Today’s top world news from The Washington Post:

Today’s top world news from The Washington Post:

-In Syria, some brace for the next war--As this remote corner of northeastern Syria fast slides out of government control, many Syrians are bracing for what they fear will be another war, between the relatively moderate fighters who first took up arms against the government and the Islamist extremists who emerged more recently with the muscle and firepower to drive the rebel advance, reports Liz Sly.

-Senators urge engaging China in North Korea effort--The United States is capable of responding to an attack from North Korea, but Washington and its allies must work hard to “preserve the peace,” the American commander overseeing operations on the Korean Peninsula said Tuesday as U.S. senators urged him to engage China more forcefully in that effort, report Ernesto Londoño and Karen DeYoung.

-Iraqi refugees in Syria feel new strains of war--As the conflict in Syria has raged over the past two years, the sectarian bloodletting, the car bombs and the rise of religious extremists have been all too familiar to one group of people in the country: Iraqi refugees.  There are some 480,000 Iraqi refugees in Syria, according to government estimates, many of whom fled Iraq to escape exactly the same kind of indiscriminate violence that is spreading across Syria, reports Babak Dehghanpisheh.

-Lew calls on Germany to focus on growth to spur European economy--On the second day of his trip to Europe, Lew met with Schaeuble, the architect of Germany’s response to the financial crisis buffeting the continent, and argued that more must be done to encourage economic growth. Germany has acknowledged the need to do more to boost the European economy but has resisted taking the sort of swift and flexible action that Americans favor, reports Zachary Goldfarb.


-Senate set to vote on start of gun control debate--The Senate is poised to begin the most wide-ranging and ambitious battle over gun control on Capitol Hill in 20 years, with a vote scheduled Thursday that would formally start the debate.  News of that vote was a boost for the Obama administration, which has lobbied hard for increased background checks on potential gun buyers and for new limits on assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines. All will face heavy opposition from the National Rifle Association and its Capitol Hill allies in both parties, report Ed O'Keefe and David Fahrenthold.

-‘Obama phones’ subsidy program draws new scrutiny on the Hill--In the 31 / 2 years after false rumors started that the Obama administration was giving free cellphones to poor people — and six months after a racially charged video about it went viral — a once-obscure phone service subsidy is getting renewed scrutiny on Capitol Hill.  There are growing calls in Congress to end or drastically cut back Lifeline; later this month, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing that could help determine its fate, reports Karen Tumulty.

-New documents raise more questions about financing of McDonnell’s daughter’s wedding--Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell has said his daughter and her husband paid for their own wedding. So a $15,000 check from a major campaign donor to pay for the food at the affair was a gift to the bride and groom and not to him and therefore did not have to be publicly disclosed under the law, the governor says.  But documents obtained by The Washington Post show that McDonnell signed the catering contract, making him financially responsible for the 2011 event, reports Rosalind Helderman.

-OPINION by Dana Milbank: Obama’s intransigent backbench--But, in reality, the progressives’ street protest did Obama a favor. He needs to have the likes of Bernie Sanders against him. It strengthens his hand and helps him negotiate a better deal with Republican leaders, who can now see that liberal backbenchers and interest groups can sometimes be as intransigent as conservatives.

-Obama to unveil $3.77 trillion spending plan--President Obama plans Wednesday to unveil a $3.77 trillion spending plan that proposes modest new investments in infrastructure and education, major new taxes for the wealthy and significant reforms aimed at reducing the cost of Social Security and Medicare.  As Washington barrels toward another potential showdown over the federal debt limit later this summer, administration officials said the blueprint lays down the president’s bottom-line offer for getting federal borrowing under control, reports Lori Montgomery.


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