ECM WORLD WATCH: GLOBAL AND NATIONAL NEWS

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December 5, 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 reflect 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 & SCIENCE

Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

U.S.

Is fracking contaminating U.S. livestock?   (AllGov.com)

December 3, 2012--Like canaries sent into coal mines to warn of breathing hazards, livestock in areas where hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) is occurring are getting sick and dropping dead in alarming numbers, according to the only peer-reviewed scientific study of the impact of fracking on animals. And if cattle are getting sick because of fracking, what about the health of people who later drink their milk or eat their flesh? 

The study, authored by Prof. Robert Oswald of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and practicing veterinarian Michele Bamberger, compiles case studies of 24 farmers in 6 states whose livestock experienced neurological, reproductive and acute gastrointestinal problems after exposure to fracking chemicals in the water or air.

Prop 8 supporters, opponents, await Supreme Court decision (Sacramento Bee)

December 1, 2012--At San Francisco City Hall, officials are awaiting their moment in history, but they just don't know when it will come.

In the complex calculus of gay marriage in California, weddings could become legal within days. So City Hall is preparing for a possible crush of same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses and making contingency plans for demonstrations.

Report finds 69% of pork contaminated with bacteria (Eatocracy, citing Consumer Reports data)

November 28, 2012 --An analysis in the January 2013 issue of Consumer Reports magazine revealed 69% of pork chops and ground pork that the organization sampled from around the U.S. tested positive for Yersinia enterocolitica, a bacteria that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), can result in fever, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Consumer Reports also found 3-7% of the samples harbored salmonella, staphylococcus aureus or listeria monocytogenes, other common pathogens for foodborne illness. Twenty-three percent of the samples contained none of the tested bacteria.

Female combat vets push to overturn wartime restrictions (UT San Diego)

November 27, 2012--Four female service members who deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan — two Camp Pendleton Marines assigned to infantry units and two other women wounded in action — filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday seeking to overturn Pentagon restrictions on women in combat, calling them unconstitutional, detrimental to the military and outdated, given contributions by women during 11 years at war.

The legal complaint, the second this year challenging the Defense Department’s combat exclusion policy, comes as some in Congress and the department itself push to further expand opportunities for women in combat after restrictions were relaxed this year.

Senate votes to tighten sanctions on Iran (UT San Diego)

November 30, 2012--The Senate endorsed stringent new sanctions on Iran's energy and shipping sectors in a fresh attempt to hobble the Islamic Republic's economy and hamper its nuclear ambitions.

Ignoring White House opposition spelled out just hours before the vote, the Senate voted 94-0 on Friday for a package of punitive measures that would end sales and transactions with various Iranian domestic industries.

Analysis: Democrats' discord undercuts Obama estate tax push (Reuters)

November 30, 2012--Divisions among Democrats are undermining President Barack Obama's push to raise the U.S. estate tax on inherited wealth, just weeks before the arrival of the "fiscal cliff" could drive the present estate tax rate even higher than Obama proposes.

Action on the estate tax could be postponed. But in his successful re-election campaign, Obama called for wealthy Americans to pay more in taxes - and it is overwhelmingly the wealthy who pay the estate tax.

House GOP committee chairs will all be white men in next Congress (Huffington Post)

November 27, 2012--House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced who will chair all of the major House committees in the next Congress. And it turns out they all have something in common besides party affiliation: they're all white men.

There isn't a single woman or minority included in the mix of 19 House committee chairs announced Tuesday -- a stark reality for a party desperate to appeal to women and minorities after both groups overwhelmingly rejected Republicans just weeks ago in the presidential election. The one female committee chair that House Republicans currently have, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), is stepping down because her term is up. While there are still two lower-tier House committees awaiting a chair assignment -- the Ethics Committee and House Administration -- neither committee has any women or minority members.

What happens to women denied abortion? This is first scientific study to find out (i09)

December 5, 2012--Abortion is a hotly debated and poorly studied medical procedure. There are a fewstudies of dubious validity that connect abortion to mental illness and drug use. Politicians have used these studies to justify greater limitations on women seeking abortion in the United States.

There has been no sustained effort to study what happens to women who want abortions but can't get them due to restrictive rules. Until now. These women are called turnaways. A new longitudinal study reveals what happens to their economic position, health, and relationship status after seeking an abortion and being denied it.

WORLD

Cairo’s Tahrir Square fills with anti-Morsi protesters (BBC)

November 30, 2012--Tens of thousands of protesters opposed to Egypt's president and the sweeping new powers he assumed last week are in Cairo's Tahrir Square, hours after a new constitution was hastily approved.

The Islamist-dominated constituent assembly finished voting on the draft in the early hours on Friday.

ADL: Anti-Israel campus activity rising after Gaza conflict (Jerusalem Post)

 

November 28, 2012--More than 100 anti-Israel demonstrations have been held in the United States in the wake of Operation Pillar of Defense, with more than one-third on college campuses, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
 
The campus demonstrations have included extreme rhetoric, including messages supporting “resistance,” comparisons of Israelis to Nazis and accusations that the Jewish state is trying to perpetrate “another Holocaust” in Gaza, the ADL said in a statement on Tuesday.

Joint U.S.-Afghan Base Attacked By Taliban In Eastern Afghanistan (NPR)

December 1, 2012--Suicide bombers attacked a joint U.S.-Afghan base in eastern Afghanistan early Sunday, sparking a two-hour gunbattle with the attackers that included helicopter gunships.

The attackers appeared to use a combination of suicide bombers in vehicles as well as on foot, according to reports.

The Associated Press says that the Taliban, in an email to reporters, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Egypt’s top court shuts down, blames Islamic protesters (Reuters)

December 2, 2012--Protests by Islamists allied to President Mohamed Mursi forced Egypt's highest court to adjourn its work indefinitely on Sunday, intensifying a conflict between some of the country's top judges and the head of state.

The Supreme Constitutional Court said it would not convene until its judges could operate without "psychological and material pressure", saying protesters had stopped the judges from reaching the building.

Change to royal succession agreed (BBC)

December 4, 2012--All Commonwealth realms have agreed to press ahead with a bill ending discrimination against women in the succession to the British throne.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the government would now introduce the Succession to the Crown Bill in the House of Commons as soon as possible.

It means the first child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will become monarch, whether a boy or a girl.

HEALTH & SCIENCE

Is Alzheimer's Type 3 diabetes? (New York Times)

September 25, 2012--Just in case you need another reason to cut back on junk food, it now turns out that Alzheimer’s could well be a form of diet-induced diabetes. That’s the bad news. The good news is that laying off soda, doughnuts, processed meats and fries could allow you to keep your mind intact until your body fails you.

We used to think there were two types of diabetes: the type you’re born with (Type 1) and the type you “get.” That’s called Type 2, and was called “adult onset” until it started ravaging kids. Type 2 is brought about by a combination of factors, including overeating, American-style.

Why are cow's tails dropping off? (The Nation)

November 30, 2012--In a Brooklyn winery on a sultry July evening, an elegant crowd sips rosé and nibbles trout plucked from the gin-clear streams of upstate New York. The diners are here, with their checkbooks, to support a group called Chefs for the Marcellus, which works to protect the foodshed upon which hundreds of regional farm-to-fork restaurants depend. The foodshed is coincident with the Marcellus Shale, a geologic formation that arcs northeast from West Virginia through Pennsylvania and into New York State. As everyone invited here knows, the region is both agriculturally and energy rich, with vast quantities of natural gas sequestered deep below its fertile fields and forests.