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FCC seeks to dismiss challenges to Internet rules

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By Sinead Carew and Jasmin Melvin

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON | Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:20pm EST
NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Communications Commission filed on Friday to dismiss challenges to its new Internet traffic rules, an agency official said. A senior FCC official said the agency filed several motions with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit asking the court to dismiss as premature challenges from Verizon Communications Inc and MetroPCS Communications Inc. “The rules that govern when and how parties may challenge FCC orders are clear, and Verizon and MetroPCS filed too early when they challenged the Open Internet order,” the senior FCC official said in an e-mail. The order, criticized by opponents as a legally shaky government intrusion into regulating the Internet, would prevent network operators from blocking lawful content but still let them ration access to their networks. At stake is ensuring consumer access to content such as huge movie files while letting Internet providers manage their networks to prevent congestion. Last week Verizon filed a case against the FCC in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, arguing that the regulator had overstepped its authority in creating new rules aimed at regulating Internet traffic. Smaller rival MetroPCS followed with its own lawsuit challenging the new rules. Verizon, the majority owner of the largest U.S. wireless service, and fifth-ranked MetroPCS, appear to have attempted to anchor their challenges in a venue favorable to them by arguing that the rules would modify their wireless licenses. Such disputes are sent to the D.C. appeals court. The same court ruled last year that the FCC lacked the authority to stop Comcast Corp from blocking bandwidth-hogging applications on its broadband network, spurring the agency’s most recent rulemaking effort. Attorneys familiar with the open Internet order said it was expected that the FCC would challenge the characterization of the rules as a license modification. A spokesman for Verizon said the company would respond in due course, while MetroPCS’s spokesman said the company was assessing the FCC actions and had no comment. An FCC official had said last week that Verizon appeared to be premature in filing its appeal as the new rules, which were adopted in December, had not yet been published in the Federal Register. FCC rulemakings are traditionally challenged during a 60-day window after the rules are published in the Federal Register. In a 3-2 vote on December 21, the FCC highlighted a huge divide between those who say the Internet should flourish without regulation and those who say the power of high-speed Internet providers to discriminate against competitors needs to be restrained. (Reporting by Sinead Carew in New York and Jasmin Melvin in Washington]]]]> ]]>

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Business

Kevin Roberts opens his second Fit Chef store in Madison

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Kevin Roberts and his new Fit Chef store in Madison. (photos courtesy Kevin Roberts)

Vicksburg resident Kevin Roberts is opening a new Fit Chef location in Madison, Mississippi, next week.

The new Fit Chef is Roberts’ second location. The store promotes a healthy eating lifestyle and offers healthy prepared meals and catering. The grand opening of the new Fit Chef is Wednesday, Oct. 28, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 111 Dees Drive in Madison.

The first Fit Chef is located at 3401 Halls Ferry Road in Roberts hometown of Vicksburg and is popular among local residents.

Roberts has plenty to keep him busy. He is also the owner of The Chopping Block, an axe throwing arcade located at 1504 Washington St. in downtown Vicksburg, which he opened earlier this year.

Roberts is hoping that his second Fit Chef location will have as much success as the first one as he continues to expand the Fit Chef brand.

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COVID-19

Mississippi reports 1,212 new COVID-19 cases Saturday as U.S. sets new one-day high

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Mississippi’s cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases topped 115,000 Saturday, with another day of more than 1,000 cases reported.

On Friday, the U.S. reported 83,757 new cases, a new one-day high, according to Johns Hopkins University. At the peak of the summer surge, the U.S. reported 77,362 new cases of COVID-19 on July 16, reports USA Today. Nearly every state in the union is reporting increased cases, and experts predict that this surge could be more deadly and last longer than the summer surge because the virus circulates easier in colder weather.

The Mississippi State Department of Health reported five new COVID-19 cases Saturday in Warren County and no new deaths. The cumulative number of cases in Warren County to date is 1,548, and the county’s death toll is 55.

Statewide, MSDH reported 1,212 new COVID-19 cases Saturday, bringing the total cumulative confirmed cases in Mississippi to 115,088. The seven-day average of new cases is 726, higher by 244 cases from a month ago.

Most new cases are seen in younger people recently, and they are more likely to survive the virus than those 65 and older. By far, the age group reporting the most cases in Mississippi are young people from 18 to 29 years old.

MSDH reported Saturday that 17 additional Mississippians died of COVID-19 statewide. The cumulative number of deaths in the state is 3,255. The state’s rate of deaths to confirmed cases is about 2.8%.

Deaths are a lagging indicator. While July saw the highest number of new cases since the crisis began, August saw the highest number of deaths. The highest number of deaths in any one day was 67 reported Aug. 25.

