ECM WORLD WATCH: GLOBAL AND NATIONAL NEWS

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March 9, 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: 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 WORLD  
  • Strong solar storm to hit earth Thursday (BBC)
  • Election irregularities reported across Russia (NPR)
  • Syria’s deputy oil minister defects from Assad (Reuters)
  • Satellite images show buildup in Syria (New York Times) 
U.S.
  • Romney wins Ohio, 4 other Super Tuesday states (Sacramento Bee)
  • Seattle’s first urban food forest will be open to foragers (NPR)
  • Where women stand on the political race (NPR)
  • All the ads pulled from Rush Limbaugh’s show (Yahoo! News)
  • Green firms get fed cash, give executives bonuses, fail (ABC)
  • Big Pharma’s role in the contraception debate (Daily Beast)
  • BP Settlement sells out victims: deal buries evidence of oil company willful negligence (GregPalast.com)
  • Deaths from dangerous gut bacteria hit historic highs (NPR)
  • Cash mobs profit locally owned stores (PRI)
 
Scroll down for excerpts and links to full stories. 
 
 
WORLD
 
Strong solar storm to hit earth Thursday (BBC)
 
March 8, 2012 -- A solar storm in the Earth's magnetic field has largely passed, but adverse effects could still occur, experts say.
"The freight train has gone by, and is still going by, and now we're just watching for how this is all going to shake out," said Joseph Kunches, a scientist with US weather agency Noaa.
Charged particles from the Sun will keep on passing the Earth until Friday.
There had been fears that this "coronal mass ejection" could wreak havoc with satellites or power grids on Earth.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17295337
Election irregularities reported across Russia (NPR)
 
March 4, 2012 -- Monitored by web cameras and a network of volunteer civilian observers, Russians voted Sunday in presidential elections expected to return Vladimir Putin to the Kremlin.
By midday in Moscow, the independent elections watchdog group had recorded more than 1,000 complaints of irregularities across the country, ranging from questionable voter registration lists to nonfunctioning web cameras to buses believed to be carrying so-called "carousel voters" from precinct to precinct.
http://www.npr.org/election-irregularities-reported-across-russia
Syria’s deputy oil minister defects from Assad (Reuters)
 
March 8, 2012 -- Kofi Annan, the U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, said on Thursday he would urge President Bashar al-Assad and his foes to stop fighting and seek a political solution, drawing angry rebukes from dissidents.

"The killing has to stop and we need to find a way of putting in the appropriate reforms and moving forward," said Annan, who is due in Damascus on Saturday.
http://www.reuters.com/us-syria
Satellite images show buildup in Syria (New York Times)
 
March 2, 2012 -- Sometimes pictures are worth much, much more than a thousand words.
The following satellite imagery of the cities of Homs and Hama in Syria were provided by Amnesty International.
While some photographs reveal craters from President Bashar al-Assad’s bombing campaign throughout residential neighborhoods of Homs, others show that the military is also focusing on Hama, a city that was assaulted by Assad’s father 30 years ago (The Washington Post reported that as many as 10,000 people were killed during the three-week siege).
http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/satellite-images-from-syria/  

U.S.
 
Romney wins Ohio, 4 other Super Tuesday states (Sacramento Bee)
 
March 7, 2012 --  Mitt Romney padded his delegate count on the biggest night of the GOPpresidential primary season but Rick Santorumdemonstrated enough strength to ensure that there's more convulsion ahead as Republicans struggle to settle on a candidate to take on President Barack Obama.
Super Tuesday gave Romney a narrow victory in pivotal Ohio, a home-state win in Massachusetts, and triumphs in Idaho, Vermont,Alaska, and Virginia. But it was no knock-out punch.
http://www.sacbee.comsuper-tuesday-voters-put-imprint.html
Seattle’s first urban food forest will be open to foragers (NPR)
 
March 1, 2012 -- If you're a regular reader of The Salt, you've probably noticed our interest in foraging. From San Francisco to Maryland, we've met wild food experts, nature guides and chefs passionate about picking foods growing in their backyards.
Now, Washington state has jumped on the foraging bandwagon with plans to develop a 7-acre public plot into a food forest. The kicker? The lot sits smack in the middle of Seattle.
http://www.npr.org/seattles-first-urban-food-forest-will-be-free-to-forage
Where women stand on the political race (NPR)
 
