August 17, 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:
- Paul Ryan is Mitt Romney’s pick for Vice Presidential nominee (Washington Post)
- A brief introduction to the potential second lady:
- Flood won’t delay start of solar farm near Blythe:
- New homes burn faster, but states resist sprinklers (Reuters)
- For unpaid college loans, Feds doc Social Security (Smart Money)
- Right wing extremism terrorism as deadly a threat as Al Qaeda? (CNN)
- Blind mice given sight after device cracks retinal code (Bloomberg)
- Thousands rally in Tunisia for women’s rights(Reuters)
- Magnitude 7.3 quake hits eastern Russia (UT San Diego
- China’s ghost towns and shopping malls (BBC)
- Sewage-munching microbes may generate electricity (Reuters)
Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.
Paul Ryan is Mitt Romney’s pick for Vice Presidential nominee (Washington Post)
August 11, 2012 -- Republican Mitt Romney reset the race for the presidency as a battle over the size and scope of the federal government Saturday, choosing as his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the architect of the GOP’s plans to slash spending and overhaul Medicare.
In a risky and surprising move to give his campaign a jolt of momentum, Romney chose the 42-year-old congressman over several contenders considered safer bets. The selection seemed destined to shift the tone of a campaign that has become mired in petty squabbles and force a debate over how to tackle the nation’s fiscal challenges.
A brief introduction to the potential second lady:
August 12, 2012 -- Janna Christine Ryan, née Little, planned to marry Representative on Dec. 2, 2000, in City — about two hours up Interstate 35 from her hometown of Madill. Then decided to reconvene on Dec. 4 to finish up work on the federal budget, and their postwedding plans to go to the Caribbean were suddenly in doubt. Being a politician’s spouse is never a honeymoon. And now that may be truer than ever for Janna, whose husband was just picked as the Republican Party’s next vice-presidential nominee.
Flood won’t delay start of solar farm near Blythe:
August 8, 2012 -- A “100-year flood event” washed out roads and damaged equipment at a major solar project under construction west of Blythe last week. But officials with the Genesis Solar Project said Tuesday it remains on course to begin producing energy next year.
Steven Stengel, spokesman for the Genesis project's owner, Florida-based NextEra Energy, said damage consisted of washed-out roads and damage to “a few mirrors” that will need replacement.
New homes burn faster, but states resist sprinklers (Reuters)
August 10, 2012 -- In Scottsdale, Arizona, any new home must come equipped with fire sprinklers, a decades-old rule lauded by fire safety advocates nationwide. But 12 miles away in Phoenix, city officials are not even allowed to discuss adopting a requirement like Scottsdale's, because of a state law passed last year.
The same is true in Texas, Alabama, Kansas and Hawaii, where in the past four years state governments have enacted bills forbidding cities and towns from requiring sprinklers in new homes. A dozen have forbidden statewide building code councils from including the requirement in their guidelines.
For unpaid college loans, Feds doc Social Security (Smart Money)
August 7, 2012 -- It's no secret that falling behind on student loan payments can squash a borrower's hopes of building savings, buying a home or even finding work. Now, thousands of retirees are learning that defaulting on student-debt can threaten something that used to be untouchable: their Social Security benefits.
According to government data, compiled by the Treasury Department at the request of SmartMoney.com, the federal government is withholding money from a rapidly growing number of Social Security recipients who have fallen behind on federal student loans. From January through August 6, the government reduced the size of roughly 115,000 retirees' Social Security checks on those grounds. That's nearly double the pace of the department's enforcement in 2011; it's up from around 60,000 cases in all of 2007 and just 6 cases in 2000.
Right wing extremism terrorism as deadly a threat as Al Qaeda? (CNN)
August 8, 2012 -- The word "terrorism" in the United States usually brings to mind plots linked in some way to al Qaeda, while the danger posed to the public by white supremacists, anti-abortion extremists and other right-wing militants is often overlooked.
Militants linked to al Qaeda or inspired by jihadist ideology have carried out four terrorist attacks in the United States since September 11, which have resulted in 17 deaths. Thirteen of them were in a shooting incident at Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009.
Blind mice given sight after device cracks retinal code (Bloomberg)
August 13, 2012 -- Blind mice had their vision restored with a device that helped diseased retinas send signals to the brain, according to a study that may lead to new prosthetic technology for millions of sight-impaired people.
Current devices are limited in the aid they provide to people with degenerative diseases of the retina, the part of the eye that converts light into electrical impulses to the brain. In research described today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists cracked the code the retina uses to communicate with the brain.
Thousands rally in Tunisia for women’s rights(Reuters)
August 13, 2012 -- Thousands of Tunisians rallied on Monday to protest against what they see as a push by the Islamist-led government for constitutional changes that would degrade women's status in one of the Arab world's most liberal nations.
The protest, by some 6,000 mostly Tunisian women, is the latest twist in a row over the role of Islam in a constitution being drawn up by a new assembly.
Magnitude 7.3 quake hits eastern Russia (UT San Diego)
August 13, 2012 -- The U.S. Geological Survey says a magnitude 7.3 earthquake has hit the waters off of far eastern Russia. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries and no tsunami was generated.
The quake hit just before 1 p.m. local time Tuesday. It was centered in the Pacific Ocean 160 kilometers (100 miles) east of Poronaysk, Russia, at a depth of more than 625 kilometers (388 miles).
China’s ghost towns and shopping malls (BBC)
August 13, 2012 -- As growth slows, China's huge investment in infrastructure is looking ever harder to sustain, leaving a string of ambitious projects - towns, shopping malls and even a theme park - empty and forlorn.
"We have spoken a lot about these ghost towns in Ireland and Spain recently [but China] is Ireland and Spain on steroids," says Kevin Doran, a senior investment fund manager at Brown Shipley in the UK.
Sewage-munching microbes may generate electricity (Reuters)
August 9, 2012 -- Microbes used to treat human waste might also generate enough electricity to power whole sewage plants, scientists hope.
The technology is based on the relatively new science of electro-microbiology that is finding uses for the discovery that certain microbes can generate an electrical current outside their own cells.
In the context of sewage treatment, they would purify waste water by consuming the organic matter in it and use that energy to generate a current that can be harvested and stored.