July 12, 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:
- Senate Dems plan tax offensive (The Hill)
- U.S. beefs up Gulf naval force amid tensions with Iran (Reuters)
- NOAA: Last 12 months hottest ever (The Hill)
- U.S. delivers ‘powerful commitment’ to Afghanistan (UT San Diego)
- Has ‘organics’ been oversized? (New York Times)
- The tax man cometh to police you on healthcare (UT San Diego)
- Iran says it has plan to close Strait of Hormuz (UT San Diego)
- What does London’s LIBOR mean to the US? (NPR)
- Polonium found on Arafat’s clothes was planted (Jerusalem Post)
- New projects help 3D printing materialize (NPR)
Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.
Senate Dems plan tax offensive (The Hill)
JUly 10, 2012 -- July will be a month of political messaging battles on the Senate floor as Democrats have decided the best defense, during a sluggish economy, is to challenge Republicans on taxes.
The strategy carries some risks for Democrats because taxes are historically a strong issue for the GOP. But during a campaign season when Republicans are bashing Democrats for Medicare cuts, Democrats are looking to turn the tables on taxes.
U.S. beefs up Gulf naval force amid tensions with Iran (Reuters)
July 7, 2012 -- A U.S. navy ship that had been slated for decommissioning has been sent instead to the Gulf to help mine-clearing operations, the U.S. Fifth Fleet based in Bahrain said, the latest move in a gradual U.S. build-up as tensions with Iran smoulder.
A fleet spokesman in Manama said the USS Ponce, described as a "afloat forward staging base" (AFSB), had arrived on Thursday after undergoing refitting for its new mission.
NOAA: Last 12 months hottest ever (The Hill)
JUly 9, 2012 -- The 12-month stretch between July of 2011 and June of 2012 was the warmest year in the contiguous United States since recordkeeping began in 1895, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The temperatures narrowly outpaced the old record, which was for the 12-months from June 2011 to May of 2012.
U.S. delivers ‘powerful commitment’ to Afghanistan (UT San Diego)
July 7, 2012 -- The U.S. designation Saturday of Afghanistan as its newest "major non-NATO ally" amounts to a political statement of support for the country's long-term stability and solidifies close defense cooperation after American combat troops withdraw in 2014.
"We see this as a powerful commitment to Afghanistan's future," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said at a news conference during a brief stop in the Afghan capital. "We are not even imagining abandoning Afghanistan," she said in the grand courtyard of the presidential palace after talks with President Hamid Karzai.
Has ‘organics’ been oversized? (New York Times)
July 7, 2012 -- Michael J. Potter is one of the last little big men left in organic food.
More than 40 years ago, Mr. Potter bought into a hippie cafe and “whole earth” grocery here that has since morphed into a major organic foods producer and wholesaler, Eden Foods.
But one morning last May, he hopped on his motorcycle and took off across the Plains to challenge what organic food — or as he might have it, so-called organic food — has become since his tie-dye days in the Haight district of San Francisco.
The tax man cometh to police you on healthcare (UT San Diego)
July 7, 2012 -- The Supreme Court's decision to uphold most of President Barack Obama's health care law will come home to roost for most taxpayers in about 2 1/2 years, when they'll have to start providing proof on their tax returns that they have health insurance.
That scenario puts the Internal Revenue Service at the center of the debate, renewing questions about whether the agency is capable of policing the health care decisions of millions of people in the United States while also collecting the taxes needed to run the federal government.
Iran says it has plan to close Strait of Hormuz (UT San Diego)
July 7, 2012 -- Iran will block the strategic Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the passageway through which a fifth of the world's oil flows, if its interests are seriously threatened, a senior Iranian military commander said Saturday.
"We do have a plan to close the Strait of Hormuz," state media quoted Gen. Hasan Firouzabadi as saying Saturday. "A Shiite nation (Iran) acts reasonably and would not approve interruption of a waterway ... unless our interests are seriously threatened," Press TV quoted him as saying.
What does London’s LIBOR mean to the US? (NPR)
July 7, 2012 -- Many of us were introduced to the term LIBOR for the first time this week, when it was revealed that some banks might have been manipulating the dull but vital interest rates to gain an edge in the market.
LIBOR – the London Interbank Offered Rate – is a series of interest rates determined by a handful of representatives from the biggest banks in London. The rates are what the banks would charge other banks to borrow on different loan categories, which determines the global flow of billions of dollars and perhaps even the interest rate on your savings account or home mortgage.
Polonium found on Arafat’s clothes was planted (Jerusalem Post)
July 5, 2012 -- The high levels of the radioactive poison polonium reportedly found on the belongings of the late Palestinian leader
YasserArafat indicate that the toxin was planted on them long after his death, a senior counterterrorism analyst told The Jerusalem Post Thursday.
Dr. Ely Karmon, of the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya’s Institute for Counterterrorism, is a specialist in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear terrorism.
New projects help 3D printing materialize (NPR)
July 7, 2012 -- You may have heard of 3-D printers. These are computer controlled machines that create three-dimensional objects from a variety of materials. They've been kind of a novelty for a while but now they are being discovered by everyday consumers. Jon Kalish reports.
JON KALISH, BYLINE: Sean Hurley works for a software company called Autodesk. Not long ago the door on his clothes dryer at home developed a problem. It wouldn't stay shut, which made it impossible to use the dryer.