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ECM WORLD WATCH: GLOBAL AND NATIONAL NEWS




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January 26, 2012 --  (San Diego’s East County) – ECM World Watch helps you be an informed citizen about important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflecting all voices and views, we include links to a wide variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:  

 
 
U.S.
 
 General news
  
  • State of the Union: Obama calls for tax fairness (BBC)
  • Starbucks pro-gun policy prompts gun victims’ advocate group to announce nationwide boycott on Valentine’s Day
  • Army says suicides down, but violent crimes up (MSNBC)
  • Senate Dems make Mitt Romney the poster boy for tax reform (The Hill)
  • Wisconsin recall petition of Gov. Walker gets 1 million signatures (Washington Post)
Presidential election
 
  • South Carolina primary: Newt Gingrich defeats Mitt Romney (ABC)
  • Obama launches swing state tour (CNN)
  • Santorum hails delayed Iowa win as huge upset (CNN)
  • Bain Capital owns Clear Channel:
  • Romney parks millions in Cayman Islands offshore tax haven (ABC News)
  • Ex-wife claims Gingrich sought open marriage, Gingrich says allegation false (Fox News)
  • Perry drops out, endorses Gingrich (CNN)
 
WORLD
  • Navy Seal raid frees Somali hostages (BBC)
  • Israel rattled as hackers hit bourse, banks, El Al (Reuters)
  • The secret document that transformed China (NPR)
  • Recent attacks by radical Islamist sect in Nigeria (San Diego U-T)
  • Afghan asylum bids hit 10-year high (San Diego U-T)
 Health
  • Blind can see again: First patients seen to improve with stem cell tissues (Reuters)
Scroll down for excerpts and links to full stories.
 

U.S.

 
General news
 
State of the Union: Obama calls for tax fairness (BBC)
 
January 25, 2012 -- US President Barack Obama has attacked income inequality as he set the tone for his re-election bid in his third State of the Union speech.
Mr Obama emphasised the importance of an economy that works for everyone, in the nationally televised address to Congress.
The annual State of the Union address - one of the most keenly watched events in US politics - traditionally includes policy prescriptions from the White House for the upcoming year.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16714475
 
Starbucks pro-gun policy prompts gun victims’ advocate group to announce nationwide boycott on Valentine’s Day
 
January 27, 2012 -- A nationwide boycott of Starbucks stores and its products will be launched on Valentine's Day 2012. Its goal is to eliminate the risk of guns in public places and ultimately to bring sane gun laws to the U.S.

This boycott is being called by the National Gun Victim's Action Council (NGAC), a network of 14 million gun victims, the faith community including the: Episcopal Peace Fellowship, United Church of Christ, Fellowship of Reconciliation (46 peace fellowships and 43 affiliate fellowships),secular groups working to reduce gun violence and many of the organizations that support passing sane gun laws.
http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/23/4208271/starbucks-pro-gun-policy-prompts.html#storylink=omni_popular

Army says suicides down, but violent crimes up (MSNBC)

January 19, 2012 -- The number of suicides among soldiers has been leveling off but there's been a dramatic jump in domestic violence, sex crimes and other destructive behavior in a force that has been stressed by a decade of war, a new Army report said Thursday.

"There's a lot of good news in this report, but there's also some bad news," Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli told a Pentagon press conference. "We know we've got still a lot of work to do."
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46062947/ns/us_news-life/#.TyJcAzHiPD5
 
Senate Dems make Mitt Romney the poster boy for tax reform (The Hill)
January 25, 2012 -- Senate Democratic leaders will peg their 2012 legislative agenda to President Obama’s State of the Union address and make Mitt Romney the centerpiece of their push to raise taxes on the wealthy.
Democratic leaders say Romney’s tax returns, which show he and his wife paid a 14 percent tax rate on $27 million in income in 2010, have thrust him into the middle of the Senate debate. Romney earned nearly $43 million over the past two years and will pay just over $6 million in taxes.
http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/206553-senate-democrats-make-mitt-romney-the-poster-boy-for-tax-reform
 
