ECM WORLD WATCH: GLOBAL AND NATIONAL NEWS

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February 7, 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:

NATIONAL

WORLD

SCIENCE AND HEALTH

Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

NATIONAL

Latest job numbers signal economic recovery (CBS)

February 1, 2013-- It took nearly five years, but the Dow is back above 14,000 -- a symbolic end to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

In October 2007, the Dow hit an all-time high of 14,164. Then the bottom fell out. By March 2009, that key measure of America's economic health had fallen to 6,547.

On Friday, the Dow gained 149 points to close at 14,009. The market was giving a thumbs up to the latest jobs report while unemployment ticked up a tenth of a point to 7.9 percent. A separate survey of employers shows they added 157,000 new jobs. But is the stock market's big gain a sign of economic health or a Wall Street fever?

John Kerry sworn in as Secretary of State (Boston.com)

February 2, 2013--John F. Kerry was sworn in as secretary of state by Associate Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan in a small, private ceremony in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee room Friday afternoon, officials said.

After 28 years of reviewing foreign policy in that same room and representing Massachusetts in the Senate, Kerry takes the reins as America’s top diplomat from outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The Bay State Democrat breezed through the Senate confirmation process this week, earning near-unanimous support for his appointment.

The biggest public land grab (Canyon Country Zephyr)

February 1, 2013--Sometimes the endless open spaces of the West impress me most when I can’t see them at all.

One night when I was a ranger at the Arches National Park campground, I encountered a woman so terrified she could barely speak. She was from New York City, camping for the first time in her life, and had pitched her tent next to the campground “comfort station.” She felt comforted by the 200 watt security lights. When our generator failed that evening, the lights in the toilet went out as well and the woman was on the verge of a breakdown. Through stifled sobs, she explained that she had never been in total darkness before.

Are Mini-Reactors The Future Of Nuclear Power? (NPR)

February 4, 2013--The U.S. government is investing millions of dollars in what it considers a promising new industry for American manufacturing: nuclear reactors. The plan is to build hundreds of mini-reactors, dot them around the U.S. and export them overseas.

Development of these reactors is already in the works, and at one office park in Lynchburg, Va., where one of these reactors is being assembled, the traditional signs of nuclear reactors are nowhere to be found. There are no cooling towers that look like smoke stacks, no clouds of steam over the buildings — just a research building and a tower about nine stories tall.

WORLD

Defiant Iran plans to speed up nuclear fuel work (Reuters)

January 31, 2013--Iran has announced plans to install and operate advanced uranium enrichment machines, in what would be a technological leap allowing it to significantly speed up activity the West fears could be put to developing a nuclear weapon.

In a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Tehran said it would introduce new centrifuges to its main enrichment plant near the central town of Natanz, according to an IAEA communication to member states seen by Reuters.

Iran says US offer of direct talks a 'step forward, but...' (Christian Science Monitor)

February 3, 2013--Iran said on Sunday it was open to a US offer of direct talks on its nuclear program and that six world powers had suggested a new round of nuclear negotiations this month, but without committing itself to either proposal.

Diplomatic efforts to resolve a dispute over Iran's nuclear program, which Tehran says is peaceful but the West suspects is intended to give Iran the capability to build a nuclear bomb, have been all but deadlocked for years, while Iran has continued to announce advances in the program.

Israel on airstrikes in Syria: When we say something, we mean it (Christian Science Monitor)

February 3, 2013--Israel's defense minister indicated Sunday that his country was behind the airstrike on Syria last week, in the first public comments from his government on the attack that US officials said targeted a convoy carrying anti-aircraft weapons bound for the militant group Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak brought the issue up at a gathering of the world's top diplomats and defense officials in Germany, initially saying: "I cannot add anything to what you have read in the newspapers about what happened in Syria several days ago."

Turkish leftist group claims U.S. embassy bombing: website (Reuters)

February 2, 2013--A member of a Turkish leftist group that accuses Washington of using Turkey as its "slave" carried out a suicide bomb attack on the U.S. embassy, the Ankara governor's office cited DNA tests as showing on Saturday.

Ecevit Sanli, a member of the leftist Revolutionary People's Liberation Army-Front (DHKP-C), blew himself up in a perimeter gatehouse on Friday as he tried to enter the embassy, also killing a Turkish security guard.

Iran launches monkey into space, showing missile progress (Reuters)

January 26, 2013-- Iran said on Monday it had launched a live monkey into space, seeking to show off missile systems that have alarmed the West because the technology could potentially be used to deliver a nuclear warhead.

The Defense Ministry announced the launch as world powers sought to agree a date and venue with Iran for resuming talks to resolve a standoff with the West over Tehran's contested nuclear program before it degenerates into a new Middle East war.

Explosion at Mexican oil giant Pemex offices kills 14 (Reuters)

February 1, 2013--Rescue workers pulled out more bodies from debris at the headquarters of Mexican state oil giant Pemex on Friday after a powerful explosion killed at least 33 people and threw a spotlight onto the state-run company's poor safety record.

Scenes of confusion and chaos outside the downtown tower block in Mexico City have dealt another blow to Pemex's image, just as Mexico's new president is seeking to court outside investment for the 75-year-old monopoly.

Solomon Islands hit by five-foot tsunami, leaving six dead (+video) (Christian Science Monitor)

February 6, 2013--A powerful earthquake off the Solomon Islands on Wednesday generated a tsunami of up to 1.5 meters (about 5 feet) that damaged dozens of homes and left several people missing and presumed dead in the South Pacific island chain.

Authorities canceled tsunami warnings on more distant coasts.

Solomon's officials reported two 1.5-meter (4 foot, 11-inch) waves hit the western side of Santa Cruz Island, damaging between 70 and 80 homes and properties, said George Herming, a spokesman for the prime minister. Many villagers had headed to higher ground as a precaution, Herming said.

SCIENCE AND HEALTH

Birds May Use 'Sound Maps' To Navigate Huge Distances (NPR)

February 1, 2013--Now the curious case of the homing pigeon and the mystery of just how they do what they do: navigate over huge distances to find their way home. We know they use the sun and the Earth's magnetic field. Well, Jonathan Hagstrum of the U.S. Geological Survey believes the birds also use sound maps. His study was recently published in the Journal of Experimental biology. And he joins us now to explain how he thinks this works. Welcome to the program.

With Elbows, Cortisone Shots May Hurt More Than Help (NPR)

February 6, 2013--Go to the doctor with an aching elbow, and the prescription may well be a cortisone shot. Ah, relief!

But that short-term gain may make for long-term pain. There's mounting evidence that cortisone shots, long the first response for the painful tendon problem known as tennis elbow, increases the risk of continued problems or relapse one year out.

That may come as a surprise to those who have availed themselves of this seemingly miraculous quick fix.