Jan 23, 2017

It's official: Ajit Pai is next FCC chairman

AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File

As the most senior Republican Commissioner on the panel, Ajit Pai had been the front-runner for the chairmanship, and he had the support of key advisors on the Trump transition team.

What it means: Pai has said he wants to take a "weed-wacker" to regulation, and net neutrality is at the top of his list. He'll also likely roll back privacy regulations, loosen media ownership rules and take a relatively hands-off approach to merger reviews. Find a look at his stances on the issues here.

Good news for big telecom players: Pai's views on telecom policy largely align with those of major telecom providers such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast, which have vocally opposed net neutrality rules and other regulation of broadband services. US Telecom, which represents many large providers, said in a statement that it shares the strategy "to erase the many regulatory barriers impeding the expansion" of communication networks.

Bad news for edge providers: Supporters and beneficiaries of net neutrality rules, such as web start-ups and larger players such as Netflix and Google, are worried Pai will take a draconian de-regulatory approach. Public Knowledge, a consumer interest group, quickly called out Pai's "history of attacking consumer protections," and urged him to focus on driving down prices and expanding choices.

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Stocks fall 4% as sell-off worsens

A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

Stocks fell more than 4% on Thursday, extending the market’s worst week since the financial crisis in 2008 following a spike in coronavirus cases around the world.

The big picture: All three indices closed in correction territory on Thursday, down over 10% from their recent record-highs amid a global market rout.

Coronavirus updates: California monitors 8,400 potential cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

33 people in California have tested positive for the coronavirus, and health officials are monitoring 8,400 people who have recently returned from "points of concern," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica, and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Watchdog opens probe into VA secretary over handling of sexual assault claim

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie on Fox Business Network’s "The Evening Edit" on Jan. 7. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

The Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General Michael Missal said Thursday he had opened an investigation into VA Secretary Robert Wilkie after lawmakers demanded an inquiry into his handling of a sexual misconduct report, the Washington Post reports.

Context: Wilkie allegedly "worked to discredit" the credibility of Democratic aide and veteran Andrea Goldstein after she reported last fall "that a man groped and propositioned her in the main lobby of the agency's D.C. Medical Center," a senior VA official told the Post.