Sprint Merger and Public Executions in N. Korea

Grind for June 13th
“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

– Albert Einstein

A Bad Idea

The Headline

State attorneys team up to block Sprint/T-Mobile merger

The Grind

Despite an April announcement suggesting the Sprint/T-Mobile merger was off, the FCC is once against reviewing the proposed marriage of the nation’s third- and fourth-largest wireless providers.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai endorsed the merger last month after both providers agreed to:

— Speed up the deployment of 5G

— Improve broadband service, particularly in rural areas

— Maintain current prices for three years

Both carriers agreed to pay up to $2.4 billion in fines if they violate the agreement.

The Details

Sprint and T-Mobile insist the merger would better enable them to innovate, but critics say the union would lead to higher prices without improved service.

“When it comes to corporate power, bigger isn’t always better,” says Letitia James, one of ten attorneys general to file a lawsuit against the merger on Tuesday.

“The T-Mobile and Sprint merger would not only cause irreparable harm to mobile subscribers nationwide by cutting access to affordable, reliable wireless service for millions of Americans but would particularly affect lower-income and minority communities.”

If the $26 billion merger is approved, consumers will have only three major carriers to choose from: T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon.

Competition between carries leads to “lower prices, higher quality service, and more features for consumers,” notes the lawsuit. Reducing the number of carriers will reduce competition, therefore disincentivizing all players to innovate.

Sprint shares dropped more than 5% in response to news of the lawsuit.

A Reason For Concern

The Headline

The North Korean government is using public executions to control its population

The Grind

A four-year investigation by South Korean NGO Transitional Justice Working Group suggests the North Korean government routinely conducts public executions.

The report identified over 300 execution sites throughout the country.

According to witnesses, the executions are typically carried out by firing squad. Some are killed over offenses as minor as watching South Korean TV.

In many cases, those forced to carry out the execution appeared to be drunk. “This is because killing is a hard thing to do emotionally,” said one defector.

The Details

The report describes executions in North Korea as a “a core method of inciting fear and deterring citizens from engaging in activities deemed undesirable by the regime.”

In many cases, family members of the victim are forced to watch the execution.

The frequency of public executions seems to be declining, but as noted by the report’s authors, it could be that officials are simply operating with more secrecy as to improve the state’s reputation.

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