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What the FCC rollback of ‘net neutrality’ means to you

Now that the federal government has rolled back the internet protections it put in place two years ago, the big question is: What does the repeal of “net neutrality’ rules mean to you?

In the short term, the answer is simple: Not much. But over time, your ability to watch what you want to watch online and to use the apps that you prefer could start to change.

Your mobile carrier, for instance, might start offering you terrific deals for signing up to its own video service, just as your YouTube app starts suffering unexpected connection errors. Or you could wake one day to learn that your broadband provider is having a tiff with Amazon, and has slowed down its shopping site in order to extract business concessions.

All of which would be perfectly legal under the new deregulatory regime approved Thursday by the Federal Communications Commission, so long as the companies post their policies online. Broadband providers insist they won’t do anything that harms the “internet experience” for consumers.

WHAT HAPPENED

On Thursday, the FCC repealed Obama-era “net neutrality” rules, junking the longtime principle that all web traffic must be treated equally. The move represents a radical departure from more than a decade of federal oversight.

The big telecommunications companies had lobbied hard to overturn the rules, contending they are heavy-handed and discourage investment in broadband networks.

“What is the FCC doing today?” asked FCC chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican. “Quite simply, we are restoring the light-touch framework that has governed the internet for most of its existence.”

Under the new rules approved Thursday, companies like Comcast, Verizon and ATT would be free to slow down or block access to services they don’t like. They could also charge higher fees to rivals and make them pay up for higher transmission speeds, or set up “fast lanes” for their preferred services — in turn, relegating everyone else to “slow lanes.”

Those possibilities have stirred fears among consumer advocates, Democrats, many web companies and ordinary Americans afraid that the cable and phone giants will be able to control what people see and do online.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

In the near term, experts believe that providers will stay on their best behavior. In part, that’s because inevitable legal challenges to the FCC’s action will keep the spotlight on them.

Public-interest groups such as Free Press and Public Knowledge have said they’ll be involved in litigation against Pai’s rules. New York’s attorney general vowed to lead a multistate lawsuit; the attorneys general of Massachusetts and Washington state also announced plans to sue.

“The fact that Chairman Pai went through with this, a policy that is so unpopular, is somewhat shocking,” said Mark Stanley, a spokesman for the civil liberties organization Demand Progress. “Unfortunately, not surprising.”

Rep. Mike Doyle, a Pennsylvania Democrat, said he would introduce legislation to overturn the FCC’s action , restoring the previous net-neutrality rules. That move, however, could face tough opposition, given that Republicans control both houses of Congress.

ONCE THE KLIEG LIGHTS FADE

Things could be different assuming the rules survive legal and congressional challenges.

ATT senior executive vice president Bob Quinn said in a blog post that the internet “will continue to work tomorrow just as it always has.” Like other broadband providers, ATT said it won’t block websites and won’t throttle or degrade online traffic based on content.

But such things have happened before. The Associated Press in 2007 found Comcast was blocking some file-sharing services. ATT blocked Skype and other internet calling services — which competed with its voice-call business — from the iPhone until 2009.

Thursday’s rule change also eliminates certain federal consumer protections, bars state laws that contradict the FCC’s approach, and largely transfers oversight of internet service to another agency with relatively little experience in telecommunications policy, the Federal Trade Commission.

Angelo Zino, an analyst at CFRA Research, said he expects ATT and Verizon to be the biggest beneficiaries because the two internet giants can now give priority to the movies, TV shows and other videos or music they provide to viewers. That could hurt rivals such as Sling TV, Amazon, YouTube or startups yet to be born.

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/fcc-rollback-net-neutrality-means-51805807

The Latest: States warming up net-neutrality lawsuits

The Latest on the FCC’s vote on eliminating net-neutrality protections for the internet (all times local):

2:10 p.m.

State attorneys general are now threatening lawsuits against the federal government’s repeal of “net neutrality” rules.

New York’s attorney general says he’ll lead a multistate lawsuit to stop the Federal Communications Commission’s rollback of rules that guaranteed equal access to the internet. Democrat Eric Schneiderman has been investigating fake public comments submitted to the FCC during the net neutrality comment process.

