analysis report earlier than renewing the license. Fee spokesman David McIntyre mentioned that can probably occur within the subsequent a number of days.

Holly Harris, govt director of the Idaho-based nuclear watchdog group Snake River Alliance, wasn’t instantly out there to remark.

The Vitality Division web site sits atop the Jap Snake Plain Aquifer, a Lake Erie-size underground physique of water that provides cities and farms within the area with water.

The brand new license can be good by means of 2039, 4 years previous a deadline the Vitality Division initially set with Idaho to take away the radioactive waste.

State and federal officers say the waste may nonetheless be shipped out of Idaho forward of the 2035 deadline and wouldn’t have an effect on the 1995 settlement that accommodates penalties for missed deadlines.

Idaho is already fining the Vitality Division for lacking a deadline involving radioactive liquid waste saved on the web site.

It isn’t clear the place the Three Mile Island waste could possibly be moved, because the U.S. would not have a delegated repository.

The U.S. Vitality Data Administration says there’s some 77,000 tons (70,000 metric tons) of spent nuclear gasoline saved at business nuclear websites across the nation as a result of there is no place else to place it.

The Division of Vitality mentioned no further materials can be added to the waste storage web site in Idaho.

The earlier license expired in March. It mentioned the utmost quantity of Three Mile Island particles that could possibly be saved on the Idaho web site was 183,000 kilos (83,000 kilograms) of broken nuclear gasoline assemblies and 308,000 kilos (140,000 kilograms) of fabric faraway from the reactor vessel.

Court docket battles between Idaho and the federal authorities culminated with the 1995 settlement requiring the Vitality Division to wash up the Idaho web site in addition to stop the world from changing into the nation’s nuclear waste dump.

Exelon Technology, the corporate that owns the remaining nuclear energy plant at Three Mile Island, has mentioned it should shut down the power by the top of this month.

The corporate blamed financial challenges and what it mentioned are market flaws that fail to acknowledge the worth of nuclear crops.

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Lawmakers ask four large tech firms for paperwork in probe

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Lawmakers investigating the market dominance of Huge Tech on Friday requested Google, Fb, Amazon and Apple for a broad vary of paperwork, marking a step ahead in Congress’ bipartisan probe of the businesses.

Letters went out to the 4 firms from the leaders of the Home Judiciary Committee and its subcommittee on antitrust, which has been conducting a sweeping investigation of the businesses and their affect on competitors and customers. The lawmakers are in search of an in depth and broad vary of paperwork associated to the businesses’ sprawling operations, together with high executives’ inner communications.

The transfer comes as scrutiny of the massive tech firms deepens and widens throughout the federal authorities and U.S. states and overseas. The Justice Division and the Federal Commerce Fee are conducting competitors investigations of the businesses, and state attorneys normal from each main political events have opened antitrust investigations of Google and Fb. The probe of Google has drawn participation by 50 states and territories.

“We’ve got to behave if we see that they are breaking the regulation,” Rohit Chopra, one of many FTC commissioners, stated Friday in an interview on CNBC. Chopra, a Democrat, would not affirm particularly names of firms that might be below investigation, however he stated the company is consulting intently with the Justice Division and the state attorneys normal as their work proceeds.

Additionally Friday, the European Union’s highly effective competitors chief indicated that she’s increasing rules on private knowledge, dropping an preliminary trace about how she plans to make use of new powers towards tech firms. Margrethe Vestager stated that whereas Europeans have management over their very own knowledge by the EU’s world-leading knowledge privateness guidelines, they do not tackle issues stemming from the way in which firms use different individuals’s knowledge “to attract conclusions about me or to undermine democracy.”

The bipartisan accord marking the Judiciary antitrust inquiry contrasts with the bitter divide within the panel over the difficulty of impeachment of President Donald Trump. Republicans denounced the committee Democrats’ approval Thursday of floor guidelines for hearings, which set the stage to launch an impeachment investigation.

“Democrats adopted the yellow brick street, and now they’re absolutely misplaced in Impeachment Oz,” stated Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the committee’s senior Republican.

The lawmakers set an Oct. 14 deadline for the tech firms to offer the paperwork.

Spokesmen for Fb, Apple and Amazon did not reply to requests for remark Friday. Google referred to a latest weblog submit by its senior vice chairman for world affairs, Kent Walker, saying the corporate is anticipating further questions from investigations and that “We’ve got all the time labored constructively with regulators and we’ll proceed to take action.”

The businesses have stated they’re going to cooperate absolutely with the congressional investigation.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., stated the paperwork will assist the committee perceive “whether or not they’re utilizing their market energy in ways in which have harmed customers and competitors and the way Congress ought to reply.”

The letters went to the 4 firms’ CEOs: Larry Web page of Google’s dad or mum firm Alphabet Inc.; Mark Zuckerberg of Fb; Jeff Bezos of Amazon; and Tim Cook dinner of Apple. They had been signed by Nadler and Collins; Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., who heads the antitrust subcommittee main the investigation; and Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, the subcommittee’s senior Republican.

Cicilline has stated Congress and antitrust regulators wrongly allowed the massive tech firms to manage themselves, enabling them to function uncontrolled, dominating the web and choking off on-line innovation and entrepreneurship. He has urged legislative modifications could also be wanted, although he has known as breaking apart the businesses a final resort.

