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September 6, 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:   



  • The way ahead: U.S. hands of war to Afghan troops (UT San Diego)
  • Sorry savers, interest rates set record lows (ABC News)
  • Federal  Reserve audit finds $16 trillion in secret loans  (Senator Bernie Sanders, author of amendment requiring the audit)
  • Residents impacted by Isaac return home (CBS News)
  • National Conference of American Indians opposes Dept. of Interior fast-tracking on renewable energy projects near Colorado River
  • Are small businesses being heard this election year? (Entrepreneur)
  • Dumped by home insurance after a disaster?  (
  • VA phone calls won’t solve massive problems (The Reno dispatch)



  • More than 100,000 Syrians flee in one month (CNN)
  • 7.6 quake in Philippines triggers tsunami alert (CNBC)
  • Syrian rebels hit back at Assad’s air power (Reuters)

Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.



The way ahead: U.S. hands of war to Afghan troops (UT San Diego)

September 1, 2012 -- As about half the Marine force in Afghanistan headed home this year, the rapid drawdown in the violent southwest of the country cast the endgame of the war and what many regard as its precarious footing into relief — the handoff to Afghan national security forces.

Helmand province, a nexus of the narcotics trade in the heartland of the Taliban insurgency, has borne much of the heaviest fighting of the 11-year war. In recent years this fertile river valley traversing the desert has also been a killing field for a disproportionate number of Marines among coalition deaths nationwide.

Sorry savers, interest rates set record lows (ABC News)

July 16. 2012 -- Interest rates hit another all-time low Monday, which is great news for borrowers but keeps savers in the land of no returns.

The bellwether 10-year Treasury note yielded 1.46% Monday and went as low as 1.44% in intraday trading. Bond traders push rates down when they think the economy is slowing and inflation is unlikely.

Rates on 30-year fixed mortgages closely follow the 10-year T-note yield. On Thursday, the average mortgage rate fell to a record low of 3.56%, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

Federal  Reserve audit finds $16 trillion in secret loans  (Senator Bernie Sanders, author of amendment requiring the audit)

September 6, 2012 -- The first top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve uncovered eye-popping new details about how the U.S. provided a whopping $16 trillion in secret loans to bail out American and foreign banks and businesses during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. An amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders to the Wall Street reform law passed one year ago this week directed the Government Accountability Office to conduct the study. "As a result of this audit, we now know that the Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in total financial assistance to some of the largest financial institutions and corporations in the United States and throughout the world," said Sanders. "This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you're-on-your-own individualism for everyone else."

Residents impacted by Isaac return home (CBS News)

September 1, 2012 -- Killer storm Isaac is still alive, weakened but pounding the Midwest. Heavy rain hit from Arkansas to Missouri and north toward Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. But in the south, Isaac left a trail of death and destruction: seven dead; more than 400,000 still without power; and insurance claims that could top a billion dollars.

Officials in St. Tammany Parish had just ordered a mandatory evacuation for residents living near a canal, an area of about 1,200 homes. They fear that a lock could breach and they're actually picking up evacuees on the highway there. Meanwhile, in other parts of the state, people are starting to come home.;cbsCarousel

National Conference of American Indians opposes Dept. of Interior fast-tracking on renewable energy projects near Colorado River

 2012 Midyear -- WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and

Are small businesses being heard this election year? (Entrepreneur)

August 28, 2012 -- President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have talked frequently about small-business owners and entrepreneurs in their stump speeches recently, suggesting they're in touch with America's nearly 30 million small enterprises. But, when it comes down to it, how strong of a voice do small businesses really have this election season?

According to many business owners and experts, not very.

Dumped by home insurance after a disaster?  (

If you live in a state that suffers from severe weather such as tornadoes or hurricanes, finding good homeowners insurance is getting more difficult as weather patterns grow more extreme.

In the aftermath of weather-related catastrophes, insurers can face a flood of insurance claims and as a result of the expense eventually drop thousands of policies. For example, Alabama-based insurance company Alfa announced in June that it wouldn't renew 73,000 home policies after tornadoes battered the state in April. After Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, insurance giant State Farm stopped writing new policies in Mississippi. And following more recent hurricanes, 20 percent of homes on the Alabama coast are going without any wind insurance due to staggering rate increases. The state's four largest insurance companies have canceled 50,000 policies in coastal Alabama, according to Carl Schneider, partner at Schneider Insurance and member of the Coastal Alabama Leadership Council, or CALC.