Schneiderman says his analysis shows 2 million comments stole the identities of real Americans, including dead people and children.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican, said at a July FCC meeting that the raw number of comments wasn’t as important as the substance of issues raised

The Washington state attorney general has likewise vowed to sue over net neutrality.

———

1:50 p.m.

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson says he plans to file yet another lawsuit against the Trump administration: this one over net neutrality.

In a news release, Ferguson said that within days he will challenge the Federal Communications Commission’s vote Thursday to repeal Obama-era rules that guaranteed equal access to the internet. He says the agency failed to follow the Administrative Procedures Act.

Ferguson has also sued over President Donald Trump’s travel ban, religious exemptions for contraceptive coverage, and the decision to end deportation protections for those brought to the U.S. illegally as children, among other topics.

The attorney general says the FCC’s action allows internet service providers to discriminate based on content and undermines a free and open internet.

———

1:40 p.m.

Critics are questioning how the Federal Communications Commission considered its repeal of net-neutrality rules, asking if it abided by its legal obligation to review and consider the public’s comments.

The Obama-era rules aimed to guarantee equal access to the internet, curbing the power of internet providers to control where people go and what they do online.

Sean Moulton, open government program manager for the Washington-based nonprofit Project on Government Oversight, says public comments ensure that the public can “have its voice heard and considered.”

A Pew Research Center analysis of the nearly 22 million public comments on net neutrality submitted to the FCC found that the vast majority were repeats, with more than 75,000 comments submitted at the exact same second on nine different occasions — possibly indicating these were automated submissions, such as in organized bot campaigns.

The FCC received five times the number of comments it did under the Obama administration and shaved a month off its review time, completing it in four months, Moulton says.

———

1:30 p.m.

ATT and other big internet service providers are applauding the Federal Communications Commission for unraveling sweeping net-neutrality rules that guaranteed equal access to the internet.

The FCC voted 3-2 on Thursday to overturn Obama-era rules that had been designed to prevent providers such as Verizon, ATT, Comcast and Charter from favoring some sites and apps over others.

ATT Senior Executive Vice President Bob Quinn said in a blog post Thursday that “the internet will continue to work tomorrow just as it always has.” Quinn says the company won’t block websites and it won’t throttle or degrade online traffic based on content.

The providers have argued that the overhaul will allow them to invest more money in broadband infrastructure over time, though it’s not clear how their claims will be measured.

———

1:15 p.m.

The Federal Communications Commission has voted on party lines to undo sweeping Obama-era “net neutrality” rules that guaranteed equal access to internet.

The agency’s Democratic commissioners dissented in the 3-2 vote Thursday.

The FCC’s new rules could usher in big changes in how Americans use the internet. The agency got rid of rules that barred companies like Comcast, ATT and Verizon from playing favorites with internet apps and sites.

The broadband industry promises that the internet experience isn’t going to change. But protests have erupted online and in the streets as everyday Americans worry that cable and phone companies will be able to control what they see and do online.

Net-neutrality supporters plan legal challenges. Some Democrats hope to ride that wave of public opinion into the 2018 elections.

———

1:10 p.m.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican who says his plan to repeal net neutrality will eliminate unnecessary regulation, called the internet the “greatest free-market innovation in history.” He added that it “certainly wasn’t heavy-handed government regulation” that’s been responsible for the internet’s “phenomenal” development. “Quite the contrary,” he says.

“What is the FCC doing today?” he asked. “Quite simply, we are restoring the light-touch framework that has governed the internet for most of its existence.”

Broadband providers, Pai says, will have stronger incentives to build networks, especially in underserved areas. Ending 2015 net neutrality rules, he says, will lead to a “free, more open internet.”

“The sky is not falling, consumers will remain protected and the internet will continue to thrive,” Pai says.

———

1 p.m.

The FCC meeting was abruptly halted shortly before 1 p.m. during chairman Ajit Pai’s remarks and before the vote on net neutrality could take place. Pai said “on the advice of security, we need to take a brief break.”

