ECM WORLD WATCH: GLOBAL AND NATIONAL NEWS

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October 18, 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.

  • Fresh signs of U.S. housing recovery (BBC)
  • This is the biggest economic story in the world ( Business Insider)
  • Man arrested after plotting federal reserve bomb, authorities say (CNN)
  • Women’s issues move to forefront after debate (Washington Post)
  • Romney’s missteps on Libya may hurt criticism of Obama foreign policy (Washington Post)
  • Obama edges Romney in second debate: Poll (CBS)
  • Conservatives assail debate moderator Crowley (CBS)

WORLD

  • Report: Syria using widely banned cluster bombs (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Israel parliament to hold new election (UT San Diego)
  • Russia moves to prosecute leader of protests (Reuters)
  • Thousands of British troops to leave Afghanistan in 2013 (Reuters)
  • Thousands march in Spain to protest austerity (UT San Diego)
  • French president proposes banning homework (ABC News)
  • Firefox 16: latest upgrade taken offline due to security (BBC)

Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

U.S.

Fresh signs of U.S. housing recovery (BBC)

October 17, 2012 -- New homes were started at the fastest rate since July 2008 in September, official figures show.

The Commerce Department said single family homes and apartments were started at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000 in September, which was up 15% from the previous month.

But it is still well below the 1.5 million seen as healthy pre-recession.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19979440

This is the biggest economic story in the world ( Business Insider)

October 17, 2012 -- This is really the big story of the moment: The full-on comeback in everything related to consumers and households.

Let's just break it down really fast.

http://www.businessinsider.com/consumer-comeback-2012-10#ixzz29aFWa69i

Man arrested after plotting federal reserve bomb, authorities say (CNN)

October 18, 2012 -- Federal authorities running a sting operation arrested a 21-year-old Bangladeshi man, who came to the U.S. on a student visa and was allegedly planning to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York with what he believed was a 1,000-pound bomb, officials said.

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis was detained Wednesday after an alleged attempt to detonate the device, which was inert and part of an elaborate investigation by federal authorities and NYPD detectives.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/17/justice/new-york-federal-reserve-terror-plot/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

Women’s issues move to forefront after debate (Washington Post)

October 17, 2012 -- Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s awkward comment during the second presidential debate that he had received “binders full of women” as Massachusetts governor when he requested more female job candidates went fully viral Wednesday, drawing snickers from voters but also fueling a broader fight between the two campaigns over the key support of women.

Romney’s remark was just a sliver of the discussion Tuesday night about issues relevant to women, with the candidates tussling over subjects such as contraception and unequal pay. The battle escalated on Wednesday, as President Obama worked to reclaim his advantage among women — and as the Romney campaign returned to its core argument that the Republican is better suited to manage women’s top concern, the economy.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/decision2012/womens-issues-help-shape-presidential-debate/2012/10/17/8a66f738-184c-11e2-9855-71f2b202721b_story.html?hpid=z1

Romney’s missteps on Libya may hurt criticism of Obama foreign policy (Washington Post)

October 17, 2012 -- A series of missteps by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in criticizing President Obama’s account of the Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, might make it harder for him to continue using the incident as the heart of his wider complaint about the incumbent’s foreign policy record.

Romney has seized on the coordinated attack, which killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, to back his contention that Obama has weakened the United States’ presence in the world and overseen an intentional diminution of American influence abroad.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/decision2012/romney-missteps-on-libya-may-hurt-bid-to-bash-obama-on-foreign-policy/2012/10/17/83bb5b00-1869-11e2-a55c-39408fbe6a4b_story.html?hpid=z2

Obama edges Romney in second debate: Poll (CBS)

October 16, 2012 -- President Obama edged Mitt Romney for a win in the second presidential debate Tuesday night, 37 percent of uncommitted voters said in a CBS News instant poll.

Moments following the debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., 37 percent of voters polled said the president won, 30 percent awarded the victory to Romney, and 33 percent called it a tie. After some particularly animated exchanges between the two candidates, 55 percent of voters said Mr. Obama gave direct answers, but 49 percent also said that about Romney.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57533850/poll-obama-edges-romney-in-second-debate/?tag=fdleft;fdmodule

Conservatives assail debate moderator Crowley (CBS)

October 17, 2012 -- Moderator Candy Crowley is facing criticism over her performance in the second presidential debate, with conservatives alleging that she sided with President Obama and one group even calling on her to be fired.  

