Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post

Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post

-With a friendly face, China tightens security- China’s authoritarianism has many faces, but rarely does it appear in the friendly, grandmotherly guise it has taken over the past week, as thousands of older women have shown up on the streets of the capital, their vigilant eyes eager to ferret out the smallest signs of trouble. These graying, smiling, energetic women are the most visible sign of the 1.4 million volunteers enlisted to squelch protests, crimes and anything else that could embarrass the ruling Communist Party during its sensitive once-a-decade transition of leadership. Security preparations began months ago for the party congress. Peaceful changes in China’s party leadership are rare; a successful transition would mark only the second one in the country’s history without blood or crisis, reports William Wan.


-Saudi Arabia struggles to employ its most-educated women- Manar Saud graduated in May from Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va., with a master’s degree in organizational leadership, paid for by a Saudi government scholarship. She came home to Riyadh eager to put her new skills to work, but after six months of looking for a job, she is still unemployed. “It’s really sad,” said Saud, 27, sipping coffee in a Starbucks, a black scarf framing her face, with floral trim on her long black abaya robe. “You come back so well prepared and so eager. Then all of a sudden, there is a brick wall in your face.” Saud is part of a rising generation of young Saudi women caught between a government spending billions to educate and employ them, and a deeply conservative religious society that fiercely resists women in the workplace, reports Kevin Sullivan.


-Israel confronts rocket attacks from Gaza, stray shelling from Syria- Israel faced the prospect of stepped-up military action on two fronts Monday as rockets fired from Gaza hit southern communities for the third straight day, and the army said it shelled a Syrian artillery battery after a stray shell landed near one of its posts in the Golan Heights.The attack on the mobile artillery battery was the first time that Israeli forces had engaged Syrian troops across the Golan frontier since the 1973 Middle East war, and it ratcheted up tensions across a cease-fire line that has been quiet for decades, reports Joel Greenberg.



-Petraeus hoped affair would stay secret and he could keep his job as CIA director- FBI agents searched the home of the woman at the center of the scandal involving former CIA director David H. Petraeus on Monday evening, carrying away boxes and bags of material and taking photographs inside her home in Charlotte. A senior law enforcement official said the agents were searching for any classified or sensitive documents that may have been in the possession of Paula Broadwell, a former military officer and Petraeus biographer whose extramarital affair with him led to his resignation Friday. Local television stations showed agents carrying boxes out of the two-story brick house Broadwell shares with her husband, a radiologist, and two young sons. Agents also appeared to be taking photographs inside the house, report Sari Horwitz, Kimberly Kindy and Scott Wilson.


-Obama consider John Kerry for job of defense secretary- President Obama is considering asking Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) to serve as his next defense secretary, part of an extensive rearrangement of his national security team that will include a permanent replacement for former CIA director David H. Petraeus. Although Kerry is thought to covet the job of secretary of state, senior administration officials familiar with the transition planning said that nomination will almost certainly go to Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, report Karen DeYoung and Greg Miller.


-Pelosi considers stepping down as House Democratic leader- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), who built and then lost the largest Democratic majority in a generation, is considering ending her historic 10-year reign as Democratic leader after the second disappointing election in a row for her caucus. Pelosi has not signaled whether she intends to remain atop a caucus that she has ruled with a near-iron fist, including four years as the first female House speaker and six years in the minority, reports Paul Kane.


THE ROOT: The Multiracial Face of the Democratic Party- For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. And so today it seems almost serendipitous that the xenophobic campaign employed to undermine and delegitimize President Obama laid the very seeds of the GOP's electoral demise on Nov. 6, 2012. Obama's Electoral College victory of 332 to 206 was achieved because of the disproportionate support he received from Asian Americans, African Americans and Latinos. Much of the postelection analysis has claimed that these results could have been read in the tea leaves of the 2010 census. But Obama's rainbow coalition wasn't just about numbers and demographic shifts -- his success reflects changing attitudes about racial identity, social cohesion and a growing cooperation among minority communities, writes Edward Wyckoff Williams.


-Scandal probe ensnares commander of U.S., NATO troops in Afghanistan- The FBI probe into the sex scandal that prompted CIA Director David Petraeus to resign has expanded to ensnare Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced early Tuesday. According to a senior U.S. defense official, the FBI has uncovered between 20,000 and 30,000 documents — most of them e-mails — of “potentially inappropriate” communications between Allen and Jill Kelley, a 37-year-old Tampa woman whose close relationship with Petraeus ultimately led to his downfall. Allen, a Marine, succeeded Petraeus as the top allied commander in Afghanistan in July 2011. He also served as Petraeus’s deputy when both generals led the military’s Tampa-based Central Command from 2008 until 2010, reports Craig Whitlock.


- Liberal groups mobilize for ‘fiscal cliff’ fight over Social Security, Medicare- With President Obama seeking a deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” liberal groups that campaigned aggressively for his reelection are mobilizing to oppose concessions they fear he could make on Medicare and Social Security. Leaders of the nation’s labor unions and other liberal groups are planning Tuesday to press Obama at the White House to reject the kind of cuts in Medicare and Social Security that he has previously offered to make. On Thursday, left-leaning lawmakers and seniors groups plan to rally on Capitol Hill against any changes to entitlements, reports Zachary A. Goldfarb


-2 million could lose unemployment benefits unless Congress extends program- More than 2 million Americans stand to lose their jobless benefits unless Congress reauthorizes federal emergency unemployment help before the end of the year. The people in danger of having their unemployment checks cut off are among those who have benefited least from the slowly improving job market: Americans who have been out of work longer than six months, reports Michael A. Fletcher.


-Capital Business: Are walkable neighborhoods the future?- Christopher B. Leinberger has been pushing the smart growth ethos nearly his entire professional life. As a private sector developer, a consultant and now a business school professor and smart growth advocate, Leinberger argues that building walkable places is the most efficient, environmentally friendly, socially equitable and valuable way of developing real estate. In his latest research, Leinberger makes the case that walkable, urban places — which he calls WalkUPs — have overtaken the drivable suburban environment as the dominant form of real estate development in the Washington area, reports Jonathan O’Connell.


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