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December 19, 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:



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



Arts and culture contribute more to U.S. economy than tourism (

For the first time the federal government has tallied up the arts and culture contribution to the nation’s economy. It turns out that sector, movies, painting, publishing, cable and more, was worth half a trillion dollars -- 3 percent to the gross domestic product in 2011. That’s more than the travel and tourism industry.

Veterans fight federal budget provision (WAVY TV)

They no longer wear the uniform, but the members of Veterans of Foreign Wars are preparing for battle on Capitol Hill. They stand opposed to a provision of the federal budget compromise on its way to the Senate this week. The Senate is set to vote Tuesday on the two-year budget already passed in the House. If passed, the budget will cut the deficit by $23 billion over the next decade while not extending unemployment benefits or reversing the cut in food stamps.

Judge rules polygamy protected under freedom of religion (ABC)

Advocacy groups for polygamy and individual liberties on Saturday hailed a federal judge's ruling that key parts of Utah's polygamy laws are unconstitutional, saying it will remove the threat of arrest for those families.

US judge rules NSA data sweep an 'indiscriminate and arbitrary invasion' (CS Monitor) -- The judge, ruling in an ongoing civil lawsuit, ordered the NSA to stop collecting the plaintiffs' telephone metadata, saying the intelligence gathering likely violates Fourth Amendment privacy guarantees.

Navy expands sonar testing despite troubling signs (KPBS)

The U.S. Navy plans to increase sonar testing over the next five years, even as research it funded reveals worrying signs that the loud underwater noise could disturb whales and dolphins.

Michigan passes ‘rape insurance’ bill (MSNBC)

Both chambers of the Michigan legislature have passed a measure banning insurance coverage for abortion in private health plans unless women purchase a separate rider.

Obama “keep your plan” promise labeled lie of the year by Politifact (CBS)

President Obama’s assurance that “If you like your health plan, you can keep it” was named the “Lie of the Year” on Thursday by PolitiFact, a fact-checking organization spun off of the Tampa Bay Times.


China makes history with Jade Rabbit moon rover landing (Yahoo News)

China's Jade Rabbit lunar rover vehicle drove onto the moon's surface on Sunday after the first soft landing on Earth's satellite in nearly four decades, marking a huge advance in the country's ambitious space programme.

North Korea Kim’s uncle executed (The Nation)

North Korea said Friday it has executed the uncle of leader Kim Jong-Un, branding veteran fixer Jang Song-Thaek a "traitor for all ages", as the US and South Korea voiced concern at the shock purge.

What does 74% youth unemployment feel like? (APM Marketplace)

 The rates of youth unemployment in some European countries have reached horrific levels: 60 percent in Greece, 74 percent in parts of southern Spain

Amazing photos capture snow covering Middle East (UT San Diego)

Forget snowmen and women. How about pictures of snow pyramids and sphinxes? An unusual storm is blanketing the Middle East with the white stuff, causing people to break out their gloves and their cameras in ways they never have. It even snowed in Jerusalem.