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ECM WORLD WATCH: GLOBAL AND NATIONAL NEWS




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January 12, 2012 --  (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 reflecting 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. 
  • U.S. economy creates 200,000 jobs in December: 6th month of gains in a row as unemployed drops to 8.5% (BBC)
  • South Carolina in spotlight after Romney win in New Hampshire (CNN)
  • Richard Cordray appointment turns “lights on” at consumer bureau (Los Angeles Times)
  • Obama recess appointments anger GOP (CNN)
  • President Obama has made far fewer recess appointments than any recent president (ThinkProgress)
  • Tweak in rules to ease a path to green card (New York Times)
  • Families of dead Blackwater contractors settle suits (San Diego Union-Tribune)
     
WORLD 
  • Assad promises victory, Syria accused of war crimes (Reuters)
  • Iran Court sentences American to death (Washington Post)
  • Japan to issue new limits on atomic reactor use (NPR)
  • Wholesale approval of genetically engineered foods: Obama administration disappoints, angers public (Cornucopia)
  • Egypt Islamists win nearly two-thirds of seats (Jerusalem Post)
     
SCIENCE AND HEALTH 
  • Experimental magnetic pulses may help heal a brain after stroke (NPR)
  • New ‘seek and destroy’ method to fight cancer (Jerusalem post)
  • Study: parasitic fly could explain bee die-off (NPR)
 
Scroll down for excerpts and links to full stories. 

 

U.S.

 
U.S. economy creates 200,000 jobs in December: 6th month of gains in a row as unemployed drops to 8.5% (BBC)
 
January 6, 2012 -- The US economy created 200,000 jobs in December, marking the sixth month in a row of gains, official figures show. The rise was much more than expected. Analysts had forecast an increase of about 150,000 jobs. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.5%, which was the lowest level in nearly three years, from a revised 8.7% in November, the Labor Department said.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16445441
 
South Carolina in spotlight after Romney win in New Hampshire (CNN)
 
 January 12, 2012 -- Mitt Romney arrived Wednesday in South Carolina as the clear front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, while his rivals campaigned across the state to try to halt the former Massachusetts governor's momentum after his victory the day before in New Hampshire.
http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/11/politics/new-hampshire-main/index.html?hpt=hp_t1
 
Richard Cordray appointment turns “lights on” at consumer bureau (Los Angeles Times)
 
January 4, 2012 -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the centerpiece in the overhaul of financial regulations 18 months ago, was billed as a powerful new regulator to put the pocketbooks of average Americans ahead of the fat wallets on Wall Street.

But the agency has been hobbled since opening last summer because it couldn't exercise some of its most important powers — such as new rules for mortgage brokers, payday lenders and financial firms outside the banking system — until the Senate confirmed its first director.
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-cordray-consumer-bureau-20120105,0,2888288.story

 
Obama recess appointments anger GOP (CNN)
 
January 4, 2012 -- In a move that has angered Republicans, President Obama on Wednesday announced he's making a recess appointment of Richard Cordray to be the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, sidestepping the Senate confirmation process.
"Today, I'm appointing Richard as America's consumer watchdog," Obama said in a speech in Ohio, where Cordray served as attorney general. "That means he'll be in charge of one thing: Looking out for the best interests of American consumers."
http://money.cnn.com/2012/01/04/news/economy/consumer_bureau_cordray/index.htm?hpt=hp_t1
 
President Obama has made far fewer recess appointments than any recent president (ThinkProgress)
 
January 4, 2012 -- Despite the inevitable conservative complaints that President Obama is engaged in some kind of massive overreach by recess appointing Richard Cordray as the nation’s chief consumer financial protection watchdog, the truth is that Obama has used his recess appointment power very sparingly. After today’s appointment, President Obama will have made a total of 29 recess appointments. By comparison, George W. Bush made 171 recess appointments; Bill Clinton made 139 recess appointments; George H.W. Bush made 77 recess appointments; and Ronald Reagan made 243. When you divide these numbers by the number of years each man spent in the White House, it reveals that Obama is far and away the least likely president to invoke this power.
http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/01/04/397589/president-obama-has-made-far-fewer-recess-appointments-than-any-recent-president/
 
Tweak in rules to ease a path to green card (New York Times)
 
Obama administration officials announced on Friday they are proposing a fix to a Catch-22 in immigration law that could spare hundreds of thousands of American citizens from prolonged separations from illegal immigrant spouses and children.
 
