Ever since the US military created the Internet as a decentralized communications system, American officials have played an important role in its control and development.
But, gradually, the US government has turned over functions of the Internet to independent organizations. But it has held onto operation of the system of domain names and web addresses that help users get to their desired destination. The US Commerce Department has operated that system under contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
But the revelations of NSA spying, and general attitudes that the government belongs to everyone and not just the US, led to increasing calls for the US to give up its final controls on the Internet. The US has resisted those calls, until now. Though it didn't provide a timeline, and specified several requirements that must be met before it stepped back, Commerce Department officials announced Friday that the time is now right for an independent group to take over.
The Washington Post has more.
Can immigrants reinforce America's farms?
America's farms are growing older — and fewer young people are taking over family operations. That presents big questions about where America's food will come from in the future, and what will become of rural America. The Future Farmers of America think one solution is in America's urban high schools, with immigrants.
Jason Margolis of PRI's The World visited Buena Park, California, a pavement paradise if there is one, where he learned about a program at the local high school that introduces more students to agriculture and farming. And it's potentially lucrative, too, with scholarships and jobs more available for these students. Many of the students taking part are part of Buena Park's immigrant communities.
US takes another crack at charges for Indian diplomat
Devyani Khobragade, the Indian diplomat who was arrested and charged with violating visa laws because of how much she paid her housekeeper and the hours she made the woman work, got a victory earlier this week when a court dismissed the charges against her because of her diplomatic immunity. But a New York grand jury re-indicted her on Friday, something the judge suggested officials could do.
Khobragade has since returned to India and it's not clear if she'll return to the US, according to The Guardian. The incident led tensions with India, where the incident was deeply unpopular. Many people felt that Khobragade was humiliated by her treatment, which was said to include a strip search. US officials have said she was actually treated better than any non-diplomat would have been treated.
Senegal wants families to put more space between their children
As the latest installment of our project on pregnancy and motherhood, The Ninth Month, PRI's The World takes us to Senegal, where we meet Tine, a woman who has been pregnant for 18 of the past 19 months. Through a series of photos, we meet Tine and her family and learn how the close-together pregnancies have really taken a toll. The Senegalese government is encouraging families to wait longer, at least two years, between kids, but in a country where contraceptives are not popular, that's a difficult challenge. More from The Ninth Month.
A Pakistani teen who was sexually assaulted takes her own life
An 18-year-old Pakistani woman set herself on fire Thursday after learning that police would not go forward with charges against the men she says sexually assaulted her. She died of her wounds Friday. According to the BBC, rape cases are rarely prosecuted in Pakistan and the teenager accused police of not doing their job and investigating the attack. The entire incident has prompted outrage in Pakistan, especially on social media.
What we're seeing on social
— Liberationtech (@Liberationtech) March 14, 2014
Weather around the world
If you tried to look up at Paris's Eiffel Tower on Friday, you might have struggled to see the top. The City of Lights was hit with a spring smog attack — conditions that were expected to last through the weekend, according to The New York Times. In response, French officials made public transportation free through Sunday. The problem is traced to a persistent high-pressure system that has trapped pollutants in the area and kept cleansing rains at bay.
(c) Joep Bertrams, The Netherlands