WASHINGTON – The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously on Tuesday to advance new rules barring a U.S. government program from purchasing equipment or services from companies posing a security threat to the country’s communications networks.
The FCC also is considering additional steps in the wake of growing concerns in Washington that Chinese firms could act as conduits for espionage, a charge they have consistently denied.
The proposed new rules, which are expected to be finalized later this year, would prevent funds from the $8.5 billion FCC Universal Service Fund to be spent on goods or services from companies or countries described as posing a “national security threat to the integrity of communications networks or their supply chains.”
“Hidden ‘backdoors’ to our networks in routers, switches, and other network equipment can allow hostile foreign powers to inject viruses and other malware, steal Americans’ private data, spy on U.S. businesses, and more,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who introduced the proposal.
Islamic State Threatens Polling Station Attacks Ahead Of Iraq Vote
BAGHDAD – Islamic State said it would attack polling stations in Iraq during parliamentary election next month and that anyone who participated in the vote would be considered an infidel.
In an audio message released late on Sunday, the militant group’s spokesman accused Iraq’s Shi’ite-led government of being a proxy of Iran and warned that anyone who runs or votes in the May 12 election would be targeted. Iraqi officials have said polling stations will be well protected.
Brussels Judge Starts To Deliver Verdict Against Paris Attacks Suspect
BRUSSELS – A Belgian judge started to deliver her verdict on Monday in the trial of Salah Abdeslam, the prime surviving suspect in the 2015 Islamic State attacks on Paris, over a shootout with police in Brussels in 2016.
Abdeslam’s lawyer had argued his client should be acquitted of attempting to murder police due to a procedural error. The judge quickly dismissed this argument as she began reading the judgment. The reading was expected to last some three hours.
China Says 32 Nationals Dead In Major North Korean Bus Crash
BEIJING – Thirty-two Chinese tourists and four North Koreans died in a major bus accident in North Korea, China’s foreign ministry said on Monday, with two Chinese nationals seriously injured and left in critical condition.
Chinese visitors make up about 80 percent of all foreign tourists to North Korea, says a South Korean think-tank, the Korea Maritime Institute, which estimates that tourism generates revenue of about $44 million each year for the isolated country.
Chinese diplomats have rushed to the scene of Sunday’s accident in North Hwanghae province, the foreign ministry said.
In a Twitter message earlier on Monday, Chinese state television’s English-language channel said a tour bus had fallen off a bridge, killing more than 30 people, but later deleted the message.
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