Then the meetings’ live feed cut out. Representatives for the FCC could not immediately be reached for comment via email and phone.

Security officials evacuated the hearing room and searched it, then allowed everyone back in.

The meeting and livestream have since resumed.

———

12:15 p.m.

Michael O’Rielly, a Republican commissioner appointed by President Barack Obama, says he supports the overturning of net-neutrality rules, calling the FCC’s approach a “well-reasoned and soundly justified order.”

O’Rielly says he is not persuaded that “heavy handed” rules are needed to prevent “imaginary harm.”

The internet, he says, “has functioned without net neutrality rules for far longer than it has without them.” The decision, he says, “will not break the internet.”

Addressing criticism that the FCC’s process was tainted by a large number of fake comments, O’Rielly said the agency is “required to consider and respond to significant comments.”

Some comments, he said, to laughter in the room, “referred to me as a potato.” He clarified that these comments had also no bearing on the agency’s vote.

———

12 p.m.

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, a Democrat who was appointed by President Barack Obama, lambasted the “preordained outcome” of the vote that she says hurts people, small and large businesses, and marginalized populations. She outlined her dissent from prepared remarks before the vote.

The end of net neutrality, she says, hands over the keys to the internet to a “handful of multi-billion dollar corporations.”

With their vote, the FCC’s majority commissioners, says Clyburn, are abandoning the pledge they took to make a rapid, efficient communications service available to all people in the U.S., without discrimination.

This item, she says, “insidiously ensures the FCC will never be able to fully grasp the harm it may have unleashed on the internet ecosystem.”

———

11.45 a.m.

Protesters have gathered outside the office of the Federal Communications Commission as it plans to roll back “net neutrality” regulations.

About 60 protesters braved frigid temperatures and biting winds Thursday morning to protest the FCC’s expected decision.

The protesters want to keep Obama-era rules that are designed to prevent internet service providers like Verizon, ATT, Comcast and Charter from favoring some sites and apps over others. Those rules have been in place since 2015.

Joining the rally was Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna, a Silicon Valley congressman who says “this is an issue for the middle class” who will “get nickeled and dimed for extra email use” or downloading videos.

Service providers have argued that the dire predictions about the planned rollback are overblown.

———

12:15 a.m.

The federal government is preparing to unravel sweeping net-neutrality rules that guaranteed equal access to the internet. And advocates of the regulations are bracing for a long fight.

The Thursday vote scheduled at the Federal Communications Commission could usher in big changes in how Americans use the internet. It’s a radical departure from more than a decade of federal oversight.

The broadband industry promises that the internet experience isn’t going to change, but protests have erupted online and in the streets as everyday Americans worry that cable and phone companies will be able to control what they see and do online.

Opponents of the FCC’s move plan legal challenges. Some net-neutrality supporters hope to ride that wave of public opinion into the 2018 elections.

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/latest-clyburn-blasts-fcc-net-neutrality-repeal-51792629

FCC votes to repeal net neutrality rules

The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to reverse so-called net neutrality rules that govern how internet service providers treat content and data.

The five commissioners of the FCC voted along party lines — three Republicans to two Democrats — to roll back the rules, imposed in 2015 under President Barack Obama. The public debate over the rules has been heated at times, and Thursday’s decision came after a brief delay when, on the “advice of security,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced they needed to take a recess and the hearing room was evacuated.

Reversal supporters claimed the rules unnecessarily regulate the industry and impede the free market.

“It is not the job of the government to pick the winners and losers of the internet … We should have a level playing field,” Pai said Thursday.

Under the regulations rescinded Thursday, internet service providers were prohibited from influencing loading speeds for specific websites or apps. The vote rolled back policies that treated the internet like a utility, and it could lead to the creation of different speed lanes for websites or content creators, with higher prices for faster speeds. Critics worry that those costs could be passed along to consumers.

Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel described the vote as one that puts the FCC “on the wrong side of the American public” and said she would not “give up” on efforts to fight the reversal.

