Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post

Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post

-Egypt’s growing black market a sign of economic woes- The yellow horse-drawn gasoline tank is out in the open, on a busy highway that snakes along a poor slum in eastern Cairo. Trucks and cars stop to fill up. Pedestrians come by, too, with plastic containers to fill. The yellow tank isn’t alone. Mini-tankers and canisters of illegal diesel fuel have become ubiquitous in Egypt. Vendors hawk the fuel in crowded neighborhoods, next to shops and idle police officers who do little to stop the sales. Egypt’s rapidly expanding black market for fuel — and for foodstuffs, other commodities and U.S. dollars — may be the most tangible illustration of just how badly the economy of this vast Arab nation is failing, two years after the fall of Hosni Mubarak, reports Abigail Hauslohner.


-Kerry says U.S. will expedite new aid to Syrian opposition- Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Sunday that the United States would push to expedite delivery of new U.S. nonlethal military assistance to Syrian opposition fighters, including body armor and additional communications equipment. “I’m going to press to make sure this is a matter of weeks. It has to happen quickly; it has to have an impact,” Kerry said at a news conference after marathon meetings over the weekend to unify the rebel movement and its international backers, reports Karen DeYoung.


-Hagel: Mideast arms deal ‘a very clear signal’ to Iran- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived in Israel on Sunday to put the finishing touches on a complicated $10 billion arms deal with three Middle Eastern countries, saying the pact sends “a very clear signal” to Iran. Under preliminary terms of the agreement, the United States would sell tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey aircraft — which can take off like a helicopter but cruise at airplane speed — to Israel. It would be the first time that the Pentagon has approved a foreign sale of the Osprey, which can carry combat troops and is prized for its maneuverability, reports Craig Whitlock.



-The Fix-: How the Boston bombings will impact political Washington- Boston’s week-long nightmare ended Friday evening.  But, for political Washington the reverberations of what happened in the Hub have only just begun. Start with the Sunday talk shows, which were dominated by talk of Boston and its aftermath. Disagreements have already begun to emerge between Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Democrats like Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) over whether Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be treated as an enemy combatant. (Graham says he should, Feinstein disagrees.) Then consider the fallout that the bombings have already had on efforts to reform the country’s immigration system — with the likes of Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dan Coats (R-Ind.) urging Congress to slow down in the wake of Boston. (Graham, for what it’s worth, said Sunday that the bombings in Boston are an argument to speed up the reform of immigration laws), report Chris Cillizza and Sean Sullivan.


-Advocates of immigration reform fight back against push for delay- The Senate’s leading supporters of overhauling the nation’s immigration system sought Sunday to blunt a conservative effort to slow the pace of debate over their bill, saying the Boston Marathon bombings are a reason to move quickly to make changes. “What happened in Boston and international terrorism I think should urge us to act quicker, not slower,” said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a member of a bipartisan group of eight senators who last week introduced a bill that would rewrite U.S. immigration laws, including for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants, report Sean Sullivan and David Nakamura.


-Furloughs underway, but uncertainty remains for many workers- After months of nervous anticipation, federal workers begin the first major round of furloughs this week, even as much uncertainty remains at some agencies about how much time, if any, employees will lose from their jobs because of mandated spending cuts. About 17,000 employees of the Environmental Protection Agency also face furloughs beginning this week, as do 480 employees of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. But the Transportation Security Administration, which had warned that it would need to furlough 50,000 officers from their jobs protecting airline travel, said last week that the agency no longer expects to take employees off the job, reports Steve Vogel.


-CIA, FBI, military interrogators ready to question Boston bombing suspect- Federal prosecutors on Sunday were preparing to file charges against the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, even as he remained under heavy guard at a local hospital amid questions about whether authorities would be able to interrogate him. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was in critical but stable condition with a gunshot wound to the neck, Boston police said Sunday, and federal and local officials said they were unsure he would be able to talk again. “We don’t know if we’ll ever be able to question the individual,” Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said Sunday. The full extent of Tsarnaev’s injuries, and whether he sustained them in a gun battle with police more than 12 hours before his capture Friday evening, remained unclear, report Sari Horwitz, Jerry Markon and Jenna Johnson.


-Senate planning vote on Internet sales tax bill- The days of tax-free online shopping could finally be numbered. The Senate is planning to vote on a bill as soon as Monday that would give states the authority to collect sales taxes on all Internet purchases, handing local governments as much as $11 billion per year in added revenue that they are legally owed — but that hasn’t been paid to them for years, reports Jia Lynn Yang.


-Wall Street betting billions on single-family homes in distressed markets- Big investors are pouring unprecedented amounts of money into real estate hard hit by the housing crash, bringing those moribund markets back to life but raising the prospect of another Wall Street-fueled bubble that won’t be sustainable. Drawn by the prospect of double-figure profit margins on rents and the resale of homes whose prices plummeted in the crash, hedge funds, Wall Street investors and other institutions are crowding out individual home buyers, reports Michael A. Fletcher.


Copyright 2007