March 3, 2012 -- As the candidates battle it out, there's a key fact worth remembering: Fifty-three percent of those who cast votes in the last presidential election were women. Host Scott Simon talks with political analyst Michelle Bernard for her take on what right-leaning women are looking for in a presidential candidate.
http://www.npr.org/where-gop-women-stand-on-the-political-race
 
All the ads pulled from Rush Limbaugh’s show (Yahoo! News)
 
March 6, 2012 -- Less than 10 companies had pulled their ads from Rush Limbaugh's radio show Tuesday, when The Atlantic Wire counted the ads still running. Since then, the number pulling their ads has more than doubled.
http://news.yahoo.com/ads-pulled-rush-limbaughs-show
 
Green firms get fed cash, give executives bonuses, fail (ABC)
 
March 6, 2012 -- President Obama's Department of Energy helped finance several green energy companies that later fell into bankruptcy -- but not before the firms doled out six-figure bonuses and payouts to top executives, a Center for Public Integrity and ABC News investigation found.
Take, for instance, Beacon Power Corp., the second recipient of an Energy Department loan guarantee in 2009. In March 2010, the Massachusetts energy storage company paid cash bonuses of $259,285 to three executives in part due to progress made on the $43 million energy loan, Securities and Exchange Commission records show. Last October, Beacon Power filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/green-firms-fed-cash-give-execs-bonuses-fail/story
Big Pharma’s role in the contraception debate (Daily Beast)
March 2, 2012 -- The Obama administration’s mandate that all health insurance companies must provide coverage for contraceptives has set off an explosive debate about religious freedom and women’s health issues. The attention has been focused on the administration’s insistence that religious institutions, such as Catholic hospitals and schools, would be required to offer the benefit for their employees, even though it contradicts church teaching. But completely ignored is the more fundamental problem: this mandate is not only about the bedroom, it’s about the boardroom. You’ve heard of crony capitalism? Well this is America’s first example of crony contraceptives.
http://www.thedailybeast.com/peter-schweizer-big-pharma-s-role-in-the-contraception-debate.html
BP Settlement sells out victims: deal buries evidence of oil company willful negligence (GregPalast.com)
 
March 6, 2012 -- On Friday night, the lawyers for 120,000 victims of the Deepwater Horizon blow-out cut a deal with oil company BP PLC which will save the oil giant billions of dollars. It will also save the company the threat of a trial that could expose the true and very ugly story of the Gulf of Mexico oil platform blow-out.
I have been to the Gulf and seen the damage — and the oil that BP says is gone.  Miles of it.  As an economist who calculated damages for plaintiffs in theExxon Valdez oil spill case, I can tell you right now that there is no way, no how, that the $7.8 billion BP says it will spend on this settlement will cover that damage, the lost incomes, homes, businesses and boats, let alone the lost lives — from cancers, fetal deformities, miscarriages, and lung and skin diseases.
 http://www.gregpalast.com/bp-settlement-sells-out-victimsdeal-buries-evidence-of-oil-company-willful-negligence/ 
 
 Deaths from dangerous gut bacteria hit historic highs (NPR)
 
March 6, 2012 -- Federal health officials Tuesday called on hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and doctors' offices to work harder to fight the spread of a dangerous bacterial infection that can cause life-threatening diarrhea and other complications.
While other health-care related infections have been decreasing in recent years, cases ofClostridium difficile, or C. diff, continue rising, according to Clifford McDonald of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"It is a bacterium that also happens to form spores that produce toxins that affect the colon, the large intestine," Clifford said.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/deaths-from-dangerous-gut-bacteria-hit-historic-highs

Cash mobs profit locally owned stores (PRI)
 
February 23, 2012 -- You’ve heard of flash mobs, where people appear to randomly gather and break into elaborate song and dance routines.
But now, a new phenomenon, called “Cash Mobs,” is spreading.
Instead of breaking into song, members of cash mobs break open their wallets to spend money at locally owned businesses.

 

Since starting last year, cash mobs have been organized in 32 states and Canada. But unlike flash mobs, which are generally entertaining and trivial, they come with a serious purpose. http://www.pri.org/cash-mobs-profit-locally-owned-stores