ECM WORLD WATCH: GLOBAL AND NATIONAL NEWS

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December 12, 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

Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

U.S.

Bracing for fiscal cliff, investors move assets (Washington Post)

December 10, 2012--As lawmakers struggle to agree on a plan to avert the series of tax increases looming next year, many investors are taking preemptive action to get out of harm’s way.

Americans are moving to sell investment homes, off-load stocks, expand charitable donations and establish tax-sheltering gifts before the end of the year. Financial advisers and accountants say people are trying to avoid the higher taxes that will take effect in 2013 if Washington does not avert the “fiscal cliff.”

Public backs fiscal cliff compromise; will Washington listen? (CBS)

December 11, 2012--After the 2010 elections that propelled 69 new Republican lawmakers - many of them backed by the tea party - into Congress, they felt emboldened to change Washington and stick to their anti-tax, lower government spending principles. Their reasons were sound. They had the support of the public who voted in Republicans at record numbers in the House and diminished the Democrats' ranks in the Senate.

The public tide seems to have turned, especially as it relates to the so-called "fiscal cliff." A new poll by Gallup found that 70 percent of the 1,069 adults surveyed want lawmakers to compromise on the pending economic quandary. Democrats, Republicans and independents overwhelmingly back cooperation. That is an increase from even just a week ago when 62 percent wanted to see compromise.

USDA chief: Rural American becoming less relevant (Associated Press)

December 8, 2012--Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has some harsh words for rural America: It's "becoming less and less relevant," he says.

A month after an election that Democrats won even as rural parts of the country voted overwhelmingly Republican, the former Democratic governor of Iowa told farm belt leaders this past week that he's frustrated with their internecine squabbles and says they need to be more strategic in picking their political fights.

Washington state lights up as smoking marijuana becomes legal (UK Telegraph)

December 6, 2012--In the city of Seattle pro-cannabis campaigners celebrated in a haze at the foot of the Space Needle tower at one minute past midnight, the moment the state's new law came into effect.

Vivian McPeak, director of Seattle's annual Hempfest, said: "This is a big day because all our lives we've been living under the iron curtain of prohibition. The whole world sees that prohibition just took a body blow."

 

Thousands accept postal service buyout deal  (cbsnews)

December 11, 2012--In the face of ongoing financial struggles and an uncertain future, more than 25,000 workers at the United States Postal Service are accepting an early-retirement buyout offer, according to a spokesperson for the American Postal Workers Union.

The USPS, which closed 2012 with $15.9 billion worth of losses, has been crippled in recent years by huge financial shortfalls that have threatened to shutter the nation's only federal mail delivery service. The early retirement offer is part of an effort to winnow down the staff and preserve financial solvency.

 

WORLD

Egypt president scraps decree that sparked protests (Reuters)

December 9, 2012--Egypt's main opposition coalition rejected on Sunday Islamist President Mohamed Mursi's plan for a constitutional referendum this week, saying it risked dragging the country into "violent confrontation".

Mursi's decision on Saturday to retract a decree awarding himself wide powers failed to placate opponents who accused him of plunging Egypt deeper into crisis by refusing to postpone the vote on a constitution shaped by Islamists.

Protest at Egypt president's palace turns violent (UT San Diego)

December 4, 2012--A protest by tens of thousands of Egyptians outside the presidential palace in Cairo turned violent on Tuesday as tensions grew over Islamist President Mohammed Morsi's seizure of nearly unrestricted powers and a draft constitution hurriedly adopted by his allies.

In a brief outburst, police fired tear gas to stop protesters approaching the palace in the capital's Heliopolis district. Morsi was in the palace conducting business as usual while the protesters gathered outside. But he left for home through a back door when the crowds "grew bigger," according to a presidential official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

NATO warns Syria not to use chemical weapons (Reuters)

December 4, 2012--NATO told Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday that any use of chemical weapons in his fight against encroaching rebel forces would be met by an immediate international response.

The warning from NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen came as U.S. government sources said Washington had information that Syria was making what could be seen as preparations to use its chemical arsenal.


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