October 25, 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:
- Mystery in Gulf of Mexico: Why is oil leaking from Deepwater disaster site? (Christian Science Monitor)
- Obama predicts deals on debt, immigration in his second term (The Hill)
- Obama, Romney begin swing state tour in home stretch (LA Times)
- K Street ready for sequestration battle (The Hill)
- CDC: Meningitis mold in tainted drug can incubate for months (NPR)
- Equal pay for equal work: Not even college helps women (NPR)
- Nearly 30% of vets treated by V.A. have PTSD (Newsweek/Daily Beast)
- Drought areas shrink, wheat states see improvement (Reuters)
- Campaigns spar over ‘Romnesia’ charge (The Hill)
- George McGovern, Nixon’s challenger, dies (BBC)
- Fatah claims Palestinian election victory (Telegraph UK)
- Putin flexes muscle in big test of Russia’s nuclear arsenal (Reuters)
- At least 28,000 Syrians forcibly disappeared (Jerusalem Post)
- Gazans blast Israel with rockets, draw air strikes (UT San Diego)
Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.
Mystery in Gulf of Mexico: Why is oil leaking from Deepwater disaster site? (Christian Science Monitor)
October 19, 2012 -- Oil is leaking into the Gulf of Mexico at the rate of about 100 gallons per day near the Macondo wellhead, the site of the oil spill over two years ago that became the worst environmental disaster in US history.
The US Coast Guard reports that the oil has been leaking since at least Sept. 16, when satellite images first revealed a sheen of surface oil located about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast and in the vicinity of where the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20, 2010, killing 11 people.
Five million barrels of oil, or 205 million gallons, were released into the Gulf in the three months following the explosion.
Obama predicts deals on debt, immigration in his second term (The Hill)
October 24, 2012 -- President Obama in a previously off-the-record interview with an Iowa newspaper said he believes a "grand bargain" on the deficit can be reached six months into his second term and that immigration reform can also be approved in 2013.
The Obama administration reversed course Wednesday and allowed the Des Moines Register to release an interview with the president that had previously been off the record. Obama gave the interview as he pursued the influential swing-state paper's endorsement.
While much of the interview included nothing Obama has not said publicly, the president did speak openly about his hopes for a deficit deal, and the troubles he believes Republicans will have opposing immigration legislation.
Obama, Romney begin swing state tour in home stretch (LA Times)
October 23, 2012 -- With the debates behind them, President Obama and challenger Mitt Romneylaunched themselves Tuesday into a final sprint across the half a dozen or so states that will probably decide which of the two claims the White House on Nov. 6.
Obama released a glossy booklet offering his plans for a second term, which he touted in a TV ad claiming progress after four years of middling economic growth. "It's an honor to be your president," Obama said, looking evenly into the camera, "and I'm asking for your vote."
Romney took a more assertive tack, using footage from Monday night's foreign policy debate in a new ad chiding the president for "apologizing" for America and telegraphing weakness as commander in chief. "Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations," Romney said, glaring at the incumbent. "We have freed other nations from dictators."
K Street ready for sequestration battle (The Hill)
October 24, 2012 -- A variety of interests on K Street have amassed their forces to stop the dreaded $1.2 trillion budget sequester, new lobbying disclosures reveal.
President Obama said in Monday night’s debate that the cuts in the sequester won’t happen — a remark that was well-received by the defense contractors, healthcare providers, business groups and unions doing everything in their power to stop it.
Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) reports filed on Monday reveal the widespread opposition to sequestration that has taken root in the influence industry ahead of the post-election lame-duck session.
CDC: Meningitis mold in tainted drug can incubate for months (NPR)
October 20, 2012 -- As the caseload of fungal meningitis linked to a tainted steroid drug climbs, experts are learning more about this human-made epidemic. The signs indicate that cases could still be emerging until Thanksgiving or beyond.
The latest count is 268 cases of meningitis and three patients with fungal joint infections, spread across 16 states from New Hampshire to Texas and Idaho to Florida. Twenty-one people have died.
The illness is caused by a fungus called Exserohilum rostratum, a black mold that usually attacks plants. It's so rare as a cause of human illness that nobody knows its incubation period.
Equal pay for equal work: Not even college helps women (NPR)
October 24, 2012 -- A startling new report finds freshly graduated college women will likely face this hurdle when entering the work world: they're worth less than equally educated men.
The American Association of University Women is releasing a new study that shows when men and women attend the same kind of college, pick the same major and accept the same kind of job, on average, the woman will still earn 82 cents to every dollar that a man earns.