At a listening to of the antitrust panel in July, executives of the 4 firms pushed again towards lawmakers’ accusations that they function as monopolies, laying out methods wherein they are saying they compete pretty but vigorously towards rivals within the market.

Cicilline stated he was dissatisfied with the solutions the executives gave to lawmakers’ questions, calling their testimony “evasive.”

The letter to Fb requests a breakdown of firm earnings since 2016 on its high merchandise — together with Fb Adverts, Instagram and WhatsApp. It additionally seeks communications from Zuckerberg and different high executives associated to a California courtroom case wherein plaintiffs accuse the corporate of deceptively crushing hundreds of apps in 2015 whose companies had relied on their platform. Amongst different inner communications the letter seeks are these associated to 6 messaging, video- and photo-sharing apps particularly that Fb reduce off.

The lawmakers are in search of Fb executives’ emails on the choice to disclaim any particular apps or classes of apps entry to Fb knowledge about or shared by customers. This can be a concern as a result of critics say the corporate deliberately walled itself off from different on-line apps, enabling it to amass almost 2.5 billion customers with no clear competitor.

The letter to Alphabet seeks detailed monetary data and names of main rivals for Google’s huge operations, together with search, video service YouTube, the Android cellphone working system and Gmail. Inside communications the lawmakers are in search of embody these associated to Google’s 2007 acquisition of internet advertising firm DoubleClick — which critics usually level to as pivotal to Google’s promoting dominance.

For Amazon, the lawmakers search monetary knowledge and competitor names for Amazon Internet Companies, sensible audio system Alexa and Echo, Amazon Prime, Entire Meals and different properties, in addition to on its on-line retail, on-demand film and music streaming, digital promoting and cloud computing operations. A 2018 settlement with Apple to promote Apple merchandise on Amazon and to restrict the resellers that may promote Apple merchandise on Amazon is among the many selections being examined.

Monetary data and rivals are hunted for Apple’s App Retailer, iPhone, iPad, Mac, Siri, Apple Pay, Apple TV and Apple Watch. The lawmakers are enthusiastic about Apple’s determination to take away from the App Retailer or to impose restrictions on some screen-time and parental-control apps, and on the App Retailer algorithm that determines the ranked order of search apps on the positioning, amongst different areas.

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AP Know-how Author Frank Bajak in Boston contributed to this report.

Comply with Gordon on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mgordonap



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New York strikes to enact statewide flavored e-cig ban

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing to enact a statewide ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes amid rising well being issues linked to vaping, particularly amongst younger folks.

The Democrat introduced Sunday that the state well being commissioner can be making a advice this week to the state Public Well being and Well being Planning Council. The council can challenge emergency laws that might go into impact as quickly as they’re voted on and begin being enforced in as quickly as two weeks, following a brief grace interval for retailers, officers mentioned.

In asserting the motion, Cuomo sharply criticized the flavors which can be on the market, like bubble gum and cotton sweet.

“These are clearly focused to younger folks and extremely efficient at concentrating on younger folks,” he mentioned.

The largest participant within the trade, Juul Labs Inc., mentioned it was reviewing the announcement, however agreed with the necessity for motion.

The ban wouldn’t impression tobacco- and menthol-flavored e-cigarettes, however Cuomo mentioned the Division of Well being would proceed evaluating and that might change.

Cuomo signed laws earlier this 12 months elevating the statewide smoking age to 21, and earlier this month signed a mandate that requires state anti-tobacco campaigns to additionally embrace vaping.

Vaping can also be beneath a federal highlight , as well being authorities look into lots of of respiratory sicknesses reported in individuals who have used e-cigarettes and different vaping units.

In his first public feedback on vaping, President Donald Trump proposed the same federal ban final week.

The FDA has been in a position to ban vaping flavors since 2016, however hasn’t taken the step, with officers wanting into whether or not flavors may assist cigarette people who smoke to give up.

The worldwide market is estimated to have a price of as a lot as $11 billion. The trade has spent some huge cash in states across the nation to foyer towards state-level flavored e-cigarette bans, in states together with Hawaii, California, Maine and Connecticut.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer earlier this month ordered that state’s well being division to come back out with emergency guidelines to ban flavored e-cigarette gross sales.

Juul reiterated Sunday the agreeable stance it had taken following Trump’s proposal.

In an emailed assertion, spokesman Austin Finan mentioned, “We strongly agree with the necessity for aggressive category-wide motion on flavored merchandise,” and “will totally adjust to native legal guidelines and the ultimate FDA coverage when efficient.”

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Big Tech faces a new set of foes: nearly all 50 US states

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Big tech companies have long rebuffed attempts by the U.S. federal government to scrutinize or scale back their market power.

Now they face a new coalition of antitrust enforcers: prosecutors from nearly all 50 states.

In a rare show of bipartisan force, attorneys general from 48 states along with Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia are teaming up to open an investigation into whether Google’s huge online search and advertising business is engaging in monopolistic behavior.

The Texas-led antitrust investigation of Google was announced Monday on the steps of the Supreme Court. It follows a separate multistate investigation of Facebook’s market dominance that was revealed Friday.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, a Republican, says it’s an unprecedented effort by states to tackle an antitrust case involving the tech industry.

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