ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

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East County News Service

March 15, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) - East County Magazine's 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.

General News

Politics

 

WORLD

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

U.S.

General News

Federal Reserve hikes interest rate for second time in 3 months (NBC7)

The Federal Reserve is raising its benchmark interest rate for the second time in three months and signaling that any further hikes this year will be gradual. The move reflects a consistently solid U.S. economy and will likely mean higher rates on some consumer and business loans.

Blizzards hit northeast U.S., grounding flights, closing schools (Reuters)

Snow piled up rapidly in parts of the northeastern United States on Tuesday as a blizzard swept in, forcing airlines to ground flights and schools to cancel classes while shrouding an early herald of spring, Washington's famed cherry blossoms, in ice.  The National Weather Service (NWS) warned some 50 million people from Pennsylvania to Maine of a "rapidly intensifying nor'easter" that was unusual for so late in the winter …

Justice Department charging Russian spies and criminal hackers in Yahoo intrusion (Washington Post)

The Justice Department is set to announce Wednesday the indictments of two Russian spies and two criminal hackers in connection with the heist of 500 million Yahoo user accounts in 2014, marking the first U.S. criminal cyber charges ever against Russian government officials.

Federal judge: Border Patrol in Arizona violated court order (Associated Press)

A federal judge has said the Border Patrol in Arizona violated court orders by failing to properly preserve surveillance video related to a lawsuit claiming the agency detains migrants in inhumane conditions.

Politics

Trump budget opens new fight among Republicans (Reuters)

Some Republicans worry Trump's budget could force lawmakers to choose between opposing the president or backing reductions in popular programs like aid for disabled children and hot meals for the elderly.

Trump envoy launches preliminary talks on “ultimate deal’ – Middle East peace (L.A. Times)

An en envoy for President Trump finished two days of talks with leaders in Jerusalem and Ramallah as the new administration launched into the nitty-gritty of advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

Disabled Americans have most to fear under Republicare (Esquire)

Nearly twenty percent of the population could lose disability coverage.

Bush ethics lawyer on Trump-Russia ties: ‘KGB agents running around the West Wing’ (The Hill)

Richard Painter, President George W. Bush's former ethics lawyer, said late Friday he has major concerns over the Trump administration's ties to Russia….It makes no sense to run a government this way,” Painter said. "This is a completely chaotic situation…People are not being honest about their foreign contacts, and talk about this ‘deep state theory’ as if there are somehow Obama moles in the government under the Trump administration,” Painter continued. “It’s the KGB agents running around the West Wing or the national security council."

Weather Service employees shocked by reported cuts (Gov Exec Oversight)

Reports that the Trump White House budget office plans major cuts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have left employees “in the stages of grief, denial and little shocked,” a union leader told Government Executive…“The rise in extreme weather events across the country argues for increasing rather than stripping local forecasting capacity,” said PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch.

Senate narrowly passes repeal of Obama Fair Play, Safe Workplace rule (Gov Exec Oversight)

…Obama’s original order aimed to protect contractor employees from wage theft and unsafe working conditions by requiring employers bidding on federal contracts to disclose violations and alleged violations of 14 federal labor laws and similar state labor laws.  Many contractors resisted the plan as a burdensome form of “blacklisting” that penalized companies for unproven violations.

Bernie Sanders’ campaign faced a fake news tsunami. Where did it come from? (Huffington Post on a San Diego investigative reporter’s startling findings)

Last June, John Mattes started noticing something coursing like a virus through the Facebook page he helped administer for Bernie Sanders fans in San Diego. People with no apparent ties to California were friending the page and sharing links from unfamiliar sites full of anti-Hillary Clinton propaganda.

Revised Trump travel ban suffers first legal blow (Politico)

Federal judge in Wisconsin blocks impact on Syrian family as other courts mull broader relief

Supreme Court won’t hear major case on transgender rights (New York Times)

Prompted by the Trump administration’s reversal of the federal government’s position on transgender rights, the Supreme Court announced on Monday that it would not decide whether a transgender boy in Virginia could use the boys’ bathroom at his high school… The issue will almost certainly return to the Supreme Court, probably in a year or two.

Tillerson used email alias at Exxon to talk climate: New York attorney general (Reuters)

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp, used an alias email address while at the oil company to send and receive information related to climate change and other matters, according to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The letter was sent to a New York state judge overseeing Schneiderman's investigation into whether Exxon misled shareholders and the public about climate change.

Wall Street spent $2 billion trying to influence 2016 election (Fortune)

Wall Street has really thrown its money around Washington the past couple of years.

WORLD

World faces worst humanitarian crisis since 1945, says U.N. official (Guardian)

Twenty million people face starvation without an immediate injection of funds in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria, warns Stephen O’Brien.

White House ups drone strikes, tolerates more civilian deaths (NBC7)

The Trump administration is moving ahead with plans to make it easier for the CIA and the military to target terrorists with drone strikes, even if it means tolerating more civilian casualties, U.S. officials told NBC News. The military already has declared that parts of Yemen and Somalia are war zones — "areas of active hostilities" in Pentagon parlance — which means the U.S. has greater latitude to launch strikes even if civilian deaths are possible.

Kremlin: Russian ambassador met with Clinton campaign, too (Blaze)

…During an interview with CNN host Fareed Zakaria, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov asserted that Kislyak met with Clinton advisers before the election, and that it wasn’t abnormal for the ambassador to speak with both candidates in the running to discuss relations between the two countries.

Jordanian soldier who shot Israeli schoolgirls walks free from jail (Reuters)

 A Jordanian soldier who killed seven Israeli schoolgirls has been freed after serving 20 years in prison, with many Jordanians celebrating his release and calling him a national hero, witnesses and family sources said on Sunday.

Israel bars entry to British activist because of BDS support (Jerusalem Post)

The law, adopted Monday by the Knesset, bans entry to foreigners who publicly call for boycotting the Jewish state or its settlements.

Mass Secret Grave in Eastern Mexico Could Be Country's Largest, Official Says (NPR)

The state prosecutor in Veracruz says that "for years organized crime has disappeared and assassinated people with the complicity of the authorities."