Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post

Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post

-Syria threatens Israel, says airstrikes near Damascus open door to ‘all options’- The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned Sunday that a series of powerful Israeli airstrikes near the Syrian capital opened the door to “all the options,” underscoring the possibility that Syria’s civil war could spill across regional borders. Assad’s cabinet held an emergency meeting Sunday after explosions lit up the sky on the outskirts of Damascus on Friday and early Sunday. Syrian state media said the air attack had targeted a military and scientific research facility. The Israeli military declined to comment on the strikes, but the Associated Press quoted an anonymous Middle East intelligence official as confirming that the research facility was hit, report Abigail Hauslohner and William Booth.


-A year into Russia crackdown, protestors try again- Peter Tsarkov, a Russian opposition organizer, was anxious as he readied for a protest scheduled for Monday, the first major demonstration in this capital city in many months. Exactly one year earlier, Russia’s political opposition was on the rise and aiming for new heights at a demonstration on the eve of President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration. Instead, authorities cracked down, ending their tolerance toward the thousands of Putin opponents who presented him with the greatest challenge to his rule since he took over the country in 2000. Dozens of those arrested at the May 6, 2012, protest are still making their way through Russia’s glacially slow justice system, reports Michael Birnbaum.


-Reported Israeli airstrikes in Syria could accelerate U.S. decision process- Israel’s reported airstrikes in Syria — and the threat of a retaliatory strike by the Syrian government — are likely to accelerate the decision-making of the Obama administration, which was already moving toward a sharp escalation of U.S. involvement in the two-year-old crisis. Senior officials said the deployment of U.S. troops to Syria remains unlikely, but they have indicated that a decision will come within weeks on options ranging from the supply of weapons to the Syrian rebels to the use of U.S. aircraft and missiles to ground President Bashar al-Assad’s air power by destroying planes, runways and missile sites inside Syria, reports Karen DeYoung.



-The Fix: Sanford might just win South Carolina seat- Mark Sanford just might win. In conversations with Democratic and Republican strategists closely following the special election set for Tuesday in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, the consensus is that the former governor, not businesswoman (and sister of Stephen Colbert) Elizabeth Colbert Busch, is the candidate gaining momentum in the race’s final 48 hours, reports Chris Cillizza.


-GOP rifts exposed in South Carolina- The challenges facing the Republican Party as it heads into the elections of 2014 and 2016 were on stark display here this weekend as South Carolina Republicans gathered for their annual convention, an event that revealed a party in the throes of some internal strife. The source of the argument seems to boil down to what it means to be a true conservative in the modern Republican Party, and whether the party needs to change in order to broaden its appeal, particularly to Latino voters, reports Ed O’Keefe.


-Obama tells Ohio grads: ‘America needs full-time citizens’- President Obama urged the graduating class of Ohio State University on Sunday to take an active role in guiding the future of democracy in the United States and to fight for the issues that the new graduates care about. “There’s a word for this,” he said. “It’s citizenship. . . . Sometimes we see it as a virtue from another time.” Obama said he was asking of them what President George W. Bush did when he addressed OSU graduates in 2002, and quoted the former president: “ ‘America needs more than taxpayers, spectators and occasional voters. America needs full-time citizens,’ ” reports Cheryl W. Thompson.


-European carbon market in trouble- As the centerpiece of Europe’s pledge to lead the global battle against climate change, the region’s market for carbon emissions effectively turned pollution into a commodity that could be traded like gold or oil. But the once-thriving pollution trade here has turned into a carbon bust. Under the system, 31 nations slapped emission limits on more than 11,000 companies and issued carbon credits that could be traded by firms to meet their new pollution caps. More efficient ones could sell excess carbon credits, while less efficient ones were compelled to buy more. By August 2008, the price for carbon emission credits had soared above $40 per ton — high enough to become an added incentive for some companies to increase their use of cleaner fuels, upgrade equipment and take other steps to reduce carbon footprints, reports Anthony Faiola.


-Sequestration takes its toll on Washington meetings business- A slowdown in government travel and conferences has made the Washington area an exception in an otherwise rebounding hospitality market nationwide. The Washington region has continued to bear the brunt of federal government cutbacks, particularly in Bethesda, Pentagon City and Crystal City, even as hotels outside the region see gains in business and leisure travel. “In the past several months, expectations for pretty much all major markets have improved,” said Patrick Scholes, an analyst at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey in New York. “Except for D.C. — it’s the one market where [projections] have softened because of sequestration.” Marriott International said last week that profits were up 31 percent, in large part because of a resurgence in business travel throughout the United States. The Bethesda-based company said profits rose to $136 million, or 43 cents per share, up from $104 million, or 30 cents per share last year, reports Abha Bhattarai.


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