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July 18, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) - East County Magazine's 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:



For excerpts or links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.


Senate will vote on Obamacare repeal after GOP reform plan dies (NBC)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said late Monday the Senate would vote to repeal "Obamacare" but include a two-year delay for the development of a new health care plan. His announcement came after the latest GOP effort to repeal and replace "Obamacare" was fatally wounded in the Senate Monday night when two more Republican senators announced their opposition to the legislation strongly backed by President Donald Trump.

Debate over use of jumbo bomber as wildfires rage in the West (AP)

…The operators of the Boeing 747 converted from a passenger jet into a firefighting air tanker say it has proven itself battling forest fires in countries outside the U.S. The modifications allow it to drop more than 19,000 gallons (72,000 liters) of a flame-squelching combination of ammonium phosphate and sulfate mixed with water that comes billowing out in a red-colored line….But the company says the U.S. Forest Service is seeking to keep the plane grounded by offering a contract limiting firefighting aircraft to 5,000 gallons (18,900 liters) of fire suppressant and won’t say why. The company says the federal agency is putting homes and lives at risk …

Trump’s budget would mean a $720 billion deficit over 10 years, Congressional Budget Office says (Los Angeles Times)

A government analysis of President Trump's budget plan says it wouldn't come close to balancing the federal ledger like the White House has promised. A report from the Congressional Budget Office this week says that Trump's budget, if followed to the letter, would result in a $720-billion deficit at the end of 10 years instead of the slight surplus promised.


Insurers warn Cruz: provision will ‘skyrocket’ premiums for sick people (The Hill)

The two leading health insurer trade groups sent a strongly-worded letter Friday expressing opposition to a controversial conservative provision included in the latest GOP ObamaCare replacement bill.America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association warned that the provision from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) would mean “premiums will skyrocket for people with preexisting conditions” and “millions of more individuals will become uninsured.”The letter expresses opposition to a provision, included in the new GOP repeal bill, that would allow insurers to sell plans that do not meet ObamaCare regulations, including the ban on discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, if they also sold plans that did meet the requirements.

The White house just posted emails from critics – without censoring personal information (Vox)

The White House just responded to concerns it would release voters’ sensitive personal information by releasing a bunch of voters’ sensitive personal information. Last month, the White House’s “election integrity” commission sent out requests to every state asking for all voters’ names, party IDs, addresses, and even the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, among other information. The White House then said this information would be made available to the public. A lot of people …sent emails to the White House, demanding that it rescind the request. This week, the White House decided to make those emails from concerned citizens public through the commission's new website.

Get ready, America: Vehicles as weapons of terror are coming here, too(Jewish World Review)

Attacks with vehicles used as improvised weapons became the single most lethal form of attack in Western countries for the first time last year, according to the London-based Risk Advisory Group, which keeps track of every terrorist attack worldwide. Just over half of all the terrorism-related deaths in the West were the result of vehicle-ramming attacks, the data show.

DHS to American Citizens: Let Us Scan Your Faces, or No International Travel (Reason)

Prepare to get your faces scanned whether you like it or not, U.S. citizens, if you want to fly to other countries. It won't be those other countries scanning your mug to make sure it's safe to let you in. These facial recognition and biometric systems will be foisted on you by your own government. attorney general says to hire 300 prosecutors to fight crime (Reuters)

 U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Wednesday the Justice Department plans to hire 300 additional assistant U.S. attorneys to help fight a recent national increase in crime, including a focus on transnational gangs such as MS-13.

 U.S. appeals court upholds Wisconsin 'right-to-work' law  (Reuters)

 A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday upheld Wisconsin's so-called right-to-work law, which bars mandatory union membership and prohibits unions and employers from requiring non-members to pay dues.

House Democrats want to know why a major Russian money laundering case was abruptly settled (Business Insider)

Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday asking why the Department of Justice settled a major money-laundering case involving a real-estate company owned by the son of a powerful Russian government official whose lawyer met with Donald Trump Jr. last year.

South Carolina hit with 150,000 election day hacks (Engadget)

Attacks on the historically red state highlight the extent of US election targets.


Fukushima’s nuclear waste will be dumped into the ocean, plant owner decides (Yahoo News)

Toxic waste produced by one of the world's worst nuclear disasters will be dumped into the sea, according to the head of the Japanese company tasked with cleaning up the radioactive mess, despite protests from local fishermen.  Takashi Kawamura, chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), told foreign media that nearly 777,000 tons of water tainted with tritium, a byproduct of the nuclear process that is notoriously difficult to filter out of water, will be dumped into the Pacific Ocean …

Massive ice berg breaks off from Antarctica (NASA)

An iceberg about the size of the state of Delaware split off from Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf sometime between July 10 and July 12. The calving of the massive new iceberg was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA’s Aqua satellite…

Those Islamic virgins will now come with a hefty price tag (Jewish World Review)

Israel's state prosecutor's office in Jerusalem' has filed a precedent-setting lawsuit against the estate of a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem seven months after the man carried out a car-ramming attack that left four Israelis dead. …. seeking compensation for burial costs, such as headstones, loss of earnings and pension benefits it laid out for the victims…The lawsuit is likely to be the first in several cases brought by the state against the families of Palestinian attackers.

Wildfires rage across Europe (BBC)

Firefighters have been tackling blazes in France, Italy and Croatia.

Russia: Jehovah’s Witnesses banned after Supreme Court rejects appeals (U.S. Commission on International Freedom)

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom denounces the Russian Supreme Court ruling on Monday rejecting an appeal by the Jehovah’s Witnesses against an April decision declaring them as extremist. USCIRF Chairman Daniel Mark commented that “The Supreme Court’s decision sadly reflects the government’s continued equating of peaceful religious freedom practice to extremism…” This ruling clears the way for the Russian government to seize the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ assets and property throughout the country. 

U.S. targets Iran with new sanctions over missile program (Reuters)

The United States on Tuesday unveiled new economic sanctions against Iran over its ballistic missile program and for contributing to regional tensions and said it was deeply concerned about its "malign activities across the Middle East."

China Dispatches Troops To Djibouti To Set Up Its First Overseas Base(NPR)

The move is historic for Beijing, which has aimed to project a presence in Africa: "This base will support China's navy to go farther afield," state-run media say, "and it is of great significance."

Inside the Ring: Russia, China undermining U.S. (Washington Times)

Russia and China are working against the United States around the world, according to a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report.

UAE to UN: Al Jazeera antisemitic, promotes terrorism (JPost)

In a letter made public by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on their official website on Wednesday, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash accused Qatar television news outlet Al Jazeera of promoting antisemitism, supporting terrorist groups, and incitement to violence. 

A year after failed coup, crackdown shakes pillar of Turkish state (Reuters)

A quarter of judges and prosecutors have been sacked, leaving under-resourced courts swamped with tens of thousands of cases against people targeted in the crackdown, and weakening a pillar of constitutional authority in Turkey.

Terror attack on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, 2 Israeli police killed (JPost)

Three terrorists opened fire on a group of policemen near Lions' Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday morning, killing two Israeli police officers and injuring two more before the attackers were killed by police.