ECM WORLD WATCH: GLOBAL AND NATIONAL NEWS

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June 14, 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.
  • Corporate political efforts don’t guarantee results—study (Reuters)
  • Romney energy plan includes drilling virtually every part of U.S. – no protections even for national parks (Think Progress)
  • Issa demands documents on green energy loans (Fox News)
  • Presidential projections on wind power flawed according to new book (KXXV)
  • Justice Department sues Florida over voter purge (Huffington Post)
  • Mojave desert: Military wants to limit wind development (Riverside Press Enterprise)
  • Sebelius:  Medicare stronger than ever due to healthcare law (The Hill)
  • Family net worth drops to level of early ‘90s (NY Times)
  • Colorado wildfire moving fast, not contained (BBC)
  • California tribes suing to halt construction of wind factory on sacred land (Indian Country Today)
  • Open letter asks Obama to meet with Tribal leaders on Ocotillo Express wind project (Indian Country Today)
WORLD
  • Russian protesters demand Putin resignation (CNN)
  • U.N.: Syria children tortured, used as human shields (CNN)
  • Syria in Civil War, says U.N. official (BBC)
  • Solar-powered “super trees” breathe life into Sinagapore urban oasis (CNN)
  • Scottish Power (a division of Iberdrola, developer of Tule Wind) tests U.S. tax breaks on interest (Reuters)
  • Ruling on wind farm says countryside as important as climate change targets (UK Telegraph)
Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.
 
U.S.
 
Corporate political efforts don’t guarantee results—study (Reuters)
 
June 12, 2012 -- Despite a popular belief that spending on lobbyists and political gifts yield fat dividends for business, a study has found just the opposite - that in general higher corporate spending in Washington is linked to worse market performance.

Researchers from Rice University in Texas and Long Island University in New York analyzed end-of-year stock value and return on assets of 943 companies in the S&P 1500 over 11 years and lined up those factors against spending on campaign donations, lobbyists and other political giving.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/12/us-usa-campaign-money-idUSBRE85B07120120612
Romney energy plan includes drilling virtually every part of U.S. – no protections even for national parks (Think Progress)
 
June 9, 2012 -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is no stranger to attacks on the environment, as seen in his ads against clean energy jobs, his pledge to roll back fuel economy standards that protect public health and reduce carbon pollution, and the fact that he doesn’t know “the purpose of” public lands that belong to all Americans.
But this morning’s Washington Post sheds more light on Romney’s energy plan, including the fact that he would open up “virtually every part of U.S. lands and waters” to drilling regardless of whether they are national parks, national monuments, or protected in some other way.  As the Post reports:
 
Issa demands documents on green energy loans (Fox News Video)
 
 
Presidential projections on wind power flawed according to new book (KXXV)
 
 May 30, 2012 -- Presidents Bush and Obama both supported wind power development by publicly referencing a Department of Energy (DOE) study that contains serious flaws, according to a new environmental book by UC Berkeley visiting scholar Ozzie Zehner. GREEN ILLUSIONS (University of Nebraska Press, June 2012) draws upon previously unpublished interviews with the DOE. According to Green Illusions, the DOE report renders a picture of wind energy that is up to six times more impressive than the department's own field experience would indicate.
http://www.kxxv.com/story/18654436/presidential-projections-on-wind-power-flawed-according-to-new-book
 
Justice Department sues Florida over voter purge (Huffington Post)
 
June 14, 2012 -- The governor's contentious push to remove thousands of potentially ineligible voters from Florida's lists has been met with a lawsuit from the Justice Department and handled very differently by the state's independent election supervisors, many of whom questioned the accuracy of the effort.
Gov. Rick Scott initiated the push last year to identify and remove non-U.S. citizens.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/12/justice-department-sues-florida-voter-purge_n_1591354.html
Mojave desert: Military wants to limit wind development (Riverside Press Enterprise)
 
With a PowerPoint presentation and a dot of red light, military officials dropped a bomb on California’s wind energy industry at a recent public meeting.
Using a laser pointer, a Navy official outlined on a map a vast area where the military wants to limit commercial wind development. The pointer swept across the Mojave Desert, skirting around Las Vegas, and edging near San Bernardino County’s High Desert communities and touching the southern Sierra Nevada range.
http://www.pe.com/local-news/topics/topics-environment-headlines/20120520-mojave-desert-military-wants-to-limit-wind-development.ece
 
Sebelius:  Medicare stronger than ever due to healthcare law (The Hill)
 
June 11, 2012 -- Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius praised the healthcare reform law Monday for bolstering Medicare and appeared to criticize GOP proposals that would partially privatize the program. 