Internet service providers will have to disclose whether they engage in certain types of conduct, such as blocking and prioritization, after Thursday’s decision. They must further explicitly publicize what is throttled and what is blocked, with the information posted on an easily accessible website hosted by the company or the FCC. The measures must still be approved by the Office of Management and Budget before they take effect — a process that can take several months, according to FCC officials.

The reversal is a hallmark victory for Pai, whose 11-month tenure has seen him strongly advocate for reduced regulation. He was named FCC chairman in January by President Donald Trump, who has made no secret of his interest in reining in Obama-era business regulations.

At the White House press briefing Thursday afternoon, press secretary Sarah Sanders applauded the FCC’s efforts to undo what she termed “burdensome regulations.”

PHOTO: A supporter of net neutrality protests outside a Federal Building in Los Angeles, Nov. 28, 2017. Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images
A supporter of net neutrality protests outside a Federal Building in Los Angeles, Nov. 28, 2017.

Eighteen state attorneys general made a last ditch effort to delay the vote by claiming they uncovered more than a million public comments on the motion using fraudulent identities.

“The FCC must delay its vote until we get to the bottom of this massive fraud,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Pai ignored requests for a delay, and after the vote, Schneiderman and Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson indicated they will sue to stop the move.

An additional request to halt the vote came from Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, this week, who argued that Congress and the FCC should hold public hearings “in order to investigate the best way to ensure citizens and our economy have strong net neutrality protections that guarantee consumer choice, free markets and continued growth.”

More than 100 House Republicans sent a letter to the FCC on Wednesday applauding the agency’s plan to reverse its net neutrality rules.

Some internet service providers, including Comcast, while supporting the reversal, have promised not to throttle speeds or block websites, a pledge met with skepticism by Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.

“What they will soon have is every incentive to do their own thing,” she said in remarks before the vote. “Who is the cop on the beat who can or will stop them?”

A number of prominent technology companies voiced their opposition to the reversal as the FCC fielded public comments over the past few months. After the vote Thursday, Netflix expressed its disappointment in what it called a “misguided” decision.

ABC News’ Adam Kelsey and Lindsey Jacobson contributed to this report.

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/fcc-vote-net-neutrality-repeal/story?id=51789699

Russian nuclear plant says it emits nuclear isotope

A senior executive at the Russian nuclear processing plant suspected of being behind a spike of radioactivity over Europe this fall admitted Wednesday that the isotope recorded does emerge as part of the plant’s production cycle but said its levels are negligible.

Russian officials last month reported high levels of ruthenium-106 in areas close to the Mayak nuclear plant in the Ural Mountains.

The environmental group Greenpeace alleged that Mayak could have been the source of a ruthenium-106 leak, but the plant said it has not extracted the isotope or conducted any other operations that may lead to its release “for many years.”

But Yuri Mokrov, adviser to Mayak’s director general, said in a webcast press conference Wednesday that ruthenium-106 routinely emerges during the processing of spent nuclear fuel. Mokrov insisted, however, the plant was not the source of any major leak, saying it does not produce the isotope on purpose and that the emissions that the plant makes are so insignificant “we can only see it in the chimney.”

A Russian panel of experts dispatched to investigate the leak has failed to identify where the isotope came from, but alleged that it could have come from a satellite that came down from its orbit and disintegrated in the atmosphere. The commission said last week that a thorough inspection of the Mayak plant and its personnel had found no safety breaches.

“There is ruthenium in spent nuclear fuel, and Mayak during its activities routinely comes across this isotope,” Mokrov said, adding that “actual emissions are hundreds times lower the permitted levels.”

Mayak, in Russia’s Chelyabinsk region, saw one of the world’s worst nuclear accidents on Sept. 29, 1957, when a waste tank exploded. That contaminated 23,000 square kilometers (9,200 square miles) of territory and prompted authorities to evacuate 10,000 residents from neighboring regions.

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/russian-plant-admits-emits-nuclear-isotope-leak-51762608

As ‘net neutrality’ vote nears, some brace for a long fight

As the federal government prepares to unravel sweeping net-neutrality rules that guaranteed equal access to the internet, advocates of the regulations are bracing for a long fight.

