ECM WORLD WATCH: GLOBAL AND NATIONAL NEWS

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July 19, 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.
  • Drug trial offers hope for Alzheimer’s treatment (USA Today)
  • Worst drought in decades grips nation (Los Angeles Times)
  • Why Democrats are willing to walk off the “fiscal cliff” (Washington Post)
  • Can Obama save manufacturing? (Washington Post)
  • Controversial GOP spending bill released (The Hill)
  • Romney attacks on Bain questioned: Obama campaign accuses Romney of lying about Bain tenure (Boston Globe)
  • Could Obama’s negative attacks on Mitt Romney backfire? (USA Today)
  • NAACP crowd boos Romney for voting to repeal health reform (NBC)
  • Condi Rice a possible VP pick for Romney: pros and cons (CNN)
  • Supreme Court rejects ‘Stolen Valor’ law, says lying about military honors isn’t a crime (McClatchy News)
WORLD
  • Google searching for human traffickers, drug cartels  (Fox)
  • Olympics security shambles is a “humiliating shambles”, boss concedes (CNN)
  • Dutch, U.S. authorities investigating needles in airline sandwiches (CNN)
  • Central Damascus hit by clashes (Reuters) 
 
Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.
 
U.S.
 
Drug trial offers hope for Alzheimer’s treatment (USA Today)
 
July 17, 2012 -- Although it's still in a testing phase, the first long-term treatment shown to halt the progression of Alzheimer's disease is being hailed Tuesday by experts at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference 2012 in Vancouver.
The treatment is an immune therapy called IVIG/Gammagard that has been given intravenously for three years to a small group of participants. The findings on the treatment, made by Baxter International, follow a frustrating nine-year research period during which no new therapies have been discovered for the incurable brain-wasting disease affecting 5.4 million people in theUnited States.
 
Worst drought in decades grips nation (Los Angeles Times)
 
July 17, 2012 -- Many cornstalks at the 1,200-acre Laird farm in Waltonville, Ill., had wilted into brown, desiccated rows by the time the governor arrived Monday to survey drought damage.

Jim Laird, 71, has been raising corn, soybeans and cattle in southern Illinois all his life, and has never seen a drought this bad. This month, his family chopped down part of the spoiled corn crop to supplement the hay they feed their 150 head of cattle — hay that has become costly because of the drought.
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-drought-20120717,0,2272014.story

 
Why Democrats are willing to walk off the “fiscal cliff” (Washington Post)
 
July 17, 2012 -- Less than 24 hours after Democrats publicly pronounced their willingness to jump off the so-called fiscal cliff later this year if Republicans refuse to drop their opposition to ending tax cuts for certain income levels, they got a bit of good news: the public is on their side.
Forty-four percent of people in a new Pew Research Center poll said that a tax increase on incomes over $250,000, which is what President Obama and congressional Democrats are pushing, would help the economy, while 22 percent said it would hurt the economy.
Similarly, 41 percent of Pew respondents said that raising taxes on income over $250,000 would make the tax system “more fair,” while 21 percent said it would make it “less fair”.
 
Can Obama save manufacturing? (Washington Post)
 
July 13, 2012 -- As he campaigns for reelection, President Obama has embraced soaring political rhetoric, pledging to harness the ingenuity of America “to bring manufacturing back.” In beat-up factory towns across the land, he has promoted a vision to rebuild manufacturing after decades of shuttered plants and vanishing middle class jobs.
But he wasn’t always so sure. Three years ago, confronting the issue in an Oval Office debate, Obama was less of the chest-thumping politician he is today. Vice President Biden led a group of advisers who were making the case for an ambitious plan to reverse the industry’s long decline.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/can-obama-save-manufacturing/2012/07/13/gJQAe2zxhW_story.html
Controversial GOP spending bill released (The Hill)
July 17, 2012 -- Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) on Tuesday released his long-awaited, controversial labor, health and education spending bill.
The Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations bill cuts $6.3 billion compared to current funding and $8.8 billion compared to President Obama's budget, and has $150 billion in total spending. 
http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/appropriations/238345-rehberg-releases-labor-health-bill-with-big-cuts
Romney attacks on Bain questioned: Obama campaign accuses Romney of lying about Bain tenure (Boston Globe)
 