"Before the [healthcare] law passed, there were gaps in Medicare coverage," Sebelius said at a town hall on seniors' health sponsored by the White House. 
http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/232079-sebelius-medicare-stronger-than-ever-due-to-health-law

 
Family net worth drops to level of early ‘90s (NY Times)
 
The recent economic crisis left the median American family in 2010 with no more wealth than in the early 1990s, erasing almost two decades of accumulated prosperity, theFederal Reserve said Monday.

A hypothetical family richer than half the nation’s families and poorer than the other half had a net worth of $77,300 in 2010, compared with $126,400 in 2007, the Fed said. The crash of housing prices directly accounted for three-quarters of the loss.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/12/business/economy/family-net-worth-drops-to-level-of-early-90s-fed-says.html?_r=1&hp
Colorado wildfire moving fast, not contained (BBC)
 
June 11, 2012 -- A fast-moving wildfire near Fort Collins in the US state of Colorado has scorched nearly 37,000 acres (14,973 hectares) of land, officials say.
The fire has not been contained and sheriff's officials described conditions as "concerning".
Hundreds of residents have been evacuated and 18 structures have been burned or damaged in the blaze.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-18398600
California tribes suing to halt construction of wind factory on sacred land (Indian Country Today)
 
May 29, 2012 -- The Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management has the following warning on its web page regarding Southern California’s Coyote Mountain: “Removal, disturbance, or attempting to remove archaeological materials is a felony. Selling, receiving, purchasing, transporting, exchanging or offering to do so is prohibited by law.”
http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/05/29/california-tribes-are-suing-to-halt-the-construction-of-a-wind-factory-on-sacred-land-115296
 
Open letter asks Obama to meet with Tribal leaders on Ocotillo Express wind project (Indian Country Today)
 
June 3, 2012 -- An anonymous blogger has posted an open letter to President Barack Obama on Indigenous Reflections, asking him to meet with tribal leaders in southern California to talk about a massive wind energy project proposed on sacred tribal land that holds countless burial and cremation sites and tens of thousands of artifacts of cultural heritage.
http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/06/03/open-letter-asks-obama-to-meet-tribal-leaders-on-ocotillo-wind-project-116134
 
WORLD
 
Russian protesters demand Putin resignation (CNN)
 
June 12, 2012 -- Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters marched in Moscow on Tuesday, rejecting the legitimacy of President Vladimir Putin and demanding new elections, a prominent opposition leader said.

"We believe that his presidency right now is not legitimate at all," former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov told CNN from the rally.
 
U.N.: Syria children tortured, used as human shields (CNN)
 
June 12, 2012 -- The Syrian regime has used children as human shields and tortured youths whose parents are suspected dissidents, according to a U.N. report.
The report on children and armed conflict details accounts of juveniles allegedly abused by pro-government forces and came as a top U.N. official said the conflict in Syria has spiraled into a civil war.
 
Syria in Civil War, says U.N. official (BBC)
 
June 12, 2012 -- Syria is now in a state of civil war and the government has lost control of "large chunks" of cities, the UN's head of peacekeeping has told reporters.
It is the first time a UN official has formally voiced that view.
His comments came as UN monitors in Syria were fired on as they tried to reach the besieged town of Haffa.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18417952
Solar-powered “super trees” breathe life into Singapore urban oasis (CNN)
 
June 8, 2012 -- Singapore's latest development will finally blossom later this month, with an imposing canopy of artificial trees up to 50 meters high towering over a vast urban oasis.
The colossal solar-powered supertrees are found in the Bay South garden, which opens to the public on June 29. It is part of a 250-acre landscaping project -- Gardens by the Bay -- that is an initiative from Singapore's National Parks Board that will see the cultivation of flora and fauna from foreign lands.
 
Scottish Power (a division of Iberdrola, developer of Tule Wind) tests U.S. tax breaks on interest (Reuters)
 
June 6, 2012 -- The U.S. Tax Court is expected to issue shortly its first major decision in years on the tax deductibility of interest in certain corporate debt transactions in a case that pits the UK's Scottish Power against the Internal Revenue Service.
The IRS is challenging $932 million in interest deductions taken by the power utility on $4 billion in intercompany notes issued between company units. The tax collector argues that the transactions should be treated as equity, which would nullify the deductions taken by the Spanish-owned company.
http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/06/06/usa-tax-debtversusequity-idINL1E8GMDI320120606
Ruling on wind farm says countryside as important as climate change targets (UK Telegraph)
 
May 29, 2012 -- The Coalition is obliged to boost the amount of energy from renewables as part of climate change targets imposed by Europe.
This will mean more than doubling the amount of energy from onshore wind over the next ten years and building at least another 5,000 wind turbines onshore.
Sea Land and Power Ltd argued that the wind farm near Gt Yarmouth would help to meet these targets.