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July 11, 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:



Scroll down for excerpts and links to full stories.



Snowden Seen as Whistle-Blower by Majority in New Poll (Bloomberg) -- A majority of U.S. registered voters consider Edward Snowden a whistle-blower, not a traitor, and a plurality says government anti-terrorism efforts have gone too far in restricting civil liberties, a poll released today shows.

Privacy Group to Ask Supreme Court to Stop N.S.A.’s Phone Spying Program (NY Times)

 A privacy rights group plans to file an emergency petition with the Supreme Court on Monday asking it to stop theNational Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program that collects the telephone records of millions of Americans.  The group, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, says it is taking the extraordinary legal step of going directly to the Supreme Court because the sweeping collection of the phone records of American citizens has created “exceptional circumstances” that only the nation’s highest court can address.

Judge rejects state secrets defense in wiretapping lawsuit (Reuters)

 The U.S. government cannot quickly terminate a civil privacy lawsuit over warrantless wiretapping by arguing that such litigation would expose state secrets and harm national security, a U.S. judge has ruled. A group of AT&T Inc customers filed the proposed class action against the National Security Agency and Bush administration officials in 2008, accusing them of improperly operating a warrantless mass surveillance of U.S. citizens. 

New Study Finds That Drones Kill 10 Times More Civilians Than Manned Aircraft (The Guardian)

 A study conducted by a US military adviser has found that drone strikes in Afghanistan during a year of the protracted conflict caused 10 times more civilian casualties than strikes by manned fighter aircraft.

The gay marriage trap: same-sex divorce is in legal purgatory (Washington Post)

When the Supreme Court ruled a key aspect of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional last month, it made a life-changing difference to many married same-sex couples, who will now be entitled to all the federal benefits they were previously denied. But those gay couples whose marriages aren’t working out remain in legal purgatory.

Just How Reliable and Widespread is FBI Facial Recognition Technology? EFF Sues To Find Out (Reason)

 The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been happily touting its Next Generation Identification technology — within limits. That is, the feds are happy to boast on their Website about their "multi-million dollar contract" with Lockheed Martin Transportation and Security Solutions to implement state of the art biometric systems to go "beyond fingerprints," but they're not so eager to go beyond marketing happy talk. So, after waiting a year on three Freedom of Information Act requests intended to reveal just what the feds are up to, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is suing to make the FBI cough up the goods..

Don’t let DOMA fool you: The Supreme Court is restricting your rights (Washington Post opinions)

… the underlying theme of the Supreme Court’s term was not the recognition of rights, but their dilution. Time and again, in closely divided decisions on issues as disparate as antitrust law, privacy and discrimination, the court either watered down rights or made it difficult or impossible to enforce them effectively.

Forced to work sick? (Mother Jones)

Before jetting off last week for a trade mission at the Paris Air Show, Florida Gov. Rick Scott took a moment to sign into law a bill that banned local governments from requiring employers to offer paid sick leave. The restaurant industry and Florida's big theme parks lobbied hard for the passage of the legislation, which blocked local efforts to give low-wage workers a basic benefit that's standard in virtually every industrialized country in the world except the United States. petition to pardon Snowden passes 100,000 signatures (  The administration routinely declines to comment on petitions regarding law enforcement matters, including pardon requests. The ultimate answer is the administration's pursuit of Snowden on espionage charges.

Judge bars Obamacare contraceptive requirement for a Christian-owned business (Christian Science Monitor)

A federal judge in Oklahoma issued a preliminary injunction Friday blocking the Obama administration from enforcing its contraceptive mandate against the craft chain store Hobby Lobby.

FBI seeks $1.2 million for NY Fed that vanished from SWISS jet

(Reuters) - More than $1 million in cash headed for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York disappeared from a SWISS International Air Line's jet that landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport, the FBI said on Tuesday.

How Concerned Should Ballot Initiative Lovers Be About the Prop. 8 Punt? (Reason)

So should we be worried? Could the reverse – voters approve gay marriage recognition only to have the state refuse to back it – happen? What if the voters approved term limits for state legislators and they just ignored it? 

Exclusive: U.S. system for flagging hazardous chemicals is widely flawed (Reuters)

 A 27-year-old U.S. program intended to warn the public of the presence of hazardous chemicals is flawed in many states due to scant oversight and lax reporting by plant owners, a Reuters examination finds.

Spitzer to run against madam (CNN)

The day after former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer announced his campaign for city comptroller, he was issued a direct challenge for the post by a woman who says she was the madam who supplied him with escorts.

Issa sets sights on VA chief (UT San Diego)

After targeting lavish conference spending by the Internal Revenue Service, Rep. Darrell Issa of Vista is setting his sights on similar spending by the Department of Veterans Affairs. He issued a subpoena to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and other officials at the agency on Tuesday

New Rules Put Brakes On Truck Drivers' Schedules (NPR)

Department of Transportation statistics show that between 3,000 and 4,000 people die annually in large truck and bus crashes in America. Starting July 1, new regulations limiting the hours commercial vehicle drivers can be on the road will be enforced.



Central African Republic in chaos, abandoned: MSF (Reuters)

 Armed groups in Central African Republic have forced thousands to flee and pushed government and medical services close to collapse four months after rebels seized the capital, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) said on Tuesday....

Vatican approves second miracle, clears Pope John Paul II for sainthood (Christian Science Monitor)

The Vatican announced Pope John Paul II has cleared the final obstacle to sainthood, a second miracle, and now awaits just final approval from Pope Francis and a date for the ceremony.

Blood, anger, bewilderment among wounded after Cairo attack (Reuters)

...two opposing narratives of the violence that left more than 50 people dead, the deadliest episode since Mursi's overthrow on Wednesday and a sign of the widening rifts in the Arab world's most populous state

Reeling Muslim Brotherhood vows 'intifada' after Morsi ouster (Jerusalem Post)

The Muslim Brotherhood said it would launch an intifada in response to violence on Monday that led to the deaths of 51 of its loyalists.  The Islamist party continues to reel from president Mohamed Morsi’s ouster last week by the Egyptian military.

Brotherhood sees Egypt coup fueling hatred of U.S. (Reuters)

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood believes Western governments fully supported the military overthrow of President Mohamed Mursi, a decision it says will fuel hatred towards the United States and Europe and ultimately backfire on them.

U.S. bugged EU offices, computer networks: German magazine  (Reuters)

The United States has bugged European Union offices and gained access to EU internal computer networks, according to secret documents cited in a German magazine on Saturday, the latest in a series of exposures of alleged U.S. spy programs.

Memories of Stasi color Germans’ view of U.S. surveillance programs

(McClatchy) -- Protestors greeted President Obama when he visited in June. They are upset over the NSA spying.

Rare bird flies into turbine (BBC)

Birdwatchers see rare white-throated needletail fly into turbine…

U.N. urged to consider drones, gunships for South Sudan mission (Reuters)

The United Nations should consider deploying surveillance drones and helicopter gunships in South Sudan because peacekeepers are struggling to protect civilians from violence and rights abuses, the U.N. special envoy to South Sudan said on Monday.

Schools in Nigerian state close to avoid attacks (UT San Diego)

 The governor of Nigeria's northeast Yobe state is ordering all schools closed to avoid attacks by Islamic militants who have killed dozens of students and teachers.  The U.N. children's agency, meanwhile, said Monday that 48 students and seven teachers have been slain since June in northeast Nigeria.