The Thursday vote scheduled at the Federal Communications Commission could usher in big changes in how Americans use the internet, a radical departure from more than a decade of federal oversight. The proposal would not only roll back restrictions that keep broadband providers like Comcast, Verizon and ATT from blocking or collecting tolls from services they don’t like, it would bar states from imposing their own rules.

The broadband industry promises that the internet experience isn’t going to change, but its companies have lobbied hard to overturn these rules. Protests have erupted online and in the streets as everyday Americans worry that cable and phone companies will be able to control what they see and do online.

That growing public movement suggests that the FCC vote won’t be the end of the issue. Opponents of the move plan legal challenges, and some net-neutrality supporters hope to ride that wave of public opinion into the 2018 elections.

CONCERN ABOUT THE FCC PLAN

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says his plan eliminates unnecessary regulation that stood in the way of connecting more Americans to the internet. Under his proposal, the Comcasts and ATTs of the world will be free to block rival apps, slow down competing service or offer faster speeds to companies who pay up. They just have to post their policies online or tell the FCC.

The change also axes consumer protections, bars state laws that contradict the FCC’s approach, and largely transfers oversight of internet service to another agency, the Federal Trade Commission.

After the FCC released its plan in late November, well-known telecom and media analysts Craig Moffett and Michael Nathanson wrote in a note to investors that the FCC plan dismantles “virtually all of the important tenets of net neutrality itself.”

That could result in phone and cable companies forcing people to pay more to do what they want online. The technology community, meanwhile, fears that additional online tolls could hurt startups who can’t afford to pay them — and, over the long term, diminish innovation.

“We’re a small company. We’re about 40 people. We don’t have the deep pockets of Google, Netflix, Amazon to just pay off ISPs to make sure consumers can access our service,” said Andrew McCollum, CEO of streaming-TV service Philo.

TRUST YOUR INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER

Broadband providers pooh-pooh what they characterize as misinformation and irrational fears. “I genuinely look forward to the weeks, months, years ahead when none of the fire and brimstone predictions comes to pass,” said Jonathan Spalter, head of the trade group USTelecom, on a call with reporters Wednesday.

But some of these companies have suggested they could charge some internet services more to reach customers, saying it could allow for better delivery of new services like telemedicine. Comcast said Wednesday it has no plans for such agreements.

Cable and mobile providers have also been less scrupulous in the past. In 2007, for example, the Associated Press found Comcast was blocking or throttling some file-sharing. ATT blocked Skype and other internet calling services on the iPhone until 2009. They also aren’t backing away from subtler forms of discrimination that favor their own services.

There’s also a problem with the FCC’s plan to leave most complaints about deceptive behavior and privacy to the FTC. A pending court case could leave the FTC without the legal authority to oversee most big broadband providers. That could leave both agencies hamstrung if broadband companies hurt their customers or competitors.

Critics like Democratic FTC commissioner Terrell McSweeny argue that the FTC won’t be as effective in policing broadband companies as the FCC, which has expertise in the issue and has the ability to lay down hard-and-fast rules against certain practices.

PUBLIC OUTCRY

Moffett and Nathanson, the analysts, said that they suspect the latest FCC rules to be short-lived. “These changes will likely be so immensely unpopular that it would be shocking if they are allowed to stand for long,” they wrote.

There have been hundreds of public protests against Pai’s plan and more than 1 million calls to Congress through a pro-net neutrality coalition’s site. Smaller tech websites such as Reddit, Kickstarter and Mozilla put dramatic overlays on their sites Tuesday in support of net neutrality. Twitter on Wednesday was promoting #NetNeutrality as a trending topic. Other big tech companies were more muted in their support.

Public-interest groups Free Press and Public Knowledge are already promising to go after Pai’s rules in the courts. There may also be attempts to legislate net neutrality rules, which the telecom industry supports. Sen. John Thune, a South Dakota Republican, on Tuesday called for “bipartisan legislation” on net neutrality that would “enshrine protections for consumers with the backing of law.”

But that will be tough going. Democrats criticized previous Republican attempts at legislation during the Obama administration for gutting the FCC’s enforcement abilities. Republicans would likely be interested in proposing even weaker legislation now, and Democrats are unlikely to support it if so.