Wisconsin recall petition of Gov. Walker gets 1 million signatures (Washington Post)
 
January 18, 2012 -- Wisconsin Democrats furious with Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) policies have collected more than double the signatures necessary to force a recall election. As Rachel Weiner reported:
Democrats and their allies in organized labor say they delivered over a million recall petition signatures against Gov. Scott Walker (R) Tuesday, far more than the 540,208 needed to spark a recall election.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/wisconsin-recall-petition-gets-over-1-million-signatures-democratic-challenger-falk-steps-forward/2012/01/18/gIQAD4sr8P_story.html
 
Presidential election
 
South Carolina primary: Newt Gingrich defeats Mitt Romney (ABC)
 
January 21, 2012 -- Newt Gingrich defeated Mitt Romney today to win today's South Carolina primary, boosted by a fiery debate performance this week that deflated the former governor's front-runner status overnight.
Rick Santorum will place third and Ron Paul will be fourth first-in-the-South contest.
Propelled by voters who were heavily influenced by the pre-primary debates, and a strong evangelical showing, Gingrich claimed a landslide victory, winning virtually every county in the Palmetto State save for a handful that went to Romney.
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/south-carolina-primary-newt-gingrich-defeat-mitt-romney/story?id=15411865#.TyJdQjHiPD6
 
Obama launches swing state tour (CNN)
 
January 25, 2012 -- President Obama got to work selling his State of the Union economic proposals to the public Wednesday, beginning a five-state tour to urge that manufacturing jobs be brought back from overseas.
In visits to factories in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Phoenix, Obama called on Congress to eliminate tax loopholes that encourage companies to send jobs abroad and impose a minimum tax rate on multinational firms.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-launches-swing-state-tour-with-push-for-manufacturing-jobs/2012/01/25/gIQANtQtQQ_story.html
Santorum hails delayed Iowa win as huge upset (CNN)
 
January 19, 2012 -- Rick Santorum finished the Iowa Republican caucuses 34 votes ahead of Mitt Romney, but results from several precincts are missing and the full actual results may never be known, according to a final certified tally released Thursday by the Iowa GOP.
The new numbers show 29,839 votes for Santorum and 29,805 votes for Romney, according to the party.

The initial returns from Iowa gave Romney a razor-thin eight-vote margin of victory over Santorum, reinforcing the former Massachusetts governor's frontrunner status and giving him a major momentum boost heading into the New Hampshire primaries.
http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/19/politics/iowa-caucus/index.html?hpt=hp_t1
 
Bain Capital owns Clear Channel:
 
Wouldn't it be great if a Republican presidential candidate could just buy the support of just about every major conservative talk show host in America?  Well, it may not be as far-fetched as you may think.  Clear Channel owns more radio stations (850) than anyone else in the United States.  They also own Premiere Radio Networks, the company that syndicates the radio shows of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck, among others.  Needless to say, Clear Channel basically owns conservative talk radio in the United States.  So who owns Clear Channel?  Well, it turns out that Bain Capital is one of the primary owners of Clear Channel
http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/bain-capital-owns-clear-channel-rush-limbaugh-sean-hannity-glenn-beck-michael-savage-etc
Romney parks millions in Cayman Islands offshore tax haven (ABC News)
 
January 18, 2012 -- Although it is not apparent on his financial disclosure form, Romney has millions of dollars of his personal wealth in investment funds set up in the Cayman Islands, a notorious Caribbean tax haven.
A spokesperson for the Romney campaign says Romney follows all tax laws and he would pay the same in taxes regardless of where the funds are based.
http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/romney-parks-millions-offshore-tax-haven/story?id=15378566#.TxfrjvnQfTq
 
Ex-wife claims Gingrich sought open marriage, Gingrich says allegation false (Fox News)
 
