Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is envisioning a future where the Internet will be powered by “drones, satellites, and lasers.”
The billionaire announced in a blog post Thursday the creation of Facebook Connectivity Lab, a company division working with Internet.org to bring connectivity to those currently without access.
“In our effort to connect the whole world with Internet.org, we’ve been working on ways to beam Internet to people from the sky,” Zuckerberg said. “Our goal with Internet.org is to make affordable access to basic Internet services available to every person in the world.”
Internet.org is an effort launched last year by Facebook and other groups to increase Internet accessibility around the globe. The site released two videos alongside Zuckerberg’s announcement. One simulates what a solar-powered drone capable of providing Internet might look like. Another features a Facebook employee discussing the company’s Connectivity Lab.
Facebook has been busy shelling out billions to buy other technology companies recently. Earlier this week the social-media giant bought Oculus VR, a virtual-reality headset maker, for $2 billion. Last month, it announced a purchase of mobile chat client WhatsApp for an eye-popping $19 billion.
This is the second time in the last month Zuckerberg has taken to his Facebook page to announce attention-grabbing news. He previously used the venue to express his frustration over revelations about the government’s Internet surveillance programs, which led to a summit with President Obama last week that he and other executives of big tech firms attended.
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The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has released its score of the House-passed American Health Care Act, which would replace Obamacare. According to the CBO, the bill would reduce the deficit by $119 billion by 2026, while leaving 14 million more Americans uninsured in 2018 than under current law, a number swelling to 23 million by 2026. Further, insurance premiums would balloon 20 percent in 2018 and five percent in 2019 before the waiver provision in the legislation would kick in. The provision allows states to apply for waivers and permit insurers to offer skimpier plans, which would likely entice younger and healthier individuals to buy health insurance while potentially pricing older and less healthy Americans out of insurance plans. House Republicans approved this bill in late April without waiting for the CBO score.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing that President Donald Trump's budget is little more than recycling bin material. "The budget proposed by the president doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of passing," Graham said. Graham had previously opposed the budget over its nearly 30 percent cut to the budget of the State Department. The budget slashes spending on domestic priorities while increasing military spending.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that he doesn't yet know the formula towards gaining passage of an Obamacare replacement in the Senate. "I don't know how we get to 50 (votes) at the moment. But that's the goal," McConnell said. The House passed an Obamacare replacement bill which has been widely seen as dead on arrival in the Senate, and McConnell has put together a working group of Republican Senators working towards creating health care legislation which could gain the support of at least 50 Senators.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."