ECM WORLD WATCH: GLOBAL AND NATIONAL NEWS

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January 24, 2013 (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:

Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

U.S.

WORLD

HEALTH/SCIENCE

Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

U.S.

House approves debt limit extension, presses Senate to pass budget (The Hill)

January 23, 2013--The House on Wednesday approved a bill extending the nation's debt limit, raising pressure on the Senate to pass its first budget in nearly four years.

The House approved the No Budget, No Pay Act, which also includes a measure withholding senators' pay until they complete that work, in a 285-144 vote.

Among Republicans, 33 voted against it to protest the absence of specific spending cuts alongside suspending the nation's borrowing limit. But they were more than offset by the 86 Democrats who voted for the measure.

Pentagon lifting ban on women in combat, opening new opportunities (Christian Science Monitor)

January 23, 2013--At the direction of Secretary of Defense Leon Panettathe Pentagon is announcing tomorrow that it will allow women to serve on the front lines of battle, according to top Pentagon officials.

This ruling would overturn a 1994 ban on women in combat.

The chiefs of the individual service branches are being told to submit a plan to implement the new policy to the secretary of Defense by May, according to a senior Pentagon official.

Women in combat: Will they have to register for the draft? (Christian Science Monitor)

Now that the Pentagon is lifting its ban on women in combat, does this mean that women could potentially be drafted, too?

And as a practical matter: When women turn 18, will they now need to register, as men do, so that they can be conscripted in the event of a World War III, or any military emergency where the US government decides it needs troops quickly?

It’s a thorny question, raising what may be a difficult prospect societally. But the legal implications are obvious, analysts argue.

TSA removing virtual strip search body scanners (CNN)

January 19, 2013--Airport body scanners that produce graphic images of travelers' bodies will be removed from checkpoints by June, the Transportation Security Administration says, ending what critics called "virtual strip searches."

Passengers will continue to pass through machines that display a generic outline of the human body, raising fewer privacy concerns.

OPEC forecasts record US oil supply growth in 2013 (Christian Science Monitor)

January 17, 2013--The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in its report for January said the United States in 2013 may post the highest oil supply increase among non-member states. U.S. oil production should increase by 490,000 barrels of oil per day this year to reach an average of 10.4 million bpd. OPEC said much of the production increase should come from more drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and the oil boom under way in North Dakota. Production from member states Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, declined. Riyadh said recently it wasn't trying to manipulate the commodities market and, given the downbeat assessment of the U.S. economy, it may be congressional leaders that eventually face the ultimate blame for economic woes despite the oil boom.

How Older Parenthood Will Upend American Society (New Republic)

December 6, 2012--Over the past half century, parenthood has undergone a change so simple yet so profound we are only beginning to grasp the enormity of its implications. It is that we have our children much later than we used to. This has come to seem perfectly unremarkable; indeed, we take note of it only when celebrities push it to extremes—when Tony Randall has his first child at 77; Larry King, his fifth child by his seventh wife at 66; Elizabeth Edwards, her last child at 50. This new gerontological voyeurism—I think of it as doddering-parent porn—was at its maximally gratifying in 2008, when, in almost simultaneous and near-Biblical acts of belated fertility, two 70-year-old women in India gave birth, thanks to donor eggs and disturbingly enthusiastic doctors. One woman’s husband was 72; the other’s was 77.

WORLD

North Korea to target U.S. with nuclear, rocket tests (Reuters)

January 24, 2013--North Korea said on Thursday it would carry out further rocket launches and a nuclear test that would target the United States, dramatically stepping up its threats against a country it called its "sworn enemy".

The announcement by the country's top military body came a day after the U.N. Security Council agreed to a U.S.-backed resolution to censure and sanction North Korea for a rocket launch in December that breached U.N. rules.

Idle No More movement sweeps Canada and beyond as aboriginals say enough is enough  (Indian Country Today)

December 22, 2012--The second wave of Idle No More protests swept across Canada on Friday December 21, with support events held across the U.S. and as far away as Europe and New Zealand, less than two weeks after the movement burst onto the political scene on December 10.

Indigenous activists used social media websites to organize round dances, highway blockades, protests and ceremonies from east to west of the country, as Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence entered her 10th day of a hunger strike that she has vowed to see through to the end.

Syrian opposition leaders fail to form government (Reuters)

January 21, 2013--Syrian opposition leaders said on Monday they had failed to put together a transitional government to run rebel-held areas of the country, a blow to the exiled group trying to present an alternative to President Bashar al-Assad's rule.

Political efforts to resolve the conflict have largely faltered because of the rebels' failure to form a unified front and because world powers are backing opposing sides.