July 13, 2012 -- President Obama’s reelection campaign Thursday accused Mitt Romney of lying — and perhaps of breaking federal law — after the Globe reported that government documents listed him as in charge of the private equity firm he founded, Bain Capital, three years longer than he has previously stated.
The Romney campaign called such statements by the Obama team “reckless” and asked the Globe to print a correction, which it has declined to do.
http://www.boston.com/news/politics/articles/2012/07/13/obama_campaign_accuses_mitt_romney_of_lying_about_bain_tenure/  
 
Could Obama’s negative attacks on Mitt Romney backfire? (USA Today)
 
July 17, 2012 -- While the Obama campaign continues its assault on Mitt Romney for his refusal to release more tax returns and his time at Bain Capital, could it run the risk of hurting President Obama's brand? 
The Obama campaign has noted that polls show that highlighting Romney's time at the private equity firm has worked. Last month, an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 33% of swing-state voters saw Romney's business experience negatively while 18% viewed it as an asset.
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/theoval/post/2012/07/could-obamas-negative-attacks-on-romney-backfire/1#.UAWktfVyW3Y
NAACP crowd boos Romney for voting to repeal health reform (NBC)
 
July 11, 2012 -- Mitt Romney found himself on the receiving end of a loud chorus of boos when he promised to repeal health care reform during a speech before the NAACP.
"If our goal is jobs, we have to stop spending over a trillion dollars more than we take in every year. So to do that, I'm going to eliminate every non-essential, expensive program I can find. That includes Obamacare, and I'm going to work to reform and save -- " Romney said, being interrupted by boos.
 
Condi Rice a possible VP pick for Romney: pros and cons (CNN Video)
 
Supreme Court rejects ‘Stolen Valor’ law, says lying about military honors isn’t a crime (McClatchy News)
 
June 28, 2012 -- The Supreme Court Thursday struck down a federal law that makes it a crime to lie about being a military hero. In fact, the justices ruled that many lies are protected by the First Amendment.
The 6-3 ruling came in a case involving Xavier Alvarez, a former local elected official who at a 2007 water board meeting in Southern California falsely claimed that he had served as a Marine and received a Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military decoration. As Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority, “Lying was his habit.”
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/06/28/154274/supreme-court-rejects-stolen-valor.html
 
WORLD
 
Google searching for human traffickers, drug cartels  (Fox)
 
July 17, 2012 -- Forget videos of cute kittens or good deals on iPads. For the past few months, Google has been quietly turning its search capabilities to something far more challenging: criminals.
Drug cartels, money launderers and human traffickers run their sophisticated operations online — and Google Ideas, Google Inc.'s think tank, is working with the Council on Foreign Relations and other organizations to look for ways to use technology to disrupt international crime.
 
Olympics security shambles is a “humiliating shambles”, boss concedes (CNN)
 
July 17, 2012 --  British lawmakers tore into the chief executive of the security contractor that will be unable to deliver enough guards for the Olympic Games, forcing Nick Buckles to agree Tuesday that the fiasco is "a humiliating shambles."
Buckles, the chief executive of G4S, said the company should not have agreed to provide 10,400 guards for the Olympics, six days after the security giant admitted it could not do so.
"We regret signing the contract," Buckles said under pressure from lawmakers.
 
Dutch, U.S. authorities investigating needles in airline sandwiches (CNN)
 
July 17, 2012 -- Dutch authorities have joined the FBI in conducting criminal investigations into the discovery of needles in six sandwiches aboard four Delta Air Lines flights from Amsterdam to the United States, a military police spokesman in the Netherlands said Tuesday.
One person was injured when he bit into a sandwich containing a needle, Delta and Dutch officials said. That passenger, James Tonjes, said he thought the object was a toothpick at first.
 
Central Damascus hit by clashes (Reuters)
 
July 17, 2012 -- Fighting is intensifying across the Syrian capital Damascus, where the military has deployed tanks and helicopters, activists say. Shooting was reported in one of the main central streets and a square housing the Central Bank. Rebel forces say they have launched an all-out assault on the capital, calling it Operation Damascus Volcano.
UN envoy Kofi Annan has held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow over the crisis.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-18866265