Some Democrats prefer litigation and want to use Republican opposition to net neutrality as a campaign issue in 2018. “Down the road Congress could act to put in place new rules, but with Republicans in charge of the House, Senate, and White House the likelihood of strong enforceable rules are small,” Rep. Mike Doyle, a Pennsylvania Democrat, wrote on Reddit last week. “Maybe after the 2018 elections, we will be in a stronger position to get that done.”

A future FCC could also rewrite net-neutrality regulation to be tougher on the phone and cable industry. That could bring a whole new cycle of litigation by broadband companies.

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/net-neutrality-vote-nears-brace-long-fight-51776364

Geminid meteor shower could be the year’s best, scientists say

Skywatchers are in for a dazzling show tonight. The annual Geminid meteor shower that will streak across the night sky will be one of the best of the year, scientists say.

The Geminid meteors are expected to peak overnight. With good weather conditions, the cosmic display can be seen between 7:30 p.m. and dawn local time. The largest number of meteors will be visible between midnight and 4 a.m. local time, according to NASA.

“With August’s Perseids obscured by bright moonlight, the Geminids will be the best shower this year,” said Bill Cooke with NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. “The thin, waning crescent Moon won’t spoil the show.”

PHOTO: The radiant Geminid meteor shower over the Carnegie Las Campanas observatory, near the Atacama desert in Chile, Dec. 14, 2015. The Milky Way and bright stars, Rigel in Orion constellation, and Sirius in Canis Major constellation, shine brightly.Yuri Beletsky/Las Campanas Observatory/Carnegie Institution
The radiant Geminid meteor shower over the Carnegie Las Campanas observatory, near the Atacama desert in Chile, Dec. 14, 2015. The Milky Way and bright stars, Rigel in Orion constellation, and Sirius in Canis Major constellation, shine brightly.

Considered one of the year’s most reliable meteor showers, the Geminids occur every December when Earth passes through a vast trail of dusty debris shed by a rocky object named 3200 Phaethon. The debris burns up when it runs into the Earth’s atmosphere in a spate of “shooting stars,” Cooke said.

The Geminid meteors are named for the constellation Gemini, from which they appear to come. They are typically bright and easy to spot without telescopes or binoculars; these meteors can be seen with the naked eye under clear, dark skies over most of the world. Though the best view is from the Northern Hemisphere, according to NASA.

PHOTO: The radiant Geminid meteor shower over the Carnegie Las Campanas observatory, south of Atacama desert, Chile. Dec. 14, 2013, taken using a long exposure. The brightest object close to center is Jupiter and Milky Way is at left.Yuri Beletsky/Las Campanas Obser
The radiant Geminid meteor shower over the Carnegie Las Campanas observatory, south of Atacama desert, Chile. Dec. 14, 2013, taken using a long exposure. The brightest object close to center is Jupiter and Milky Way is at left.

Not all of the meteors visible during the same time will belong to the Geminid shower. Some might be from weaker, active showers such as the Monocerotids, Sigma Hydrids and the Comae Berenicids, Cooke said.

“When you see a meteor, try to trace it backwards,” he said. “If you end up in the constellation Gemini, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a Geminid.”

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/geminids-meteor-shower-best-year-scientists/story?id=51764123

Greek high court to rule on Russian bitcoin suspect’s fate

Greece’s Supreme Court is due to rule whether to allow the extradition of a Russian cybercrime suspect to the United States to stand trial for allegedly laundering billions of dollars using the virtual currency bitcoin.

Alexander Vinnik appeared at the Athens court Wednesday amid an ongoing legal battle between the U.S. and Russia who are both seeking his extradition.

The 38-year-old former bitcoin platform operator denies any wrongdoing but is not contesting the Russian request on less serious charges.

He was arrested at a northern Greek holiday resort in July and a lower court has already approved his extradition to the U.S.

Greece’s justice minister is likely to ultimately decide on whether Vinnik will be sent to Russia or the U.S.

