Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post
-Turkey’s Erdogan to air policy differences with Obama- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a critical U.S. ally in the Muslim world, is struggling with the crisis in Syria, which has strained his country’s fast-growing economy, swamped it with hundreds of thousands of refugees and created unusually public friction with Washington. The urgency of Erdogan’s concerns over Syria was underscored by Saturday’s car bombings that killed 46 people in the Turkish border town of Reyhanli, where thousands of Syrian refugees have taken shelter. Erdogan’s government blamed the blasts on the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — an allegation that Syrian officials quickly denied, reports Kevin Sullivan.
-Turkey says bomb suspects are linked to Syria- Turkey said on Sunday that it would step up its efforts to persuade the international community to do more to end the war in Syria, after investigators said they had found evidence that the regime in Damascus was behind the car bombing in a Turkish border town that killed 46 people. But Turkish officials also made it clear that they do not intend to retaliate for the attack, which has exposed the risks for Turkey in supporting the Syrian rebels battling to topple President Bashar al-Assad, reports Liz Sly.
-Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif locks down victory- Nawaz Sharif, who twice served as Pakistan’s prime minister in the 1990s, has decisively garnered enough seats in Parliament to give him an unprecedented third term in the post, analysts said Sunday, as election results continued to pile up in favor of the industrialist’s center-right party. “He will not have any problem in forming the new government; that is very clear,” said Hasan-Askari Rizvi, a political expert in the eastern city of Lahore, long the stronghold of Sharif’s party, the Pakistan Muslim League-N. Sharif claimed victory Saturday night after seeing enough of a balloting trend to convince him that he had sealed a remarkable political comeback 14 years after being toppled in a bloodless coup, imprisoned and sent into exile, reports Richard Leiby.
OTHER TOP NEWS
-IRS targeted groups critical of government, documents from agency probe show- At various points over the past two years, Internal Revenue Service officials singled out for scrutiny not only groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their names but also nonprofit groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution, according to documents in an audit conducted by the agency’s inspector general. The documents, obtained by The Washington Post from a congressional aide with knowledge of the findings, show that the IRS field office in charge of evaluating applications for tax-exempt status decided to focus on groups making statements that “criticize how the country is being run” and those that were involved in educating Americans “on the Constitution and Bill of Rights.” The staffers in the Cincinnati field office were making high-level decisions on how to evaluate the groups because a decade ago the IRS assigned all applications to that unit, reports Juliet Eilperin.
-Green card lottery, a ticket to hope for many, could be eliminated- In the contentious debate over immigration policy, three groups have dominated public and political attention: the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants seeking to become legal, the skilled foreign workers bound for high-tech jobs and relatives waiting to be reunited with their families. Then there are those who won the green card lottery. This tiny visa program, aimed at diversifying the pool of immigrants to the United States, selects 55,000 applicants at random each year. Unlike the other U.S. visa programs, it offers the “winners” and their spouses and children U.S. residency with almost no strings attached. Although the odds of winning are infinitesimal, the program is so wildly popular that last year almost 8 million people applied. And now it is likely to be quietly cut, reports Pamela Constable.
-Pentagon grapples with sex crimes by military recruiters- Military recruiters across the country have been caught in a string of sex-crime scandals over the past year, exposing another long-standing problem for the Defense Department as it grapples with a crisis of sexual assault in the ranks. In Alaska, law enforcement officials are fuming after a military jury this month convicted a Marine Corps recruiter of first-degree sexual assault in the rape of a 23-year-old female civilian but did not sentence him to prison, reports Craig Whitlock.
-U.S. automatic cuts sent Pentagon contract awards down 52 percent- Pentagon contracts tumbled 52 percent in April from a month earlier as across-the-board federal budget cuts took hold. The Defense Department announced awards with a maximum value of $19 billion in April, about 22 percent lower than a year earlier, according to procurement data. The biggest contract, a $6.9 billion network equipment deal, was won by a group of eight companies led by General Dynamics, reports Nick Taborek.
-Health insurance tax ‘scares the daylights’ out of some small-business owners- Many small-business owners worry that a new tax on insurance providers in the health-care law will mean higher premiums for them, undermining the law’s capacity to lower their health-care costs. Starting next year, the federal government will charge a new fee on health insurance firms based on the plans they sell to individuals and companies, known as the fully insured market, reports J.D. Harrison.