January 20, 2012 -- Newt Gingrich's second ex-wife told ABC News that the Republican presidential candidate sought an "open marriage" and that his campaign positions do not coincide with what she saw during their 18 years of marriage.
Marianne Gingrich, in her first television interview since the couple's 1999 divorce, told ABC News that when Gingrich admitted to a six-year affair with a congressional aide, he asked her if she would share him with the other woman, Callista, who is now married to Gingrich.
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/01/19/gingrich-says-wont-speak-ill-ex-wife-ahead-interview-airing/

Perry drops out, endorses Gingrich (CNN)
 
January 19, 2012 -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry suspended his struggling presidential campaign Thursday and threw his support to Newt Gingrich, a development that could alter the dynamics of the Republican race just two days before the tightening South Carolina primary.
"I believe Newt is a conservative visionary who can transform our country. We've had our differences, which campaigns will inevitably have, and Newt is not perfect, but who among us is?" Perry said at a press conference in Charleston, South Carolina.
 
WORLD
 
Navy Seal raid frees Somali hostages (BBC)
 
January 25, 2012 -- Two foreign aid workers kidnapped in Somalia three months ago have been freed in a US military raid.
US officials have confirmed that elite US Navy Seals were dropped into Somalia to carry out the overnight operation, which resulted in a shoot-out.
Vice-President Joe Biden told ABC News that the mission had been approved because of the failing health of one of the aid workers.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-16714344
Israel rattled as hackers hit bourse, banks, El Al (Reuters)
 
January 16, 2012 -- Hackers disrupted online access to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, El Al Airlines and three banks on Monday in what the government described as a cyber-offensive against Israel.

The attacks came just days after an unidentified hacker, proclaiming Palestinian sympathies, posted the details of thousands of Israeli credit card holders and other personal information on the Internet in a mass theft.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/16/us-israel-hackers-idUSTRE80F0V220120116?feedType=RSS&feedName=technologyNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reuters%2FtechnologyNews+%28News+%2F+US+%2F+Technology%29

The secret document that transformed China (NPR)
 
January 20, 2012 -- In 1978, the farmers in a small Chinese village called Xiaogang gathered in a mud hut to sign a secret contract. They thought it might get them executed. Instead, it wound up transforming China's economy in ways that are still reverberating today.
The contract was so risky — and such a big deal — because it was created at the height of communism in China. Everyone worked on the village's collective farm; there was no personal property.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/01/20/145360447/the-secret-document-that-transformed-china?ft=1&f=1004
Recent attacks by radical Islamist sect in Nigeria (San Diego U-T)
 
January 21, 2012 -- A look at recent major attacks in Nigeria attributed to the radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram:
- Jan. 20: Boko Haram claims responsibility for a series of coordinated bombings and gun battles around the city of Kano that kill at least 143 people.
- Dec. 25, 2011: Boko Haram claims responsibility for an attack on a Catholic church in Madalla near Nigeria's capital and assaults elsewhere in the country that kill at least 42 people.
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jan/21/recent-attacks-by-radical-islamist-sect-in-nigeria/
 
Afghan asylum bids hit 10-year high (San Diego U-T)
 
January 21, 2012 -- More Afghans fled the country and sought asylum abroad in 2011 than in any other year since the start of the decade-long war, suggesting that many are looking for their own exit strategy as international troops prepare to withdraw.
From January to November, more than 30,000 Afghans applied for political asylum worldwide, a 25 percent increase over the same period the previous year and more than triple the level of just four years ago, according to U.N. statistics obtained by The Associated Press ahead of their scheduled publication later this year.
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jan/21/apnewsbreak-afghan-asylum-bids-hit-10-year-high/

Health
 
Blind can see again: First patients seen to improve with stem cell tissues (Reuters)
 
January 23, 2012 -- Before treatment, the 51-year-old graphic artist was legally blind, unable to read a single letter on a standard eye chart. She has suffered from Stargardt's disease, the most common form of macular degeneration in young patients, since she was a teenager, and it was getting progressively worse.

A second patient, aged 78, suffered from dry macular degeneration - the leading cause of blindness in the elderly -and could not even see well enough to go shopping.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/23/us-stemcells-idUSTRE80M21R20120123