ECM WORLD WATCH: GLOBAL AND NATIONAL NEWS

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November 28, 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 reflecti 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.

WORLD

HEALTH

Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

U.S.

Supreme  Court blocks Illinois law banning taping of police (Chicago Tribune)

November 26, 2012 -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal of a controversial Illinois law prohibiting people from recording police officers on the job.

By passing on the issue, the justices left in place a federal appeals court ruling that found that the state's anti-eavesdropping law violates free-speech rights when used against people who audiotape police officers.

More Republicans break with Norquist on anti-tax pledge (Washington Post)

November 26, 2012 -- A pair of congressional Republicans reiterated their willingness Sunday to violate an anti-tax pledge in order to strike a deal on the “fiscal cliff,” echoing Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the Georgia Republican who suggested last week that the oath may be outdated.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said he was prepared to set aside Grover Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge if Democrats will make an effort to reform entitlements, and Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) suggested the pledge may be out of step in the present economy.

U.S. Fiscal cliff: Death, taxes and the GOP (BBC)

November 25, 2012 -- For nearly a quarter of a century we've been able to cling to another certainty, namely that the Republican Party, would never raise taxes. Never.

Since 1990 no Republican in Congress has voted to increase anyone's income tax.

Through three recessions, two booms and three wars the right wing of US politics has held fast to its most important economic principle: taxes must never, ever rise.

U.S. gas prices see sharpest dip since 2008 (CNN)

November 5, 2012 -- An ongoing skid in crude oil markets and the impact of Superstorm Sandy helped drive U.S. gasoline prices down nearly 21 cents a gallon in late October, the latest Lundberg Survey found.

The national average price of regular gas fell to $3.55 a gallon between October 19 and November 2, survey publisher Trilby Lundberg said.

"It's the biggest price decline in our surveys since early December 2008, when the recession hit in full force," Lundberg said.

Millions will qualify for new options under health care law in next few months; most have no idea (Washington Post)

November 21, 2012 -- After surviving a Supreme Court decision and a presidential election, the Obama administration’s health-care law faces another challenge: a public largely unaware of major changes that will roll out in the coming months.

States are rushing to decide whether to build their own health exchanges and the administration is readying final regulations, but a growing body of research suggests that most low-income Americans who will become eligible for subsidized insurance have no idea what’s coming.

Five economic trends to be thankful for (Washington Post)

November 21, 2012 -- There is a dirty little secret about economics writing. The thing that offers the surest path to glory — to front page play for a story, to lots of Web traffic, to a pat on the back from editors — is doom and gloom. When we can point out something that is awful, whether it is a collapsing job market or rising poverty or skyrocketing gasoline prices, the world seems a whole lot more interested in what we have to say. It’s not for nothing they call economics the dismal science.

WORLD

Electronic tracking: New constraint for Saudi women (France24)

November 22, 2012 -- Denied the right to travel without consent from their male guardians and banned from driving, women in Saudi Arabia are now monitored by an electronic system that tracks any cross-border movements.

Since last week, Saudi women's male guardians began receiving text messages on their phones informing them when women under their custody leave the country, even if they are travelling together.

Anger as Hungarian far-right leader demands list of Jews (Reuters)

November 27, 2012 -- A Hungarian far-right politician urged the government to draw up lists of Jews who pose a "national security risk", stirring outrage among Jewish leaders who saw echoes of fascist policies that led to the Holocaust.

Marton Gyongyosi, a leader of Hungary's third-strongest political party Jobbik, said the list was necessary because of heightened tensions following the brief conflict in Gaza and should include members of parliament.

Spanish company involved in nuclear smuggling scheme with Iran (Reuters)

November 26, 2012 -- A company from Spain's Basque country smuggled machinery to Iran for likely use in the country's nuclear programme through an elaborate scheme involving a shell company in Turkey, Spanish tax authorities said on Monday.

Spain's tax agency said the company had managed to send over seven machines designed to make parts for turbines used in energy plants, in a scheme that violated United Nations security council sanctions against Iran.

Clinton announces cease fire between Israel and Hamas (The Hill)

November 21, 2012 -- Israel and Hamas have agreed to a cease-fire in Gaza after a week of rocket fire and retaliatory Israeli air strikes left at least 100 Palestinians and three Israelis dead, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday.

