Today’s top world news from The Washington Post:

Today’s top world news from The Washington Post:




-Gen. John Allen intends to retire, decline military’s top post in Europe--Obama had wanted to give Allen, who relinquished command in Kabul this month, the military’s most prestigious overseas assignment — supreme allied commander in Europe. But on Tuesday morning, Allen announced that he planned to retire from the military because his wife is seriously ill.  The decision deprives the president of a four-star general with whom he had built a close wartime relationship and forces the White House to find a new candidate to oversee U.S. and NATO operations in Europe, reports Rajiv Chandrasekaran.


-Syrian rebels threaten to hit Hezbollah targets in Lebanon--Syrian rebels on Tuesday threatened to carry out attacks against Hezbollah inside Lebanon, a dangerous escalation of the conflict that could destabilize Syria’s politically volatile neighbor as well as the region.  The heightened tensions on both sides of the border came as four mortar rounds hit one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s palaces in Damascus on Tuesday, according to opposition activists, report Babak Dehghanpisheh and Ahmed Ramadan.


-Chinese hackers outed themselves by logging into their personal Facebook accounts--Mandiant, the U.S. firm contracted to investigate cyberattacks against U.S. corporations, says it was able to track an extensive hacking campaign back to the Chinese military in part by exploiting China’s own Web restrictions, reports Max Fisher.




-Sequester just over a week away, but blame game has already begun--The fight between President Obama and congressional Republicans over the automatic spending cuts that start next week is shifting from one about stopping them to one about assigning blame if they happen. The escalating efforts are a reflection of how crucial the sequester has become in the long-running debate over the size and scope of the federal government, reports Zachary Goldfarb.

-How D.C. area government will be impacted by cuts


-OPINION by Ruth Marcus: Will Obama urge court on same-sex marriage?--Will President Obama say to the Supreme Court what he said to the American people in his second inaugural address about same-sex marriage?  Obama’s remarks were striking, on several levels. First, that he dared to broach what was once a hot-button issue in such a high-stakes venue. Second, that he phrased the argument for same-sex marriage so passionately. Third, and perhaps most important, that he did so in a way that conflicted with his previous discussion of the issue.


-Obama reaches out to Republican senators on immigration overhaul--Facing criticism for failing to reach out to Republicans negotiating an immigration overhaul, President Obama placed phone calls Tuesday afternoon to three GOP senators involved in an eight-member bipartisan group working on the issue. The calls from Obama represented unusually direct outreach by a president who has rarely engaged the Republican rank-and-file in difficult legislative debates, often preferring to ratchet up public pressure instead. The strategy comes in part because many GOP lawmakers do not wish to be seen as working directly with the Democratic president, reports Rosalind Helderman.


-The Root: Does Obama Owe a Debt to Black America?--Does President Barack Obama owe a special debt to black America? Does he have a duty to spell out a specific black policy agenda? Is it time for him to squarely talk about race again, something he hasn't really done since his 2008 Philadelphia speech? Will he have failed as the first African-American president if he does not do so?  The question has urgency in certain quarters, with some asserting that Obama should "no longer get a pass" from black folks and implying that he is ignoring the needs of his most loyal constituents, writes Lawrence Bobo.


-BP agreement could cut oil spill fines--BP has won an agreement from the Justice Department that there will be no penalties on the barrels of crude oil the company was able to recapture during the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill, effectively cutting the company’s potential Clean Water Act fines by as much as $900 million, or even up to $3.5 billion, reports Steven Mufson.


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