Although the regulatory tweak appears small, lawyers said it would mean that many Americans will no longer be separated for months or years from family members pursuing legal residency. Even more citizens could be encouraged to come forward to bring illegal immigrant relatives into the system, they said.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/07/us/path-to-green-card-for-illegal-immigrant-family-members-of-americans.html?_r=3
Families of dead Blackwater contractors settle suits (San Diego Union-Tribune)
 
January 6, 2012 -- Seven years after it was filed, what could have been a landmark lawsuit over battlefield accountability in an era of privatized warfare has been quietly laid to rest.
As a result, the security company formerly known as Blackwater has avoided a public examination of the bloody event that catapulted the company to worldwide attention and changed the course of the Iraq war.
http://hamptonroads.com/2012/01/families-dead-blackwater-contractors-settle-suit

WORLD

Assad promises victory, Syria accused of war crimes (Reuters)
 
January 11, 2012 -- An Algerian has quit the Arab League team sent to check Syria's compliance with an Arab peace plan, and a second monitor said he might leave because the mission was failing to end the killing of civilians protesting against the president's rule.

The 22-member League, which suspended Syria in November, sent the monitors last month to verify if Syria was carrying out an agreement to halt its crackdown on protests against President Bashar al-Assad.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/11/us-syria-idUSTRE8041A820120111

Iran Court sentences American to death (Washington Post)
 
January 9, 2012 -- An Iranian court sentenced a Michigan man to death on espionage charges Monday, drawing an angry response from the Obama administration and driving up the temperature in an increasingly volatile feud between the two countries.
Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine of Iranian descent, was handed a death sentence for a list of alleged crimes that included spying for the CIA, state media reported. U.S. officials said the charges were false and politically motivated, describing them as the latest in a series of provocations by Iran’s clerical rulers.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/iran-court-sentences-american-to-death/2012/01/09/gIQA3T8GlP_story.html?hpid=z1
Japan to issue new limits on atomic reactor use (NPR)
 
January 7, 2012 -- Japan says it will soon require atomic reactors to be shut down after 40 years of use to improve safety following the nuclear crisis set off by last year's tsunami.
Concern about aging reactors has been growing because the three units at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant in northeastern Japan that went into meltdown following the tsunami in March were built starting in 1967. Among other reactors at least 40 years old are those at the Tsuruga and Mihama plants in central Japan, which were built starting in 1970.
http://www.npr.org/2012/01/07/144819928/japan-to-issue-new-limit-on-atomic-reactor-use?ft=1&f=1004
 
Wholesale approval of genetically engineered foods: Obama administration disappoints, angers public (Cornucopia)
Over the holidays, the United States Department of Agriculture announced its approval of a novel strain of genetically engineered corn, developed by Monsanto, purportedly being “drought tolerant.”
Despite receiving nearly 45,000 public comments in opposition to this particular genetically engineered (GE) corn variety (and only 23 comments in favor), the Obama administration gave Monsanto the green light to release its newest  GE corn variety freely into the environment and American food supply, without any governmental oversight or safety tracking.
http://www.cornucopia.org/2012/01/wholesale-approval-of-genetically-engineered-foods-obama-administration-disappointsangers-public/
Egypt Islamists win nearly two-thirds of seats (Jerusalem Post)
 
January 7, 2012 --  The Muslim Brotherhood said on Saturday it had won at least 41 percent of the seats in Egypt's lower house of parliament, with Islamists of various stripes occupying almost two thirds of the assembly so far.

Banned under deposed president Hosni Mubarak, the Brotherhood has emerged as a major winner from the uprising that toppled him, exploiting a well-organized support base in the first free legislative vote in decades.
http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=252622&R=R3

SCIENCE AND HEALTH

Experimental magnetic pulses may help heal a brain after stroke (NPR)
 
December 15, 2011 -- A little brain stimulation seems to speed up recovery from a stroke. This isn't the sort of brain stimulation you get from conversation. It's done using an electromagnetic coil placed against the scalp. Researchers think the treatment encourages brain cells to form new connections, allowing the brain to rewire itself to compensate for damage caused by a stroke.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/12/15/143762647/experimental-magnetic-pulses-may-help-heal-a-brain-after-stroke?ft=1&f=1128

New ‘seek and destroy’ method to fight cancer (Jerusalem post)
 
January 2, 2012 -- Even when surgical tumor removal is combined with a heavy dose of chemotherapy or radiation, there’s no guarantee that the cancer will not return. Now researchers at Tel Aviv University are strengthening the odds in favor of permanent tumor destruction — and an immunity to the cancer’s return — with a new method of tumor removal.
http://www.jpost.com/Health/Article.aspx?id=251622&R=R77
 
Study: parasitic fly could explain bee die-off (NPR)
 
January 4, 2012 -- Northern California scientists say they have found a possible explanation for the honey bee die-off: a parasitic fly that hijacks the bees' bodies and causes them to abandon hives. The symptoms mirror colony collapse disorder, in which all the adult honey bees in a colony suddenly disappear. The disorder continues to decimate hives in the U.S. and overseas.
http://www.npr.org/2012/01/04/144697155/study-parasitic-fly-could-explain-bee-die-off?ft=1&f=1007