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December 20, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) - East County Magazine's World Watch helps you be an informed citizen on important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflect all voices and views, we include links to news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views.  Top world and U.S. headlines include:



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


Congress sends massive GOP tax plan to Trump (Washington Post)

The House on Wednesday approved a massive Republican plan to overhaul the tax code, clearing the bill’s final hurdle in Congress and sending it to President Trump to be signed into law.

FCC repeals net neutrality, in a sweeping act of deregulation (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Federal regulators voted Thursday to allow Internet providers to speed up service for some apps and websites - and block or slow down others - in a decision repealing landmark, Obama-era regulations for broadband companies such as AT&T and Verizon.

Amtrak Derailment Over Washington State Highway Kills Multiple People (Huffington Post)

The train hurtled off an overpass during its inaugural run of a new high-speed service route.

State Department says it has begun tracking Mexico alcohol-related blackouts (USA Today)

Officials with the U.S. Department of State are now tracking reports of blackouts and injuries related to potentially tainted alcohol in Mexico and said Friday they have already received a dozen complaints. The agency has come under fire from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in recent months for “underplaying” the risks to tourists traveling to Mexico and for not doing enough when U.S. citizens are injured or die while vacationing there.

The final GOP tax bill is complete. Here’s what is in it.  (Washington Post)

Republicans were joyful Friday as they finalized their tax plan, bridging differences between the House and Senate bills and moving another step closer to getting legislation to President Trump by Christmas.  They also appear to have locked down the votes they need to pass the measure through the House and Senate after Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) pledged their support.

Court nominee Matthew Petersen withdraws after 'two worst minutes' on TV and viral video (USA Today)

A federal court nominee who could not answer basic legal questions at a Senate hearing last week has withdrawn from consideration, the third such casualty for President Trump in the past week.

U.S. military could lose next war: Report (Washington Times)

A new study by the Rand Corp. is warning that U.S. military forces are poorly structured to meet the threats posed by China, Russia and other states, as well as the continuing war against Islamic terrorism.

Amash, Massie, and Other Congress Members Demand Standalone Vote on Federal Surveillance Laws (Reason)

Some federal intelligence surveillance powers are going to expire in just over two weeks, and a pack of congressmen and -women want to make sure that a renewal isn't simply shoved into an end-of-year spending bill. These 35 legislators have signed a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) calling for the House to consider renewal of this surveillance law separate from any other legislation. ...about two-thirds of those who signed the letter are Republicans.

Special counsel obtains thousands of Trump team transition emails (AP)

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian contacts with President Donald Trump’s campaign has gained access to thousands of emails sent and received by Trump officials before the start of his administration, according to several people familiar with Trump’s transition organization.


Thousands of Rohingya killed in a month (BBC)

At least 6,700 Rohingya were killed in the month after violence broke out in Myanmar in August, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says. Based on surveys of refugees in Bangladesh, the number is much higher than Myanmar's official figure of 400. MSF said it was "the clearest indication yet of the widespread violence" by Myanmar authorities.

World Bank to end support for oil and gas exploration (Guardian)

Bank announces in Paris it will no longer finance upstream oil and gas’ after 2019 in response to threat posed by climate change

Exclusive: Anti-money laundering group blasts Mexico in draft report (Reuters)

Mexican prosecutors are failing to systematically punish money launderers and tax authorities are too lax with potential drug money fronts such as real estate and luxury goods firms, according to a draft report on Mexico's efforts to fight illicit finance.

Britain joins U.S. in blaming North Korea for 'WannaCry' attack  (Reuters)

[Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre] said North Korea was behind the ‘WannaCry” cyber attack that infected computers around the globe earlier this year on Tuesday, joining the United States in blaming Pyongyang for the ransomware incident.

Top British Officer: Russia May Be Able to Cut Undersea Cables (NPR)

British Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach says the Kremlin's improved naval capabilities pose a risk to communications and Internet cables that would be an economic catastrophe if severed.

Iranian missiles found in Saudi Arabia are evidence of nuclear deal violation, says US (CS Monitor)

US intelligence has determined the missiles fired at the international airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia by Houthi rebels were supplied by Iran, proof the Trump administration is using to reassert its claim that Iran has violated the 2015 nuclear deal. 

Saudi Arabia intercepts Houthi missile fired toward Riyadh, no reported casualties (Reuters)

 Saudi air defenses intercepted a ballistic missile fired towards the capital Riyadh on Tuesday, the Saudi-led coalition said, the latest attack by a Yemeni group that could escalate a proxy war between the kingdom and regional rival Tehran.

Pre-Christmas suicide bombing at Pakistan church kills at least 9 (Jewish World Review)

At least 9 Christian worshippers were killed and 50 wounded when two suicide bombers attacked a church in the southwestern city of Quetta on Sunday, a local hospital spokesman said. The Islamic State, which has a presence along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, quickly claimed responsibility.

US intelligence tip thwarts bomb threat in Russia (CS Monitor)

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his gratitude for the intelligence tip from the CIA that helped stop a bombing that was being planned in St. Petersburg. Russian FSB agents found explosives and weapons in an apartment and now have suspects in custody.  

UK counter-terrorism police arrest four, send in bomb disposal team (Reuters)

Britain has suffered five militant attacks so far this year, four of which led to loss of life, while security chiefs say another nine have been thwarted.

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