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/greek-high-court-rule-russian-bitcoin-suspects-fate-51759777

SpaceX delivery delayed few days; 1st reused rocket for NASA

SpaceX has delayed its latest grocery run for the International Space Station by at least another few days.

The company now aims to launch its first recycled rocket for NASA on Friday.

The unmanned Falcon rocket originally flew in June. The Dragon capsule made a space station shipment in 2015.

This will be the first launch in more than a year from this Florida pad, the scene of a rocket explosion in 2016. Late Tuesday, SpaceX pushed back the launch for the second day in a row, saying it needs to rid the second-stage fuel system of unwanted particles. Liftoff had been scheduled for Tuesday, then Wednesday.

If the Falcon isn’t flying by Friday, SpaceX will have to wait until late December at NASA’s request, based on sunlight restrictions on the orbiting lab.

As before, SpaceX will attempt to land the first-stage booster back at Cape Canaveral after liftoff. SpaceX chief Elon Musk is pushing to lower launch costs by reusing the most expensive rocket parts.

The Dragon holds nearly 5,000 pounds of supplies, including a barley experiment for Budweiser.

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/spacex-delivery-delayed-day-1st-reused-rocket-nasa-51739774

Paris hosts major climate summit _ and it’s all about Trump

The global climate summit in Paris was designed to bypass Donald Trump, but the U.S. president ended up playing a starring role.

Trump became the unwitting villain as world leaders, investors and other Americans assailed him Tuesday for rejecting the Paris climate accord.

To emphasize their point — and prevent others from following his lead — they announced more than $1 billion in investments to make it easier for countries and industries to give up oil and coal.

French President Emmanuel Macron used the summit to seize the global spotlight, capitalizing on Trump’s isolationist policies and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s domestic weakness to position himself as the world’s moral compass on climate change.

“We’re not moving fast enough,” Macron said, warning that the 2015 Paris climate accord is “fragile.”

“It’s time to act and move faster and win this battle” against climate change, he told the more than 50 world leaders and others gathered in Paris.

After opening the summit on a pessimistic note, Macron was more encouraging at the closing, praising the “very concrete” commitments made by the participants.

“We started today to make up some ground in this battlefield,” he said in his closing speech. Today’s commitments will be able to be tracked and verified on a dedicated platform, he added.

Bill Gates, Richard Branson and other energy executives and investment fund leaders announced a dozen international projects emerging from the summit that will inject money into efforts to curb climate change.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim won rousing applause when he announced that his agency would stop financing oil and gas projects in two years.

The summit, co-hosted by the U.N., the World Bank and Macron, was held on the second anniversary of the Paris climate accord, which was ratified by 170 countries. More than 50 heads of state and government took part.

Trump wasn’t invited, but he was ubiquitous.

One by one, officials including former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, billionaire Michael Bloomberg and former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry insisted the world will shift to cleaner fuels and reduce emissions regardless of whether the Trump administration pitches in.

Central to the summit was countering Trump’s main argument that the 2015 Paris accord on reducing global emissions would hurt U.S. business.

Macron, a 39-year-old former investment banker, argues that the big businesses and successful economies of the future will be making and using renewable energy instead of oil.

The projects announced Tuesday include a program for eight U.S. states to develop electric vehicles, an investment fund for the hurricane-hit Caribbean and money from Gates’ foundation to help farmers adapt to climate change and develop low-carbon technology.

The projects also aim to speed up the end of the combustion engine to reduce the emissions that contribute to global warming.

Activists kept up pressure with protests — including one on a bridge at the summit venue, an island in the Seine River — calling for companies and governments to stop investing in oil and coal now.

Top officials agreed with them, saying the global financial system isn’t shifting fast enough away from carbon emissions and toward renewable energy and business projects.

“Financial pledges need to flow faster through more streamlined system and make a difference on the ground,” said Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, whose island nation is among those on the front lines of the rising sea levels and extreme storms worsened by human-made emissions.

“We are all in the same canoe,” rich countries and poor, he said.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono described ways his country is investing in climate monitoring technology and hydrogen energy, but he said, “We have to do more and better.”