"Crowley's behavior goes beyond despicable as it was a blatant attempt to influence the presidential election," Americans for Limited Government said in a statement Wednesday. "If CNN wants to maintain any shred of credibility as a 'news' organization, they should fire Crowley immediately for her gross violation of whatever remains of journalistic standards."

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57534438/conservatives-assail-debate-moderator-candy-crowley/?tag=contentAux;mostPopular

WORLD

Report: Syria using widely banned cluster bombs (Christian Science Monitor)

October 14, 2012 -- An international human rights group said Sunday it has obtained new evidence that Syrian troops are using cluster bombs – widely banned munitions that pose a grave risk to civilians because they burst into bomblets over large areas and often linger on the ground, detonating only when touched.

Steve Goose of US-based Human Right Watch said cluster bombs "have been comprehensively banned by most nations, and Syria should immediately stop all use of these indiscriminate weapons that continue to kill and maim for years." HRW had previously reported cluster bomb remnants found in Homs and nearby Hama this summer.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Latest-News-Wires/2012/1014/Report-Syria-using-widely-banned-cluster-bombs?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+feeds%2Fworld+%28Christian+Science+Monitor+|+World%29

Israel parliament to hold new election (UT San Diego)

October 15, 2012 -- Israel officially opened its election season on Monday as parliament prepared to dissolve itself and schedule a vote for January, plunging the country into a vicious, three-month political campaign.

Israeli leaders launched harsh attacks on one another during a parliamentary debate that preceded the vote, setting the parameters for what is likely to follow in the campaign. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boasted of his achievements, while the opposition heckled and insulted him mercilessly.

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/oct/15/israeli-parliament-to-schedule-new-election/

Russia moves to prosecute leader of protests (Reuters)

October 17,Russian investigators began criminal proceedings against a prominent leader of protests against President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, saying a documentary on a pro-Kremlin TV channel showed evidence Sergei Udaltsov had plotted mass disorder.

Government critics and civic rights groups says the Kremlin is carrying out a coordinated clampdown on dissent by exerting legal pressure to try to sideline activists who have led the biggest opposition protests in Putin's nearly 13-year-long rule, spurred by allegations of widespread election fraud.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/17/us-russia-protest-charges-idUSBRE89G0A420121017?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Reuters%2FworldNews+%28Reuters+World+News%29

Thousands of British troops to leave Afghanistan in 2013 (Reuters)

October 14, 2012 -- Britain plans to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan next year, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said on Sunday, as pressure mounts to end British involvement in the costly and unpopular war.

More than 430 British troops have been killed in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led intervention in 2001, yet stability remains elusive and violence high, while relations between Western troops and Afghan forces and civilians are increasingly frayed.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/14/us-britain-afghanistan-withdrawal-idUSBRE89D03F20121014?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Reuters%2FworldNews+%28Reuters+World+News%29

Thousands march in Spain to protest austerity (UT San Diego)

October 13, 2012 -- Several thousand anti-austerity protesters in Spain marched down a major street in the capital banging pots and pans Saturday.

Many protesters also blew whistles as they blocked part of the Castellana boulevard Saturday carrying placards saying "We don't owe, we won't pay."

"None of us pushed the banks to lend huge sums of money to greedy property speculators, yet we are being asked to pay for other's mistakes," 34-year-old civil servant Maria Costa, who was banging an old pot along with her two children, said.

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/oct/13/thousands-march-in-spain-to-protest-austerity/

French president proposes banning homework (ABC News)

October 17, 2012 -- Talk about courting the youth vote. French President François Hollande has proposed banning homework as part of a series of policies designed to reform the French educational system.

“Education is priority,” Hollande said in a speech at Paris’s Sorbonne University. “An education program is, by definition, a societal program. Work should be done at school, rather than at home.”

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/10/french-president-proposes-banning-homework/

Firefox 16: latest upgrade taken offline due to security (BBC)

October 11, 2012 -- The latest version of Mozilla's Firefox browser has been taken offline after a security vulnerability was discovered.

Users who had upgraded to version 16 were advised to downgrade to the previous safe release until Firefox developers released a fix.

The vulnerability allowed "a malicious site to potentially determine which websites users have visited", Mozilla said.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19909106