Algerian hostage-takers threaten further attacks (Jerusalem Post)

January 21, 2013--The Mulathameen Brigade that claimed the mass hostage-taking in Algeria threatened to carry out more attacks unless Western powers ended what it called an assault on Muslims in neighboring Mali, according to the SITE monitoring service.

In a statement on Monday, the al-Qaida linked group also said the hostage-takers had offered negotiations on freeing the captives seized at a gas plant deep in the Sahara but the Algerian authorities used military force, SITE reported.

Jakarta, Indonesia's megacity of 10 million, is under water (+video) (Christian Science Monitor)

January 18, 2013--Flooding brought one of Asia’s megacities to a halt on Thursday, as monsoon rainwater in the central business district reached a foot and a half, and almost 10-feet in other parts of the city.

By today, flood-related incidents killed at least 12 people, and close to 20,000 have been evacuated. The government has put the city of 10 million on emergency alert until Jan. 27 and deployed the police and military to assist flood victims.

Egypt opposition leader aims to break Islamist dominance (Reuters)

January 22, 2013--A coalition of Egyptian opposition groups is forging a common electoral platform as it seeks to capitalize on setbacks for Islamists who have dominated the country's politics since an Arab Spring uprising.

Hamdeen Sabahy, a firebrand politician who ran for president last year, told Reuters the opposition National Salvation Front coalition could win a parliamentary majority in April if it rises above differences that split its ranks in past elections.

Blast, drone kill 13 al Qaeda-linked militants  in Yemen (Reuters)

January 20, 2013-- More than 10 suspected al Qaeda operatives were killed by an explosion in a house in south Yemen where they were making bombs, and at least six others died in two strikes from U.S. drones, tribal and official sources said on Sunday.

A bomb ripped through a house in the province of al-Bayda on Saturday night, the state news agency Saba and a local official said.

Strikes by suspected U.S. drone aircraft killed three people on Saturday and another three on Sunday in two parts of central Maarib province, tribal and government sources said.

Raised on Hatred (New York Times)

January 17, 2013--Egypt’s newly elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was caught on tape about three years ago urging his followers to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews and Zionists. Not long after, the then-leader of the Muslim Brotherhood described Zionists as “bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians,” “warmongers” and “descendants of apes and pigs.”

These remarks are disgusting, but they are neither shocking nor new. As a child growing up in a Muslim family, I constantly heard my mother, other relatives and neighbors wish for the death of Jews, who were considered our darkest enemy. Our religious tutors and the preachers in our mosques set aside extra time to pray for the destruction of Jews.

HEALTH/SCIENCE

Algae Fuel Could Help Solve The Navy’s Oil Dependence  (KPBS)

 January 17, 2013When Captain Jim Goudreau describes the U.S. Navy's goal of cutting in half its use of fossil fuels by 2020, he uses words like “daunting” and “challenging.” Goudreau is director of the Navy’s Energy Coordination Office. And another word he uses to describe the goal is “necessary.” He said the Navy needs to end its heavy dependence on petroleum."And sometimes we buy it from counties that may or may not have the same interests as us. But we need the fuel to operate,” he said, adding that it would be “prudent” to develop a domestic source that gives the Navy assured mobility.

It's Legal For Some Insurers To Discriminate Based On Genes (NPR)

January 17, 2013--Getting the results of a genetic test can be a bit like opening Pandora's box. You might learn something useful or interesting, or you might learn that you're likely to develop an incurable disease later on in life.

There's a federal law that's supposed to protect people from having their own genes used against them, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, or GINA. Under GINA, it's illegal for an employer to fire someone based on his genes, and it's illegal for health insurers to raise rates or to deny coverage because of someone's genetic code.

Warnings from a flabby mouse [strong link between endocrine disruptors and obesity] (NY Times columnist Nicholas Kristof)

January 19, 2013--ONE of the puzzles of the modern world is why we humans are growing so tubby. Maybe these two mice offer a clue. They’re genetically the same, raised in the same lab and given the same food and chance to exercise. Yet the bottom one is svelte, while the other looks like, well, an American.

TA researchers: Genome can reveal surname (Jerusalem Post)

January 18, 2013--Show geneticists the chromosomes in your genome – and they are quite likely to identify your surname.

This astounding feat has been accomplished by Tel Aviv University researchers, who have just published their findings in the prestigious journal Science.


The Israeli researchers, who work at TAU and at the Whitehead Institute of Biomedical Research in Boston, developed an algorithm that makes it possible to identify family names on the basis of genetic data in the Y chromosome, which – conveniently – is handed down through the generations from father to son (except for slight mutations along the way). This discovery has long-term implications, including for the privacy of personal information.