TDB Top 5 International Stories: Wednesday 10th May 2017

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5: The Most Toxic Nuclear Facility in the US Is in Lockdown
4: Trump’s FCC Chair Declares New War on Net Neutrality After 10-Year Battle for Free & Open Internet
3: US considers ‘boosting troop presence’ in Afghanistan
2: PUERTO RICO’S $123 BILLION BANKRUPTCY IS THE COST OF U.S. COLONIALISM
1: Net neutrality: why the next 10 days are so important in the fight for fair internet

5: The Most Toxic Nuclear Facility in the US Is in Lockdown

Three thousand workers are sheltering as an emergency is declared at a nuclear facility in Washington State.

Early Tuesday morning, an emergency was declared at a nuclear site in Washington State after a tunnel containing radioactive material sunk in. This area of the massive Hanford complex, known as 200 East, has about 3,000 employees on site, all of whom have been told to shelter in place and avoid eating or drinking anything.

The tunnel was connected to a plutonium uranium extraction (PUREX)complex, which saw about 75 percent of the plutonium processed from irradiated fuel rods at Hanford pass through its doors between 1956 and 1972 and 1983 to 1988. PUREX is connected to two tunnels by rail, which are used as a long-term storage option for materials removed from the plant. Together they provide enough storage space for 48 rail cars, although how much radioactive material was present in the tunnel at the time of the emergency hasn’t been determined.

Officials are still trying to piece together what went wrong. “There is no confirmation of a tunnel collapse,” a Hanford Site spokesperson told me over the phone. “What we saw that caused us to declare the emergency was a small area of sunken soil that covered the tunnel in question. There is no evidence of a radioactive release or contamination. All staff are accounted for and right now we have the Hanford Fire Department on standby.”

Vice News

4: Trump’s FCC Chair Declares New War on Net Neutrality After 10-Year Battle for Free & Open Internet

FCC head Ajit Pai has outlined a sweeping plan to dismantle net neutrality rules, which seek to keep the internet open and prevent corporate service providers from blocking access to websites, slowing down content or providing paid fast lanes for internet service. For more, we speak with Craig Aaron, president and CEOof Free Press.
Democracy Now

 

3: US considers ‘boosting troop presence’ in Afghanistan

US military officials and advisers to Donald Trump’s administration have drafted a proposal to increase the number of soldiers in Afghanistan, according to several media reports in the United States.

The reported recommendation comes after an alleged broad review conducted by the Pentagon , State Department, intelligence agencies and other government institutions.

Official sources quoted anonymously by US media said the increase would range between 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers, including Special Operations forces.

The aim of such a step would be to break the military stalemate in Afghanistan and push the Taliban – who have made gains in recent months – to negotiate with the Kabul government, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

President Donald Trump will receive a proposed new approach to the war within a week, Theresa Whelan, a Pentagon policy official, told US senators last week during a hearing.

Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane, reporting from Washington, DC, described the leaks to US media as “classic Washington”.

Aljazeera

2:  PUERTO RICO’S $123 BILLION BANKRUPTCY IS THE COST OF U.S. COLONIALISM

LAST WEEK Puerto Rico officially became the largest bankruptcy case in the history of the American public bond market. On May 3, a fiscal control board imposed on the island’s government by Washington less than year ago suddenly announced that the Puerto Rico’s economic crisis “has reached a breaking point.” The board asked for the immediate appointment of a federal judge to decide how to deal with a staggering $123 billion debt the commonwealth government and its public corporations owe to both bondholders and public employee pension systems.

The announcement sparked renewed press attention to a Caribbean territory that many have dubbed America’s Greece. The island’s total debt, according to the control board, is unprecedented for any government insolvency in the U.S., and it is certain to mushroom quickly if no action is taken. Detroit’s bankruptcy, by comparison, involved just $18 billion — one-ninth the size of Puerto Rico’s.

Within days, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, acting under a provision of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (known as PROMESA), which was enacted last June, appointed federal judge Laura Taylor Swain from the southern district of New York to take over the Puerto Rico case. A former bankruptcy court judge who was appointed to the federal court by President Clinton, Swain famously presided over the long criminal trial of employees of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme.

Few press reports on Puerto Rico’s troubles, however, have bothered to examine the deeper issues behind this crisis.

The Intercept

1:  Net neutrality: why the next 10 days are so important in the fight for fair internet

Thursday 26 February 2015 was a good day for internet freedom campaigners. On that day the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to more strictly regulate internet service providers (ISPs) and to enshrine the principles of “net neutrality” as law.

The vote reclassified wireless and fixed-line broadband service providers as Title II “common carriers”, a public utility-type designation that gives the FCC the ability to set rates, open up access to competitors and more closely regulate the industry.

“The internet is the most powerful and pervasive platform on the planet,” said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler. “It’s simply too important to be left without rules and without a referee on the field.”

Two years on and Trump’s new FCC chairman Ajit Pai, a former Verizon lawyer, has announced plans to overturn the 2015 order, in turn gutting net neutrality. A vote on this proposal is due to take place on 18 May. Here’s why it matters.

The Guardian 

 

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