Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post

Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post

-Egypt’s Morsi declares state of emergency, curfew after deadly clashes- Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi declared a state of emergency and nighttime curfew across three major cities Sunday after violence raged for a third straight day, leaving nearly 50 dead and hundreds injured nationwide. The deployment Saturday of government troops to the coastal cities of Port Said and Suez, which have seen some of the worst violence, failed to quell a public backlash against a court verdict and raised doubts about whether Morsi’s embattled government could contain the situation. In a televised address Sunday night, the president said the state of emergency, which allows security forces to arrest and detain at will, would cover Port Said, Suez and Ismailia for 30 days, report Abigail Hauslohner and Sharaf al-Hourani.


-Police visit Chinese blogger who exposed sex scandal- Two months after exposing a scandal involving sex tapes, blackmail and lucrative government contracts, which resulted in 11 officials losing their jobs, blogger Zhu Ruifeng received a surprise visit from Chinese security officials Sunday night. “They are standing outside my door right now, knocking and even kicking the door, telling me to open it,” he said in a frantic phone call to a reporter. As he talked, men could be heard shouting in the background. “I think they’re coming to take me away,” Zhu said. “I talked to too many in the media, and it must have irritated someone.” The late-night standoff at Zhu’s home lasted more than two hours, ending when he promised to show up Monday morning at a nearby police station. And it illustrates the perils and possible limits of an anti-corruption campaign launched in November by China’s new leaders, reports William Wan.


-U.S. expands aid to French mission in Mali- The United States is significantly expanding its assistance to a French assault on Islamist militants in Mali by offering aerial refueling and planes to transport soldiers from other African nations, the Pentagon announced Saturday night. The gesture comes amid a debate within the Obama administration about how deeply it should engage in the French effort to prevent Islamists from wresting control of the West African nation. French requests for more robust support from Washington raised a legal dilemma because U.S. law forbids foreign assistance funds to leaders that came to power through a coup. Mali’s military leaders, including some trained by U.S. troops, seized power last year by force, reports Ernesto Londono.



-Bipartisan group of senators to unveil framework for immigration overhaul- A key group of senators from both parties will unveil on Monday the framework of a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws, including a pathway to citizenship for more than 11 million illegal immigrants. The detailed, four-page statement of principles will carry the signatures of four Republicans and four Democrats, a bipartisan push that would have been unimaginable just months ago on one of the country’s most emotionally divisive issues. The document is intended to provide guideposts that would allow legislation to be drafted by the end of March, including a potentially controversial “tough but fair” route to citizenship for those now living in the country illegally, report Rosalind S. Helderman and Sean Sullivan.


-Threat of automatic cuts costly to federal agencies- The drastic $85 billion in automatic spending cuts Congress approved in hopes of heading off another deficit showdown may or may not occur, but federal agencies say the threat has been disrupting government for months as officials take costly and inefficient steps to prepare. A National Weather Service official is planning to shut down radars on sunny days in the South — and crossing his fingers that no unexpected storms pass through. New federal grants for medical research are being postponed, resulting in layoffs now and costly paperwork later. And military leaders, who are delaying training for active and reserve forces, are trying to negotiate millions of dollars in penalties that the Defense Department is incurring from canceled contracts, reports Lisa Rein.


-The Fix: As GOP looks to pick up Senate seats, caution is the watchword- When Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) announced Saturday that he wouldn’t seek a sixth term, Republicans rejoiced at the possibility of picking up the seat in 2014. But, that joy soon gave way to political reality — the likelihood of a primary between conservative, tea-party-aligned Rep. Steve King and a more establishment GOP figure such as Rep. Tom Latham or Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. And, just in case Republicans thought they might avoid that sort of primary fight, King released this statement Saturday night: “Iowans now have a real opportunity to elect a true Constitutional conservative.” (In case you were wondering, he is referring to himself.) Iowa is one of a handful of states where Republicans have the opportunity to pick up Democratic Senate seats in 2014 — West Virginia, Minnesota and Alaska are the three other obvious examples, reports Chris Cillizza.


-WONKBLOG: Republicans think the sequester gives them leverage. They’re wrong- Now that Republicans have delayed the debt ceiling for three months, their next point of attack, they say, are the deep spending cuts in the so-called “sequester.” House Speaker John Boehner told the Wall Street Journal editorial board that the sequester is “as much leverage as we’re going to get.” He meant that to sound reassuring to conservatives. But I can’t figure out why they’re reassured. The problem with the GOP’s plan to use the sequester as leverage is evident as soon as you stop using the vague term “sequester” and instead call the policy what it is: A bunch of very dumb — but extremely Democrat-friendly — spending cuts, reports Ezra Klein.


-Trumps turned down in request for tax relief on Old Post Office Pavilion- D.C. officials say the Trump Organization, led by magnate Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka, have inquired about whether the District would forgo property taxes at the Old Post Office Pavilion in order to facilitate redevelopment of the building into a luxury hotel. D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and members of the D.C. Council were not receptive to the idea of providing a tax break to one of the world’s most famous wealthy people, someone who claims to be worth $7 billion, despite their interest in adding high-end hospitality on Pennsylvania Avenue, reports Jonathan O’Connell.


-Mortgage-modification programs still have a long way to go- Alfreda Williams has been on the front lines for a long time, shepherding people through some tough battles. Williams is a senior foreclosure counselor for HomeFree-USA, one of the many agencies across the country approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to help people save their homes if possible. Williams has seen the ugly side of the expensive and predatory mortgages that helped create the housing crash we’ve been trying to recover from for the last several years. In response to the housing crisis and the onslaught of foreclosures, the federal government established the Making Home Affordable Program, which includes several strategies to help financially distressed homeowners, writes Michelle Singletary.



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