ECM WORLD WATCH: TOP U.S. AND GLOBAL NEWS

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April 3, 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:

U.S.

WORLD

 Scroll down for excerpts and links to full stories.

U.S.

New Visa Would Allow At Least 20,000 Low-Wage Workers To Come To U.S. (NPR)

The Senate is closer to an immigration plan that includes a new visa program for low-wage workers. The visa plan was agreed to by the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and will provide at least 20,000 visas starting in 2015. Robert Siegel speaks with Tom Snyder, manager of the AFL-CIO's Citizenship Now campaign, who helped craft the plan.

Expert: Recent Attacks On Justice Community 'Really Unprecedented' (NPR)

Two county prosecutors fatally shot in Texas. Colorado's top prison official gunned down. And a dozen more members of the U.S. justice community — ranging from police to judges — victims of targeted killings since the beginning of the decade. What's going on?

IRS weighs changes to Obama healthcare investment tax rules (Reuters)

(Reuters) - Businesses and wealthy owners of estates and trusts asked the IRS on Tuesday for changes to a part of President Barack Obama's 2010 healthcare law that has received comparatively little attention: a 3.8 percent tax on investment income intended to provide the bulk of the law's funding.

Fracking’s latest scandal: earthquake swarms (Mother Jones)

Turns out that when a barely regulated industry injects highly pressurized wastewater into faults, things can go terribly wrong.

Want a U.S. visa? Got a spare $500,000? (American Public Media)

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses," reads a plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty, but these days we might want to add "your rich and well-heeled." The U.S. government has been issuing a growing number of so-called EB-5 visas, which grant residency to immigrants who invest at least half a million dollars in the U.S. and create or save no less than 10 jobs.

Americans On Disability Play An Increasingly Important Role In The Economy (NPR)

The number of workers on disability has been about doubling every 15 years, and the fund for disabled workers is expected to run out of money in 2016.

Obama administration moves ahead with sweeping rules requiring cleaner gasoline (Washington Post)

The Environmental Protection Agency will move ahead Friday with a rule requiring cleaner gasoline and lower-pollution vehicles nationwide, amounting to one of President Obama’s most significant air pollution initiatives, according to people briefed on the decision.

WORLD

North Korea to restart nuclear reactor in weapons bid (Reuters)

(Reuters) - North Korea said on Tuesday it would revive a mothballed nuclear reactor able to produce bomb-grade plutonium but stressed it was seeking a deterrent capacity and did not repeat recent threats to attack South Korea and the United States.

 

From The Stone Age To The Digital Age In One Big Leap (NPR)

Deep in the Amazon, an isolated Brazilian tribe almost vanished when it first had contact with the modern world. Now the Surui tribe is working with Google to do things like report on illegal logging in the forest.

Why is the US shifting its missile defense out of Europe? (Christian Science Monitor)

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recently announced plans to cancel a planned US missile defense network in Europe, and instead beef up its interceptors in the Pacific.

Vigilantes seize town in Mexico, arrest police (Christian Science Monitor)

Vigilantes seize town: A tourist heading to the beach with relatives was slightly wounded Tuesday after they refused to stop at a roadblock and vigilantes fired shots at their car, officials said.

Pope washes women’s feet in break with church law (Yahoo! News)

In his most significant break with tradition yet, Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of two young women at a juvenile detention center — a surprising departure from church rules that restrict the Holy Thursday ritual to men.

How potent are North Korea’s threats? (BBC)

The latest UN sanctions on North Korea unleashed an angry response. Pyongyang announced an end to all non-aggression pacts with the South, having earlier threatened a pre-emptive nuclear strike against attackers. The BBC examines how much of a threat North Korea really poses to the US and its Asian neighbours.

Al-Qaida linked group doubles size in Syria (Jerusalem Post)

Al Nusra Front mushrooms to 1,000 fighters; new recruits returning to Syria after sojourning in Iraq, Turkish daily 'Hurriyet' reports.

Putin flexes Russian military muscle in naval exercise (Reuters)

(Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin ordered large-scale military exercises in the Black Sea on Thursday, projecting Russian power towards Europe and the Middle East in a move that may vex neighbors.

 Banks score major win in private Libor suits (Reuters)

 The world's biggest banks won a major victory on Friday when a U.S. judge dismissed a "substantial portion" of the claims in private lawsuits accusing them of rigging global benchmark interest rates. / The 16 banks had faced claims totaling billions of dollars in the case, which had been considered the biggest legal threat that they faced aside from investigations being pursued by regulators in the United States, Europe and Britain.