The study, called Graduating to a Pay Gap, points out that job choices may initially explain the problem. For example, many women choose lower paying industries, such as teaching or social sciences, while men select jobs in science and technical industries, which pay more.http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/10/24/163536890/equal-pay-for-equal-work-not-even-college-helps-women?ft=1&f=1003
Nearly 30% of vets treated by V.A. have PTSD (Newsweek/Daily Beast)
October 21, 2012 -- The Department of Veterans Affairs has quietly released a new report on post-traumatic stress disorder, showing that since 9/11, nearly 30 percent of the 834,463Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans treated at V.A. hospitals and clinics have been diagnosed with PTSD.
Veterans advocates say the new V.A. report is the most damning evidence yet of the profound impact multiple deployments have had on American service men and women since 9/11. Troops who’ve been deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan are more than three times as likely as soldiers with no previous deployments to screen positive for PTSD and major depression, according to a 2010 study published by the American Journal for Public Health.
Drought areas shrink, wheat states see improvement (Reuters)
October 18, 2012 -- Drought retreated across many areas of the United States over the last week as storm systems pushed through parched areas, bringing coast-to-coast relief from record-breaking dry conditions.
Roughly 62.39 percent of the contiguous United States was experiencing at least "moderate" drought as of October 16, down from 63.55 percent a week earlier, according to Thursday's Drought Monitor, a weekly compilation of data gathered by federal and academic scientists.
The portion of the United States under "exceptional" drought - the direst classification - fell to 5.84 percent, from 6.18 percent a week earlier.
Campaigns spar over ‘Romnesia’ charge (The Hill)
October 21, 2012 -- Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter on Sunday defended the president’s charge that GOP challenger Mitt Romney is hiding his true positions to win centrist voters.
Speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Cutter said Romney had run his last two campaigns by presenting himself as "severely conservative” to the GOP primary electorate and was now seeking to hide that record.
“And in the last two weeks of this campaign he's suddenly moving to the middle? What about all those policies that he declared?" Cutter asked.
George McGovern, Nixon’s challenger, dies (BBC)
October 21, 2012 -- Former US Senator George McGovern, who stood as the Democratic presidential candidate against Richard Nixon in 1972, has died, aged 90.
His family said he was in a hospice in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and slipped out of consciousness three days ago.
A liberal standard-bearer, McGovern was a vocal opponent of the Vietnam War, but lost to Nixon by a landslide.
Fatah claims Palestinian election victory (Telegraph UK)
October 21, 2012 -- Municipal polls closed at 7pm in villages across the West Bank on Saturday evening. By nightfall, there was already dancing in the streets of Hebron to celebrate a rumoured Fatah win.
But the celebrations may have been premature. By Sunday evening, a rival candidate had also claimed a win in Hebron. Only 33 per cent of those eligible to vote in this predominately Islamist town had actually turned out to the polls, further undermining the result.
Putin flexes muscle in big test of Russia’s nuclear arsenal (Reuters)
October 20, 2012 -- President Vladimir Putin took a leading role in the latest tests of Russia's strategic nuclear arsenal, the most comprehensive since the 1991 Soviet collapse, the Kremlin said on Saturday.
The exercises, held mostly on Friday, featured prominently in news reports on state television which seemed aimed to show Russians and the world that Putin is the hands-on chief of a resurgent power.
Tests involving command systems and all three components of the nuclear "triad" - land and sea-launched long-range nuclear missiles and strategic bombers - were conducted "under the personal leadership of Vladimir Putin", the Kremlin said.
At least 28,000 Syrians forcibly disappeared (Jerusalem Post)
October 19, 2012 -- As heavy fighting continued across Syria on Thursday, an international advocacy group released testimonies from families who said their relatives have been forcibly “disappeared” by the Assad regime.
President Bashar Assad’s forces have disappeared tens of thousands of Syrians since the conflict began 19 months ago, global citizen activist group Avaaz said.
The enforced disappearances are a deliberate tactic to silence dissent by terrorizing families opposed to the regime, the NGO said.
Gazans blast Israel with rockets, draw air strikes (UT San Diego)
October 24, 2012 -- Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip fired dozens of rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel on Wednesday in the heaviest bombardment on the area in months, drawing ominous Israeli threats of retaliation and dangers of escalation.
The violence came a day after a landmark visit to Gaza by the emir of Qatar. Israeli officials suggested the visit, the first by a head of state to the Hamas-ruled territory, emboldened the militant group.