ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

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February 7, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) - East County Magazine's World Watch helps you be an informed citizen on important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflect all voices and views, we include links to 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.

Trump has ordered a military parade in Washington, Pentagon says (Time)

…The Washington Post, which was first to report the plan, said Trump wants an elaborate parade this year with soldiers marching and tanks rolling, …Muscular military parades of the kind that are common in authoritarian countries like China and North Korea are not quintessentially American.

Senate clears two-year budget deal (NPR)

Senate leaders reached a bipartisan budget agreement to increase military and domestic spending levels for two years, paving the way for the first long-term spending pact since President Trump took office. Democrats secured higher domestic spending levels than most Republicans support, as well as funds to combat the opioid crisis, improve veterans' health care and fund the Children's Health Insurance Program for a decade. The agreement will also allow for nearly $90 billion in additional emergency spending for ongoing recovery efforts related to recent hurricanes and wildfires… Conservative activists began mobilizing against the budget deal as soon as it was announced…In addition, House Democrats, led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., are staging a protest of the budget deal…because there has been no progress on an immigration deal.

Republicans are completely reversing themselves on the deficit (Washington Post)

Republican lawmakers in 2011 brought the U.S. government to the brink of default, refused to raise the debt ceiling, demanded huge spending cuts, and insisted on a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. On Wednesday, they formally broke free from those fiscal principles and announced a plan that would add $500 billion in new spending over two years and suspend the debt ceiling until 2019. This came several months after Republicans passed a tax law that would add more than $1 trillion to the debt over a decade. With all these changes, the annual gap between spending and revenue in 2019 is projected to eclipse $1.1 trillion, up from $439 billion in 2015.

Here’s the memo alleging surveillance abuse by the FBI (Sacramento Bee)

President Donald Trump approved the House Intelligence Committee to release the classified Nunes memo on the alleged abuse of the surveillance act by the FBI. The memo argues that the FBI would not have received a surveillance warrant from the FISA court for Carter Page, a former Trump policy advisor during the 2016 presidential campaign, without the Steele dossier.

Democratic, GOP lawmakers:  Memo doesn’t clear Trump in Russian probe (Sacramento Bee)

President Donald Trump was wrong to assert that a GOP-produced classified memo on FBI surveillance powers cleared him in the Russia investigation, Democratic and Republican lawmakers said Sunday. They expressed hope that special counsel Robert Mueller's work would continue without interference.

Why did FBI suspect Trump campaign advisor was a foreign agent? (Sacramento Bee)

He has a lengthy military background, academic credentials and, until recently, a largely apolitical financial career.  But now, Carter Page is a central character in the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the United States election. And this week, it was disclosed that he’s been under Justice Department surveillance because of suspicions he acted as a foreign agent.

Toyota failed to fix defect that can cause Prius to overheat and lose power, dealer claims in lawsuit (Los Angeles Times)

 Toyota said the problem on model years 2010-14 had been taken care of with a software change. But having seen more than 100 post-recall failures, Roger Hogan — whose family owns Claremont Toyota and Capistrano Toyota — warned customers about the issue and refused to resell used Priuses he'd gotten as trade-ins.

U.S. stocks plunge sparks global sell-off (BBC)

US stocks suffered their worst falls in more than six years on Monday in a sell-off sparked by concerns of higher interest rates.

Nancy Pelosi’s filibuster-style speech tops eight hours in bid to force immigration vote (Washington Post)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi commandeered the House floor Wednesday for a day-into-night marathon plea to Republicans for action on immigration, casting the fate of young undocumented immigrants in moral terms. The 77-year-old Pelosi stood for more than eight hours, reading multiple personal stories from “dreamers” and citing Bible passages. Her speech ranked as the longest given by a member of the House of Representatives in at least a century, possibly ever… Pelosi stood from the podium in four-inch heels and spoke and spoke and spoke.

Teen delivers hundreds of solar lamps to Puerto Ricans without power (CNN)

More than four months after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, 15-year-old Salvador Gomez Colon is shocked by the poor living conditions that persist in many of the towns throughout the island.…Just days after Maria slammed Puerto Rico, the ninth grader launched a crowdfunding campaign …to buy portable lamps and hand-operated washing machines for residents in the hardest hit parts of Puerto Rico. Since that time, Gomez Colon has raised more than $125,000 and has donated 1,400 solar lamps to some 840 households.

Why Trump’s tax plan may spur more divorces (Politico)

…Lawyers are counseling couples considering divorce to do it this year — before a 76-year-old deduction for alimony payments is wiped out in 2019 under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act...Many divorce lawyers criticize Republicans’ decision to end the break, saying it will make divorces more acrimonious. People won’t be willing to pay as much, they say, which will disproportionately hurt women who tend to earn less and are more likely to be on the receiving end of alimony payments.

WORLD

Five big stories to watch at the winter Olympics (Time)

Think you’re ready for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang? The Winter Games are set to begin this Friday, Feb. 9, with the opening ceremonyand there’s a lot more to it than skiing stars, crazy curling pants and a tenuous diplomatic truce between North and South Korea. From soft-pedaled doping bans to high-flying new events to the frigid temperatures in South Korea’s Olympic stadium, here’s your cheat sheet to the biggest stories around the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Air strikes pound Syria’s last rebel stronghold; gas chokes civilians (Reuters)

Airplanes launched heavy attacks on the two last major rebel-held areas in Syria, killing at least 29 people in the Ghouta suburb near the capital and choking people with gas in Idlib in the northwest, rescue workers and a war monitor said on Monday.

AP Investigation Details Shocking Massacre, Mass Graves of Myanmar Rohingya (NPR)

The Associated Press interviewed more than two dozen refugees in neighboring Bangladesh, some of whom had time-stamped cellphone videos backing claims of several mass graves. 

Monsoon rains could devastate Rohingya camps (NPR)

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have built makeshift shelters on steep, sandy hills in Bangladesh. They've fled what the U.N. has called ethnic cleansing in neighboring Myanmar. Now they face a new danger in the unplanned camps that sprawl over 3,000 acres: The monsoon season is expected to start in April.

Exclusive: North Korea earned $200 million from banned exports, sends arms to Syria, Myanmar - U.N. report (Reuters)

North Korea violated United Nations sanctions to earn nearly $200 million in 2017 from banned commodity exports, according to a confidential report by independent U.N. monitors, which also accused Pyongyang of supplying weapons to Syria and Myanmar.

Mexico’s economic reforms take hold (CS Monitor)

Many of Mexico's small businesses don't pay taxes – or worker benefits, but more workers are stepping into formal jobs with steady paychecks indicating growth in the economy overall.

China Is Attempting to Muzzle #MeToo (NPR)

As the women's rights movement spreads among Chinese universities, it poses a unique challenge to the country's male-dominated, authoritarian regime.

Zimbabwe issues 99-year leases to white farmers (CS Monitor)

Zimbabwe has implemented a new government policy that will grant 99-year leases to white farmers. Intended to mend relationships with white farmers after they were evicted by the previous administration, the policy aims to revive the country's agricultural sector. 

 

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