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Vacation ends, Obamas arrive back to their Washington home

The former first couple have now returned to their nine-bedroom, $4.3 million home in the elite Kalorama neighbourhood

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President Barack Obama back from vacation (representational image) VOA
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Washington (USA), 4 Feb, 2017: Former US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle have arrived back at their residence here after a short vacation on a private island, media reports said.

The former first couple have now returned to their nine-bedroom, $4.3 million home in the elite Kalorama neighbourhood — which is just two blocks from Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner’s new $5.5 million pad, Daily Mail online reported.

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They flew out of Virgin billionaire Richard Branson’s private island on Thursday, after ten days in the Virgin Islands – with no children and no work obligations.

The former leader of the free world has remained almost silent about his successor after nearly two full weeks.

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But on Monday the former President released a statement through a spokesperson, rather than directly through his Twitter account, in response to Trump’s travel ban.

‘President Obama is heartened by the level of engagement taking place in communities around the country,’ according to a statement released by his post-presidential office. (IANS)

 

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Washington Becomes First State to Approve Net-neutrality Rules

“We know that when D.C. fails to act, Washington state has to do so,”

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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks after signing a bill, March 5, 2018, in Olympia, Washington, that makes Washington the first state to set up its own net-neutrality requirements in response to the FCC's recent repeal of Obama-era rules. VOA

Washington became the first state Monday to set up its own net-neutrality requirements after U.S. regulators repealed Obama-era rules that banned internet providers from blocking content or impairing traffic.

“We know that when D.C. fails to act, Washington state has to do so,” Gov. Jay Inslee said before signing the measure that lawmakers passed with bipartisan support. “We know how important this is.”

The Federal Communications Commission voted in December to gut U.S. rules that meant to prevent broadband companies such as Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon from exercising more control over what people watch and see on the internet.

ALSO READ: What will be the Fate of Net Neutrality after Being Repealed?

Because the FCC prohibited state laws from contradicting its decision, opponents of the Washington law have said it would lead to lawsuits.

Net-neutrality
Inslee said he was confident of its legality, saying “the states have a full right to protect their citizens.” Pixabay

Oregon law has not been signed

The new law also requires internet providers to disclose information about their management practices, performance, and commercial terms. Violations would be enforceable under the state’s Consumer Protection Act.

While several states introduced similar measures this year seeking to protect net neutrality, only Oregon and Washington passed bills. But Oregon’s measure wouldn’t put any new requirements on internet providers.

It would stop state agencies from buying internet service from any company that blocks or prioritizes specific content or apps, starting in 2019. It’s unclear when Oregon’s measure would be signed into law.

Washington state was among more than 20 states and the District of Columbia that sued in January to try and block the FCC’s action. There are also efforts by Democrats to undo the move in Congress.

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Governors in five states — Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Montana, and Vermont — have signed executive orders related to net-neutrality issues, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Pixabay

ALSO READ: Zuckerberg in favor of 100 percent net neutrality

Expect new rules by mid-June

Big telecom companies have said net neutrality rules could undermine investment in broadband and introduce uncertainty about what are acceptable business practices. Net-neutrality advocates say the FCC decision would harm innovation and make it harder for the government to crack down on internet providers who act against consumer interests.

The FCC’s new rules are not expected to go into effect until later this spring. Washington’s law will take effect mid-June.

Messages left with the Broadband Communications Association of Washington, which opposed the bill, were not immediately returned. (VOA)

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