Bloomberg, the former New York mayor, said environmentalists owed Trump a debt of “gratitude” for acting as a “rallying cry” for action on climate change. Bloomberg said the private sector coalition called “America’s Pledge,” that promises to honor the climate goals set in 2015, “now represents half of the U.S. economy.”

Brown, the California governor, argued against Trump’s plans to resurrect coal mining and said “it’s time for President Trump to join the rest of the world, not oppose it” on climate change.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Brown cited recent wildfires in his state as an example of extreme weather worsened by human-made climate change.

On Monday, Macron awarded 18 climate scientists — most of them based in the U.S. — multimillion-euro grants to relocate to France for the rest of Trump’s term.

Merkel, who was once labeled the “climate chancellor” for her efforts to curb global warming, faced criticism in Germany for failing to attend the summit.

In the Dutch city of The Hague, experts launched a plan Tuesday aimed at addressing threats created by water and food shortages.

———

Associated Press writers Angela Charlton, Sylvie Corbet, Jeffrey Schaeffer and Masha Macpherson in Paris and Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed.

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/world-leaders-high-security-paris-climate-summit-51733072

World leaders, high security at Paris climate summit

More than 50 world leaders are joining bankers, energy magnates and others Tuesday in Paris for a summit that President Emmanuel Macron hopes will give new momentum to the fight against global warming — despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s rejection of the Paris climate accord.

Sean Penn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Gates and Elon Musk are among prominent figures joining the world leaders at the summit, where participants are expected to announce billions of dollars’ worth of projects to help poor countries and industries reduce emissions.

Activists kept up pressure with a protest in the shadow of the domed Pantheon monument calling for an end to all investment in oil, gas and resource mining.

That wasn’t far from the message from top officials opening the summit: They agreed that the global financial system isn’t shifting fast enough away from carbon emissions and toward energy and business projects that don’t aggravate climate change.

“Financial pledges need to flow faster through more streamlined system and make a difference on the ground,” said Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, whose island nation is among those on the front lines of the rising sea levels and extreme storms worsened by human-made emissions.

“We are all in the same canoe,” rich countries and poor, he said.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono described ways Japan is investing in climate monitoring technology and hydrogen energy, but said “we have to do more and better.”

Some 3,100 security personnel are fanned out around Paris for Tuesday’s event, including extra patrol boats along the Seine River. Macron will accompany the visiting leaders to the summit site on a river island by boat.

Macron, who’s also using the event to raise his international profile, did not invite Trump.

On Monday, Macron awarded 18 climate scientists — most of them based in the U.S. — multimillion-euro grants to relocate to France for the rest of Trump’s term. Trump has expressed skepticism about global warming and said the Paris accord would hurt U.S. business.

The “Make Our Planet Great Again” grants — a nod to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan — are part of Macron’s efforts to counter Trump on the climate change front. Macron announced a contest for the projects in June, hours after Trump declared he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord.

The summit, co-hosted by the U.N., World Bank and Macron, is being held on the second anniversary of the Paris climate accord, ratified by 170 countries.

Germany’s Angela Merkel, who was once labeled the ‘climate chancellor’ for her efforts to curb global warming, has faced domestic criticism for failing to attend the summit.

Annalena Baerbock, a spokeswoman on climate issues for the opposition Green party, said Tuesday that Macron appeared to be overtaking Merkel as Europe’s leading lobbyist on climate issues.

“I think that’s not a good sign,” Baerbock told public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk. She said Germany had lost international credibility on the issue by allowing its carbon emissions to stagnate over the past decade and refusing to join a recent international declaration on ending the use of coal, one of the most polluting fossil fuels.

Baerbock said Europe’s biggest economy also could have sent a signal on climate financing — a major topic in Paris — by declaring that civil servants’ pensions wouldn’t be invested in fossil fuels companies anymore, as some countries have already done.

Macron hosted leading world philanthropists Tuesday morning to encourage more climate-related investment.

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Frank Jordans in Berlin and Masha Macpherson in Paris contributed.

Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/world-leaders-high-security-paris-climate-summit-51733072