Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post
-In North Korea, the state-run news agency is the weapon of choice- North Korea has kept this region on edge in recent weeks primarily by using its weapon of choice in times of warmongering: the state-run news agency. The massive wire service, known as the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), serves as the primary mouthpiece for the North’s authoritarian government, lauding upticks in factory production, documenting the arrival of floral baskets for the ruling Kims and occasionally warning about possible nuclear strikes on neighbors, reports Chico Harlan.
-Air Force advisers remember deadly Kabul insider attack of 2011- Two years after one of the deadliest insider attacks in the history of the war in Afghanistan, a new generation of U.S. Air Force advisers gathered here to remember nine men and women who were killed by a rogue Afghan air force officer in Kabul. In April 2011, when Col. Ahmed Gul fatally shot the eight airmen and one civilian adviser, such “green-on-blue,” or insider, attacks were rare. Two years later, Western officials acknowledge the enormous impact of such incidents; 62 NATO service members were killed by Afghan soldiers and police officers last year. But the nine Americans killed in 2011 — known within Air Force circles as the “NATC-A Nine” (the acronym stands for NATO Air Training Command Afghanistan) — were buried long before such attacks were considered part of a trend, or a strategy articulated by the Taliban, reports Kevin Sieff.
-Hezbollah’s role in Syrian civil war drives sectarian tension in Lebanon- Lebanese groups on opposite ends of the nation’s polarized political spectrum are starting to play a more public role in the Syrian civil war, rendering Lebanon’s stated policy of neutrality toward the two-year conflict increasingly obsolete and threatening the tenuous stability of this Arab country. Although the Lebanese militant and political group Hezbollah has acknowledged little about its role in the fighting next door, Syrian rebels and an analyst close to the Shiite organization, a longtime ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, say it has amplified its operations inside Syria in recent weeks, adding muscle and firepower to an ongoing Syrian military offensive to retake a strategically important border zone from the rebels, reports Abigail Hauslohner.
OTHER TOP NEWS
-After string of setbacks, more charm may be the last, best option for Obama- There was little time to mingle Tuesday night at the White House. Five minutes after greeting them, President Obama ushered 20 female senators into the State Dining Room and invited each to offer her thoughts on the issues of the day. And that was about it. “That took up our entire two hours, to go around the table,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), recalled in an interview. “It was not the kind of warm banter that can go back and forth. People had their points they wanted to make to the president. It was all business.” After more than four years in the White House and weeks into his latest effort to woo lawmakers, Obama still isn’t very good at using his personal charm to achieve political success. Yet, it may be one of the few strategies the president has left if he hopes to accomplish his remaining second-term priorities, including a sweeping budget deal and a comprehensive immigration bill, report Juliet Eilperin and Zachary A. Goldfarb.
-Obama taps Charlotte mayor to lead Transportation Department, official says- President Obama plans to nominate Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx to serve as transportation secretary, a White House official said Sunday. Foxx, who would succeed Ray LaHood, would be the first African American nominated to serve in the president’s second-term Cabinet. Obama, who has had several Latino, African American and female Cabinet members step down in recent months, has come under fire for not doing enough to ensure diversity among his top advisers, reports Juliet Eilperin.
-The Fix: Joe Manchin is not done with gun control. Does it matter?- Eleven days after the amendment he co-authored to expand background checks for gun purchases was rejected by his Senate colleagues, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) sounded optimistic Sunday about a second try. “I’m willing to go anywhere in this country, I’m going to debate anybody on this issue, read the bill and you tell me what you don’t like,” Manchin said on “Fox News Sunday,” reiterating his intention to bring his measure back to the Senate floor. Mission impossible? No. But the rebooted fight Manchin is promising will face long odds during the next 18 months for a simple reason: High-profile political battles like the one over guns don’t happen in a vacuum, reports Sean Sullivan.
-Defense cuts pose an economic quandary for liberals- Liberals are increasingly facing a conundrum as the Pentagon experiences the deepest cuts in a generation: The significant reductions in military spending that they have long sought are also taking a huge bite out of economic growth. Liberal lawmakers and others on the left have argued for years that the military budget is bloated and should be dramatically scaled back. At the same time, they have been major advocates of government spending to help drive economic growth and create jobs, reports Zachary A. Goldfarb.
-With few other outlets, inmates review prisons on Yelp- Lawyer Robert Miller has visited five prisons and 17 jails in his lifetime, but he has reviewed only three of them on Yelp. One he found “average,” with inexperienced and power-hungry officers. Another he faulted for its “kind of very firmly rude staff.” His most recent review, a January critique of Theo Lacy jail in Orange County, Calif., lauds the cleanliness, urban setting and “very nice” deputies. Miller gave it five out of five stars. As Miller acknowledges, it’s not the kind of helpful testimonial commonly found on Yelp, the popular consumer reviews site many people turn to for recommendations on, say, bowling alleys and Chinese takeout. But as Yelp grows more popular — logging 36 million reviews as of last quarter — lawyers as well as prison inmates and their family members have turned to the site to report mediocre food and allegations of serious abuse. They join the enterprising reviewers who have used Yelp to critique traffic signals and public bathrooms, reports Caitlin Dewey.