VA phone calls won’t solve massive problems (The Reno dispatch)

August 30, 2012 -- Despite the presumably sincere efforts of the Obama Administration and good intentions of at least some leaders at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the waiting time for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking their disability benefits from VA is getting longer, according to a report released this week from the Berkeley-based Center for Investigative Reporting

Despite the shame of VA's ongoing disability backlog, the department distributed another self-congratulatory press release this week announcing that a brief therapeutic phone conversation they’ve dubbed “motivational interviewing” is more effective than a simple “check-in” call in convincing veterans with mental health diagnoses to begin getting treatment.


Obama’s 2008 promises:  kept or broken? (CBS)

September 4, 2012 -- Four years ago, when President Obama accepted the presidential nomination at the Democratic convention in Denver, he made several specific policy promises -- in addition to general promises of hope and change. Here's a look at the specific promises from that speech and whether or not he's followed through.


"I will stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America." PARTIALLY KEPT;cbsCarousel

Democratic convention to make case for 4 more years (BBC)

September 5, 2012 -- US First Lady Michelle Obama has made an impassioned speech backing her husband, President Barack Obama, for another four-year White House term.

Closing the first night of the Democratic convention, Mrs Obama spoke of the vision and values that guided him as president.

She said it was an "extraordinary privilege" to serve as first lady.

President Obama will formally accept the nomination on Thursday, and face Republican Mitt Romney in November.

Romney and Ryan fault Obama’s economic maneuvers (Los Angeles Times)

 August 25, 2012 -- Mitt Romney had a warmup for next week’s convention speech Saturday, engaging in call-answer chant with an enthusiastic crowd of several thousand people here — and comparing the “faint sound” of protesters in the distance to “a Greek chorus.”

Appearing at a rally here with vice presidential candidatePaul Ryan before the two headed separately to theRepublican National Convention, Romney kept a tight focus on his critique of President Obama’s economic record while protesters — who held gravestone-shaped signs bearing slogans like “Medicare R.I.P” and “Hands off my Medicare” chanted within earshot across a lawn.,0,2914523.story

Romney on the offensive (CBS)


Obama: GOP ideas “better for the last century” (Yahoo News)


Obama finds key asset in Bill Clinton’s support (Washington Post)

September 3, 2012 -- Four years ago in Denver, Bill Clinton was given the assignment of making the world believe that he liked Barack Obama and wanted him to be president. As one longtime confidant put it, “He had to go out there and say, ‘Yeah, Obama beat the blank out of me and my wife, but still, you should be with him.’ ” But that was then.

On Wednesday night here, Clinton will be tasked with a mission that has largely frustrated President Obama: Cut through the political clutter and clarify the choice in November. Explain, in his inimitable way, in language that persuadable voters in middle-class America can understand, what Obama has accomplished and why his economic policies would pull the nation out of tough times and GOP alternatives would not.


More than 100,000 Syrians flee in one month (CNN)

September 4, 2012 -- More than 100,000 Syrians fled the country in August, by far the most of any previous month in the civil war, the United Nations said Tuesday.

Here are the latest key developments in the 18-month crisis:


U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, speaking in New York at a meeting of the General Assembly, described the humanitarian situation sparked by the crisis in Syria as "grave and deteriorating."

7.6 quake in Philippines triggers tsunami alert (CNBC)

An earthquake of 7.6 magnitude struck off the Philippines on Friday, destroying roads and bridges and sending people fleeing to higher ground in fear of a tsunami.

The quake was centered off the east coast, 91 miles (146 km) off the town of Guiuan in Samar province at a depth of about 20 miles (32 km), the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning for much of the region, but later scaled it back leaving it in place for the Philippines and Indonesia.

Syrian rebels hit back at Assad’s air power (Reuters)

September1, 2012 -- Rebels seized an air defense facility and attacked a military airport in eastern Syria on Saturday, a monitoring group said, hitting back at an air force which President Bashar al-Assad is increasingly relying on to crush his opponents.

The attacks in eastern oil-producing Deir al-Zor province follow rebel strikes against military airports in the Aleppo and Idlib areas, close to the border with Turkey.


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