Clinton made the announcement alongside her Egyptian counterpart after a flurry of meetings with Israeli, Palestinian and Egyptian officials as well as UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon. Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr said the truce would take effect at 9 p.m. local time, speaking to reporters in Cairo. 

With Clinton’s shuttle diplomacy success, focus shifts to long-term Mideast solution (Washington Post)

November 21, 2012 -- The Obama administration notched two diplomatic successes in one stroke with the cease-fire announced Wednesday between Hamas and Israel.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s shuttle diplomacy yielded a short-term victory that experts say may translate to greater diplomatic leverage for the administration down the road.

Egypt: Who holds the power? (BBC)

November 27, 2012 -- Opposition leaders in Egypt have expressed outrage at President Mohammed Mursi's decision to grant himself sweeping new powers. A new emergency decree says the president's decisions cannot be revoked by any authority, including the judiciary.

The president insists the powers he has taken are meant to be temporary, but their breadth has raised fears that he might become a new strongman. The dispute has raised questions about where power lies in the country.

Egyptian judges prepare for a strike (NPR)

November 26, 2012 -- After a series of controversial decrees by Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi, the country's judges are conflicted over what to do.

The president and Egypt's highest judicial authority met Monday to try to resolve the crisis, but the decrees, which essentially nullify judicial oversight, remained in place. And the judges are going ahead with plans for a strike.

Call for noise based wind buffer laws (Queensland Country Life)

November 20, 2012  -- LANDHOLDERS supporting a proposed wind farm south of Kingaroy have called on the State Government to introduce buffer zone legislation based on the noise impacts in the specific region rather than a blanket exclusion area.

The State Government will finalise the approval process for wind farm development early next year as part of its six-month action plan, released in July.

The Department of Energy and Water Supply is examining a range of matters associated with wind farm developments, including those relating to noise and health. 

HEALTH

Grapefruit and pills mix: warning (BBC)

November 26, 2012 -- Doctors have warned of a "lack of knowledge" about the dangers of mixing some medications with grapefruit.

The fruit can cause overdoses of some drugs by stopping the medicines being broken down in the intestines and the liver.

The researchers who first identified the link said the number of drugs that became dangerous with grapefruit was increasing rapidly.

Abortion rate drops 5%, largest drop in decade (LA Times)

November 21, 2012 -- The rate of abortions in the United States fell by 5%, the largest single-year decrease in a decade, researchers for theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention reported.



The decline is outlined in the annual abortion surveillance data for the year 2009, the latest available. It was publishedon Wednesday in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Rare Meat Allergy Caused By Tick Bites May Be On The Rise  (NPR)

November 27, 2012 -- Some people are allergic to peanuts, others to shellfish, fruits, or wheat. But this rare allergy is a carnivore's worst nightmare: A tick bite that can cause a case of itchy red hives every time you eat meat. Yup, get bit by one of these buggers and you may be saying farewell to your filet Mignon.

For some people around the country, this is no nightmare, it's a reality – and it may be coming to your neck of the woods.

Dogs being trained to sniff out ovarian cancer (CBS News)

November 21, 2012 -- Rescue dogs that were saved are now being trained to save other people's lives by sniffing out ovarian cancer.

Dina Zaphiris, a pet owner and dog trainer from West Hills, Calif., is working with researchers at the Pine Street Foundation to teach dogs how to detect ovarian cancer from a person's breath.

FDA halts operations at peanut butter plant (UT San Diego)

November 26, 2012 -- The Food and Drug Administration halted operations of the country's largest organic peanut butter processor Monday, cracking down on salmonella poisoning for the first time with new enforcement authority the agency gained in a 2011 food safety law.

FDA officials found salmonella all over Sunland Inc.'s New Mexico processing plant after 41 people in 20 states, most of them children, were sickened by peanut butter manufactured at the plant in Portales and sold by Trader Joe's grocery chain. The FDA suspended Sunland's registration Monday, preventing the company from producing or distributing any food.

Smoking rots brain, says study (BBC)

November 25, 2012 -- Smoking "rots" the brain by damaging memory, learning and reasoning, according to researchers at King's College London.

A study of 8,800 people over 50 showed high blood pressure and being overweight also seemed to affect the brain, but to a lesser extent.

Scientists involved said people needed to be aware that lifestyles could damage the mind as well as the body.