ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

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August 8, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) - East County Magazine's World Watch helps you be an informed citizen about important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflect 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.

WORLD

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.

U.S.

North Korea says seriously considering plan to strike Guam: KCNA (Reuters)

 North Korea said on Wednesday it is "carefully examining" a plan to strike the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam with missiles, just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump told the North that any threat to the United States would be met with "fire and fury."

FCC exploits loophole to push massive expansion of pro-Trump Sinclair media (Salon)

Sinclair Media Group, the conservative outlet that pushes the Trump administration’s agenda on local news stations, will soon have a nation-wide presence …President Trump’s handpicked Federal Communications Commission chairman, Ajit Pai, resurrected an old regulatory loophole … that will allow Sinclair to own a segment of the media landscape that would have previously exceeded federal limits. The regulatory change will empower Sinclair to reach 72 percent of U.S. households once it buys Tribune Media’s stations, Politico reported on Sunday.

Sinclair requires stations to air pieces that tilt right (New York Times)

They are called “must-runs,” and they arrive every day at television stations owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group — short video segments that are centrally produced by the company…. During the election campaign last year, it sent out a package that suggested in part that voters should not support Hillary Clinton because the Democratic Party was historically pro-slavery.… Sinclair hired former White House aide Boris Epshteyn as on-air talent. Epshteyn’s pro-Trump segments run unedited on stations across the country.

Justice Dept. takes on affirmative action in college admissions (New York Times)

The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants, according to a document obtained by The New York Times.

‘Pharma bro’ Martin Shkreli found guilty of 3 of 8 charges, including security fraud (MSNBC)

A federal jury Friday found notorious "Pharma bro" Martin Shkreli guilty of three counts of securities fraud — but acquitted him of five other crimes related to hedge funds he ran and to a drug company he founded.

He once said mothers don’t belong in state office. Now he leads Trump Cabinet in Bible study (Los Angeles Times)

News from the Christian Broadcasting Network that members of President Trump’s Cabinet are attending Bible study sessions together didn’t come as such a shock in Washington. The shock was who is teaching them…He is the evangelical spiritual leader who once counseled a group of Sacramento lawmakers that female politicians with young children have no business serving in the Legislature. In fact, he called them sinners.

Strong jobs market boosts demographic groups that usually lag in unemployment (Marketplace)

As unemployment continues to fall and employers scramble to find the workers they need, demographic groups that traditionally lag economically are benefiting.

 One year into the FBI ‘s Russia investigation, Mueller is onto Trump’s money trail (CNN)

Federal investigators exploring whether Donald Trump's campaign colluded with Russian spies have seized on Trump and his associates' financial ties to Russia as one of the most fertile avenues for moving their probe forward, according to people familiar with the investigation.

White House gives ground on agencies’ selective responses to Congressional oversight inquiries (Gov Exec)

The White House is no longer rigidly defending a Justice Department opinion that the Trump administration was using to instruct agencies to respond only to majority party committee chairmen when answering oversight questions.

‘Fact checking; website Snopes on verge of collapse after founder accused of fraud, lies, and putting prostitutes and honeymoon on his expenses (Daily Mail)

Fact-checking website Snopes is on the verge of financial collapse after its owner was accused of embezzling company funds to pay for his contentious divorce battle and lavish overseas trips with his new wife, a former Las Vegas escort and porn actress. The company's financial woes have gotten so bad that Snopes' owner David Mikkelson started a crowd-funding website pleading for donations this week, which raised over $500,000 from generous readers in its first day.

Asian-Americans’ Complaint Against Harvard Could Get Dept. of Justice Review (NBC)

A discrimination complaint lodged against Harvard's admissions process in 2015 by Asian-American groups could get a fresh look by the Department of Justice — setting the stage for renewed debate on the constitutionality of affirmative action. 

Trump rips Congress, brags about deal-making prowess in Russian sanctions statement (The Hill)

President Trump is ripping Congress in an unusual statement criticizing the Russian sanctions bill, which he signed into law on Wednesday. Trump said in two separate statements that while he favored the policy objectives in the legislation overwhelmingly approved by Congress, he believes the new law encroaches on his power. 

WORLD

North Korea now making missile-ready nuclear weapons, U.S. analysts say (Washington Post)

North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, crossing a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power, U.S. intelligence officials have concluded in a confidential assessment.

Decline in Democracy Spreads Across the Globe as Authoritarian Leaders Rise (NPR)

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with Larry Diamond of Stanford University about this "global democratic recession.”

U.S. formally delivers notice to withdraw from Paris climate deal (Reuters)

The Trump administration on Friday officially told the United Nations that the U.S. intends to pull out of the 2015 Paris climate pact. But the State Department's announcement doesn't formally start the process of the U.S. getting out of the voluntary agreement…countries can't withdraw from new international agreements, including the Paris climate one, until three years after they go into effect. The Paris agreement went into effect on Nov. 4, 2016.

Iran Gains Ground in Afghanistan as U.S. Presence Wanes (New York Times)

Tehran’s accelerating campaign to exert influence threatens to undo 16 years and half a trillion dollars’ worth of American efforts to forge a stable democratic Afghan government.

A Flawed Asylum System in Mexico, Strained Further by U.S. Changes (New York Times)

As the United States hardens its border, Mexico has become a goal for Central American migrants. But its asylum program is overwhelmed.

'I Give Up': Top War Crimes Expert Resigns from U.N.'s Syria Inquiry (NPR)

A top former war crimes prosecutor has quit the U.N.'s Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, over what she described as the Security Council's lack of political will..."I can't any longer be part of this commission which simply doesn't do anything.”  .Del Ponte, 70, gained international prominence during her time as a war crimes prosecutor in tribunals on Rwanda and Yugoslavia. 

Nearly 1 Million South Sudanese Refugees in Uganda (NPR)

Uganda is the third largest refugee-hosting country in the world now...

Civil activism: Are Russians exiting the Soviet eclipse? (CS Monitor)

The Russian public largely believes that it is up to the state to organize everything – a notion the Kremlin is happy to encourage in the political sphere. But in the nonpolitical realm, grassroots projects are shooting up in ways they never have before.

PHOTOS: A 'Massive' Wildfire is Now Blazing in Greenland (NPR)

NASA satellites detected the blaze just over a week ago. Since then, the rare wildfire in western Greenland has continued to burn through a region far better known for its ice and snow.

Nine dead, 164 injured in China Sichuan quake (Reuters)

Nine people have been killed, including six tourists, and 164 injured in an earthquake that struck a remote and mountainous part of southwest China's Sichuan province, the local government and official media said on Wednesday.