Of the 17 deaths MSDH reported Saturday, 13 occurred between Oct. 19 and Oct. 23 in the following counties:

County Deaths reported Saturday
Adams 1
Benton 1
Coahoma 1
Covington 1
Harrison 1
Leake 1
Lee 1
Monroe 1
Panola 1
Pontotoc 1
Tallahatchie 1
Wayne 1
Yazoo 1

Four COVID-19 related deaths reported Saturday occurred between Sept. 22 and Oct. 17 and were identified from death certificate reports.

County Deaths identified from death certificate reports
Lauderdale 1
Madison 1
Pearl River 1
Prentiss 1

New cases and deaths were reported to MSDH as of 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23. MSDH usually reports statistics on the COVID-19 coronavirus each day based on the previous day’s testing and death reports.

The primary metric concerning state health officials are the numbers of people hospitalized, and that number rose steadily with the rise of new cases in July and August. On June 6, the number of Mississippians hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 was at 358. Hospitalizations nearly tripled by late July. They leveled off in early August and began noticeably dropping in the middle of the month including critical cases and numbers of people requiring ventilators. Hospitalizations continued to drop in September but levelled off at the middle of the month. They dropped again through Oct. 3; however, hospitalizations have been rising since then.

The number of Mississippians hospitalized for the virus as of 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, is 701, more than half of the late July peak of about 1,200. The number includes 597 with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 104 people with suspected but unconfirmed cases. Of those with confirmed infections, 158 were critically ill and in intensive care units and 70 were on ventilators.

Source: MSDH

MSDH has estimated the number of people who can be presumed recovered from COVID-19 in Mississippi. That number is 97,675 through Sunday, Oct. 11. This figure is updated weekly. It represents about 84.9% of the cumulative 115,088 cases reported Saturday, Oct. 24.

The number of cases in Warren County three weeks ago, Saturday, Oct. 3, was 1,428, therefore the estimated number of people presumed recovered in the county is 1,373, or about 88.7% of the 1,548 cumulative cases reported as of Saturday, Oct. 24. The county has an estimated 120 active cases.

These estimates are based on MSDH’s guidelines for calculating estimated recoveries when hospitalizations are not known, using the number of cases 21 days ago, less known outcomes (deaths).

The total number of Mississippians tested for COVID-19 (PCR and antigen tests identifying current infections) as of Saturday, Oct. 10, is 900,479 or about 30.3% of the state’s 2.976 million residents. Without an updated number of tests, it is impossible to accurately calculate Mississippi’s positivity rate (positive results to tests, seven-day average), however, the rate was 16.6% Thursday according to Johns Hopkins University. The national rate is 5.8%, and 5% or lower indicates adequate testing.

The total number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities was 133 Saturday. About 40.1%, or 1,304, of the state’s total deaths were people in long-term care facilities.

A total of 26 deaths in Warren County were residents of LTC facilities.

MSDH is no longer reporting outbreaks in individual long-term care facilities in Mississippi and has replaced it with access to a database from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. You can access and search the data here. The latest data available is for the week ending Oct. 11.

For additional information, visit the MSDH website.

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Events

Happening today: Turn in your unused prescriptions on Take Back Day Saturday

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The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is holding its 19th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Saturday, Oct. 24, at locations across the country.

In Vicksburg and Warren County, event locations will be staffed by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office or the Vicksburg Police Department from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

  • Outlets of Vicksburg, 4000 S. Frontage Road
  • Walgreen’s Pharmacy, 3341 Halls Ferry Road
  • WalMart, 2150 Iowa Blvd.

The nationwide event aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the public about the potential for abuse of medications.

Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that most abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from home medicine cabinets.

Collection sites will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and regulations to maintain the safety of all participants and local law enforcement.

“The initiative – now in its 10th year – addresses a vital public safety and public health issue,” said DEA Acting Administrator Timothy Shea in a statement. “Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse. Together with our partners, we are not only holding National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, but offering other ways to dispose of unwanted, unused and expired prescription medications.”

Given the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, the DEA wants to ensure that the public is aware of other ways they can dispose of unwanted prescription drugs without having to leave their homes. Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have tips on how to safely dispose of drugs at home.

In addition to DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, prescription drugs can be disposed of at any of the 11,000 DEA authorized collectors at any time throughout the year. Search for those sites at https://apps2.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubdispsearch/spring/main?execution=e1s1.

DEA also encourages the public to reach out to their local law enforcement to find out if they have any permanent drug disposal locations throughout their local community.

DEA and its partners will collect tablets, capsules, patches and other solid forms. DEA will also accept vape pens or other electronic cigarette devices from individual consumers, only after the batteries are removed from the devices. If the battery cannot be removed, individual consumers can check with large electronic chain stores who may accept the vape pen or e-cigarette devices for proper disposal. Liquids, including intravenous solutions, syringes and other sharps, and illegal drugs cannot be dropped off. This service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

For more information on DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, and to find other collection sites near you, visit www.deatakeback.com.

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