Nation and World briefs for June 13

Supreme Court’s voter roll decision may have limited impact

ATLANTA — A U.S. Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for states to take a tougher approach to maintaining their voter rolls, but will they?

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Ohio plans to resume its process for removing inactive voters, which was affirmed in Monday’s 5-4 ruling, after the November elections. It takes a particularly aggressive approach that appears to be an outlier among states.

Few appear eager to follow.

“Our law has been on the books. It hasn’t changed, and it isn’t changing,” said Oklahoma Election Board spokesman Bryan Dean.

At issue is when a state begins the process to notify and ultimately remove people from the rolls after a period of non-voting. In most states with similar laws, like Oklahoma, that process begins after voters miss two or more federal elections.

Federal judge approves AT&T-Time Warner merger

WASHINGTON — A federal judge approved the $85 billion megamerger of AT&T and Time Warner on Tuesday, potentially ushering in a wave of media consolidation while shaping how much consumers pay for streaming TV and movies.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon green-lit the merger without imposing major conditions as some experts had expected. The Trump Justice Department had sued to block the $85 billion merger, arguing that it would hurt competition in cable and satellite TV and jack up costs to consumers for streaming TV and movies.

Now, the phone and pay-TV giant AT&T will be allowed to absorb the owner of CNN, HBO, the Warner Bros. movie studio, “Game of Thrones,” coveted sports programming and other “must-see” shows. The Justice Department could appeal the ruling, although it said only that it is considering its options.

The ruling could open the floodgates to deal making in the fast-changing worlds of entertainment production and distribution. Major cable, satellite and phone companies are bulking up with purchases of entertainment conglomerates to compete against rivals born on the internet such as Amazon and Google.

Waiting in the wings are potential big-billions deals involving 21st Century Fox and Disney, Verizon and CBS, T-Mobile and Sprint. Comcast and Verizon are also jockeying for position in the new landscape.

Israel: Social media monitoring nabs would-be attackers

JERUSALEM — Israeli authorities have foiled over 200 Palestinian attacks by monitoring social media and sifting through vast amounts of data to identify prospective assailants ahead of time, according to Israel’s public security minister.

These pre-emptive actions put Israel at the forefront of an increasingly popular — and controversial — trend used by intelligence and law enforcement agencies around the world that use big data technology to track would-be criminals. While the technology appears to be effective, its tactics drew angry Palestinian condemnation and have raised questions about civil liberties.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who oversees the national police force, said Israel’s use of algorithms and other technology has been an important factor in lowering the number of knife and shooting attacks in Israel in recent years. He planned on sharing Israel’s knowledge with counterparts at an international security conference he is hosting that begins Tuesday.

“The experience we now have, we can help other countries deal with this kind of terrorism,” he said. He said working with allies “can lead us to a much better result in fighting lone wolf terrorists.”

But Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian official in the West Bank, called the Israeli profiling techniques “horrific” and an “added dimension” to Israeli control over Palestinian lives.

“They are trying to justify the various ways in which they violate the Palestinian people’s rights, including the right to due process and the right to privacy, using Facebook and using social media as a means of gleaning information to prove people’s guilt ahead of time,” she said.

Lawsuit: Justice Dept. failed to give McCabe info about firing

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has repeatedly refused to provide former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe with documents related to his firing, according to a lawsuit filed on his behalf Tuesday.

The complaint says the Justice Department has publicly defended the firing yet failed to identify for McCabe the policies and procedures it followed before dismissing him. The department has withheld the information, McCabe’s lawyers allege, for fear that the materials could be used against them in any additional lawsuits.

“We don’t create or adjudicate under secret law or procedure,” David Snyder, one of McCabe’s lawyers, said in an email to The Associated Press.

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The case pits the career law enforcement official against a Justice Department that employed him for more than two decades. It refocuses attention on a firing last March that divided current and former Justice Department officials. And it signals that McCabe, repeatedly targeted for criticism and attacks by President Donald Trump in the last year, is determined to try to clear his name in court even as he faces a possible criminal probe into whether he intentionally misled internal investigators.

The lawsuit in federal court in Washington also comes just days ahead of a Justice Department inspector general report expected to criticize senior FBI officials, including McCabe, for their actions during the Hillary Clinton email investigation.