National news in brief

Net neutrality debate continues

This week, the long-standing conflict between media conglomerates and the Federal Communications Committee (FCC) was reignited in public forums when President Barack Obama formally vocalized his support for net neutrality. Net neutrality essentially treats the Internet as a public utility and protects it from regulation by media corporations such as Time Warner Cable and Comcast. Companies such as these, with a large interest in competitive pricing and consumer rates, are attempting to gain an advantage over the market by significantly slowing or even completely cutting off Internet services to consumers who are not subscribed to their service or offering deals to content providers (such as Netflix) to expedite content to consumers. Obama’s support puts pressure on the FCC to create regulations for what he has called “an open Internet” and has prompted national debate over government regulation of a public market and whether or not the Internet should qualify as a utility.

Source: The New York Times

Elections begin to play out

Last week, midterm elections resulted in Republicans seizing the Senate majority. Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell was voted in as the Senate majority leader, and Nevada Senator Harry Reid will continue to lead the Democratic caucus, along with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Alaska Senator Amy Klobuchar, who have taken leadership positions that were newly created for them.

Source: USA Today

Obama travels to China

Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama traveled to China to talk with Chinese President Xi Jinping regarding climate change and what the two countries could do about it. After long talks, they eventually agreed to target problematic greenhouse gas producers and cut emissions by 2030, the first significant move from China to decrease national emissions. A few days later, the U.S. Postal Service announced that its database had been hacked by Chinese hackers, who stole the information from hundreds of thousands of postal workers. The information included names, dates of birth, social security numbers, and work dates. No consumer data was leaked.

Source: Washington Post