Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post
-Without U.S. helicopters, Afghans struggle to save wounded- As soon as the Taliban bullet struck 24-year-old Afghan Sgt. Nazir Moradi’s leg, the men in his unit began brainstorming a way to get him off the battlefield. The roads were too dangerous for an army ambulance. The Afghan soldiers, in several calls to their commanders, repeated one plea: They needed a helicopter. The Afghan air force didn’t have any working aircraft available. The U.S. military, in the midst of drawing down its air support, denied a request for help. Instead, Moradi was carried for miles and eventually put in an unarmored ambulance impeded by rough terrain and the threat of roadside bombs, reports Kevin Sieff.
-Activists bristle as India cracks down on foreign funding of NGOs- Amid an intensifying crackdown on nongovernmental groups that receive foreign funding, Indian activists are accusing the government of stifling their right to dissent in the world’s largest democracy. India has tightened the rules on nongovernmental organizations over the past two years, following protests that delayed several important industrial projects. About a dozen NGOs that the government said engaged in activities that harm the public interest have seen their permission to receive foreign donations revoked, as have nearly 4,000 small NGOs for what officials said was inadequate compliance with reporting requirements, reports Rama Lakshmi.
-Pakistan army chief meets incoming prime minister in ‘good omen’- Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, who heads Pakistan’s powerful army and holds significant sway over civilian affairs, visited the incoming prime minister Saturday in what the military described as a show of support for stronger democracy and greater stability as the nation struggles with an economic meltdown and continued insurgent attacks. Kayani met for more than three hours with Nawaz Sharif, the center-right conservative poised to take over as prime minister for an unprecedented third stint after securing a heavy mandate in May 11 parliamentary elections, reports Richard Leiby.
OTHER TOP NEWS
-How the IRS seeded the clouds in 2010 for a political deluge three years later- In early 2010, an Internal Revenue Service team in Cincinnati began noticing a stream of applications from groups with political-sounding names, setting in motion a dragnet aimed at separating legitimate tax-exempt groups from those working to get candidates elected. The IRS officials decided to single out one type of political group for particular scrutiny. “These cases involve various local organizations in the Tea Party movement,” read one internal IRS e-mail sent at the time, report Zachary A. Goldfarb and Kimberly Kindy.
-Federal Eye: Proposed farm bills would cut billions from current spending levels- The House and Senate are set to consider separate five-year farm bills that would cut billions annually from current spending levels after the agriculture committees from both chambers approved the legislation last week. Savings from both plans would come in large part from reducing funding for the supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — which provides food credits for the poor — and phasing out the controversial automatic subsidies that go to producers of certain crops such as corn and cotton. The Senate plans to begin debate on its farm bill Monday, while the House is expected to consider its version in June, repots Josh Hicks.
-The Fact Checker: A bushel of Pinocchios for IRS’s Lois Lerner- As more information is disclosed, the factual gaps in Lois Lerner’s statements become clearer. In the days since the Internal Revenue Service first disclosed that it had targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, new information has emerged from both the Treasury Inspector General’s report and congressional testimony Friday that calls into question key statements made by Lois G. Lerner, the IRS’s director of the exempt organizations division. The clumsy way the IRS disclosed the issue as well as Lerner’s press briefing by phone were seen at the time as a public relations disaster. But even so, it is worth reviewing three key statements made by Lerner and comparing them to the facts that have since emerged, reports Glen Kessler.
-Behind the mortgage settlements from the housing crisis- Banks have paid less than half the $5.7 billion in cash owed to troubled homeowners under nearly 30 settlements brokered by the government since 2008, delaying help to the millions of victims of discrimination and shoddy lending that epitomized the housing crisis, according to a Washington Post analysis of government data. When the settlements were announced, with great fanfare, government officials hailed them as the long-promised reckoning with the financial industry. Regulators found that some banks had saddled borrowers with unaffordable mortgages or assigned higher rates to minorities even when they qualified for a better deal. Some banks were accused of having employees “robo-sign” foreclosure documents without reading them or having proper documentation, reports Danielle Douglas.
-Capital Business: The business of bike sharing- To understand the mechanics of the sharing economy, it helps to spend a weekday morning near Dupont Circle. There, hundreds of residents, tourists and commuters pick up or drop off one of the many distinctive red bikes available through the District’s Capital Bikeshare program each day. The 40-bike rack near 20th Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW is the busiest stop in the biggest bike-sharing program in the United States, and the comings and goings at Dupont are a microcosm of the supply-and-demand logistics of running a modern bike-sharing system. To function efficiently, there needs to be enough bikes to borrow, and enough spaces in the rack to receive returned bikes. Capital Bikeshare has a staff of 25 that tries to keep that delicate balance in order by redistributing bikes around the city. But at 11 a.m. one recent weekday, the system broke down, reports Mohana Ravindranath.http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/the-business-of-bike-sharing/2013/05/19/0a343eda-7789-11e2-8f84-3e4b513b1a13_story.html