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In the News, August 2nd, 2008

Can Internet Providers Block What They Are Suppose To Be Providing?

Not according to the FCC. A divided Federal Communications Commission has ruled that Comcast Corp. violated federal policy when it blocked Internet traffic for some subscribers and has ordered the cable giant to change the way it manages its network. The FCC has enforced a policy that guarantees customers open access to the Internet.

The FCC has ordered Comcast to stop cutting off transfers of large data files among customers who use a special type of "file-sharing" software.The commission's authority to act stems from a policy statement adopted in September 2005 that outlined a set of principles meant to ensure that broadband networks are "widely deployed, open, affordable and accessible to all consumers.". Now Comcast has to stop its blocking practice by the end of the year. The company must also provide details to the commission on the management techniques it has used and to let consumers know details of its future plans.

Large Internet service providers have fought against such regulation, arguing that companies that spend billions on their networks must be free to manage traffic.

Verizon Communications Inc., AT&T Inc. and the U.S. Telecom Association all released statements saying the FCC action proved there was no need for federal network neutrality legislation.

14 Year Old Cerebral Palsy Victim is Starved to Death

Danieal Kelly, 14, weighed just 42 pounds when she died. According to the grand jury report, the girl starved in a dark room in a West Philadelphia apartment in August 2006. At the time, she weighed 42 pounds, about the weight of a normal 5-year-old, because her mother, Andrea Kelly, had stopped feeding her enough to live on.

Nine people were charged in connection with the girl’s death, including two social workers for the city agency, the Department of Human Services. The girl had cerebral palsy which meant that she had lost almost all ability to talk or move, and was severely neglected by her mother, who had eight other children and was embarrassed to be seen in public with her disabled daughter, the report said.

“She was left to die in her own waste, developing huge, putrid bed sores that covered her back,” the report said. The sores were “so deep and rotted that they went down to the bone.”For days before Danieal Kelly died in a fetid, airless room — made stifling hot by a midsummer heat wave — the bedridden teenager begged for something to drink until she could muster only one word: water.


Rejoice Potato Chip Lovers

Four food manufacturers agreed to reduce levels of a cancer-causing chemical in their potato chips and french fries under a settlement in a case in California. H.J. Heinz Co., Frito-Lay, Kettle Foods Inc., and Lance Inc. were sued by the state of California in 2005, alleging they violated a state requirement that companies post warning labels on products with carcinogens.

The companies avoided trial by agreeing to pay a combined $3 million in fines and reduce the levels of acrylamide in their products over three years. Acrylamide forms naturally when starchy foods are baked or fried. Studies have shown the chemical, which also has industrial uses, causes cancer in lab animals and nerve damage to workers who are exposed to high levels. The Food and Drug Administration is researching whether acrylamide in food poses a health risk.

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Can she survive the summer on One Tank of Gas?

Danni Brancaccio of Vancouver says that she can.

She is attempting to drive her car all summer on just one tank of gas.Typically, she drives her car 1.5 miles to a park-and-ride facility where she gets on a bus with many other commuters and goes to work. She said she drives slower now and uses cruise control when possible to save gas.

That's no problem, though, as it gives her time to read. "I've read a lot this summer," she said as she relaxed in a lobby before going to work. "I've read about 10 books."

Brancaccio also picks up rides from friends and sometimes borrows her mother's car to avoid using her own. But she also walks a lot more and said she's switched from heels to flat shoes for more comfort. She says she still has many other tricks to use to stretch that last quarter-tank to the finish line. She thinks she can drive about 3 miles per day at the most and still make it.

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