Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post

Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post


- PostTV’s On Background: Pope and change at the Vatican?--National Catholic Reporter correspondent John Allen gives a first-person account of the pope's in-flight news conference, and discusses the church's outreach to millennials and the LGBT community with Current TV's John Fugelsang, Catholic University professor Chad Pecknold, and Call to Action coordinator Ellen Euclide.


- U.S. flying deportees deep into Mexico, over dangerous border-- Security has grown so dire in Mexican border towns that U.S. immigration authorities have begun flying some deportees to Mexico City, rather than releasing them into areas where they could be targeted by kidnappers and smuggling gangs. The twice-weekly flights operated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) carry only a small fraction of the nearly 300,000 Mexican nationals returned by the Obama administration each year. But flying deportees deep into Mexico could save lives by discouraging them from attempting another desperate illegal crossing, reports Nick Miroff:


- WorldViews: ‘Girls are the world’s forgotten population’: Nine facts about child brides-- The story of an 11-year-old Yemeni girl named Nada al-Ahdal, who recorded a brief video explaining why she’d fled her parents to avoid the marriage they’d arranged for her, has finally attracted much of the world’s attention to the plight of child brides. Married off by their parents before they turn 18 or often before they’ve even hit puberty, the girls stand to lose much more than just the right to choose their own spouse. “The problem with underage marriage is that it poses great risks to the girls involved,” Lauren Wolfe, who directs the Women Under Siege project at the Women’s Media Center, explained to my colleague Caitlin Dewey. Those risks are often substantial and the problem goes much deeper than you might think, reports Max Fisher:





- Libertarians flex their muscle in the GOP-- Way back in 1975, a Republican agitator named Ronald Reagan had this to say about an esoteric young movement that was roiling politics: “If you analyze it, I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.” Neither the GOP old guard nor the rowdy libertarians ever quite bought that argument. They both lay claim to the same conservative economic philosophy. But libertarians are more isolationist and antiwar than Republican orthodoxy allows on foreign policy and more permissive on social issues. Still, in the nearly four decades since Reagan made those comments, the two have managed — at least most of the time — to maintain an uneasy marriage of expedience, reports Karen Tumulty:


- Newly declassified documents on phone records program released-- Obama administration officials faced deepening political skepticism Wednesday about a far-reaching counterterrorism program that collects millions of Americans’ phone records, even as they released newly declassified documents in an attempt to spotlight privacy safeguards. The previously secret material — a court order and reports to Congress — was released by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper as a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing opened Wednesday morning in which lawmakers sharply questioned the efficacy of the collection of bulk phone records. A senior National Security Agency official conceded that the surveillance effort was the primary tool in thwarting only one plot — not the dozens that officials had previously suggested, reports Ellen Nakashima:


- Congress approves student loan plan-- The millions of college students and parents who will borrow money from the federal government for the coming school year can plan on much lower interest rates than originally offered, as the U.S. House overwhelmingly voted 392 to 31 on Wednesday to approve a Senate plan that would allow interest rates to move with the financial markets. The plan now goes to President Obama, who has already voiced support. House Republican leaders have deemed this a long-term solution, while many Democrats have said this plan will probably need tweaking in future years, reports Jenna Johnson:


- Obama defends Summers to congressional Democrats, says he’s not close to Fed chair decision-- Lawrence Summers has shaped economic policy for two Democratic presidents, presiding over an unparalleled run of success during the Clinton administration and helping to pull the economy back from the brink during President Obama’s tenure. But as the White House considers nominating him to head the Federal Reserve, Summers is facing the greatest resistance from an unlikely source — his own political party. With the grumbling against Summers growing, Obama on Wednesday mounted an extraordinary defense of his friend and old adviser in the halls of Congress. He told Democrats that Summers deserved credit for helping restore the economy and expressed frustration with the campaign against him, report Zachary A. Goldfarb and Ylan Q. Mui:


- House Republicans pull spending measure, focus on bills to embarrass White House-- House Republicans were unable Wednesday to advance the first measure to fully implement their vision for deep automatic spending cuts in 2014, abruptly pulling a bill that proposed to reduce federal transportation and housing funding by more than $4 billion. House leaders said they had merely run out of time before Congress’s August recess, scheduled to begin Friday. But the top House appropriator said the measure lacked the votes to pass and fumed in a written statement that the automatic cuts, known as the sequester, are recklessly austere and should be abandoned, report  Ed O’Keefe and Lori Montgomery:


- Pentagon presents possible sequester cuts-- The Pentagon on Wednesday presented detailed, stark options it is considering in light of steep cuts to the federal budget, warning, for instance, that it could be forced to decommission three Navy aircraft carriers and overhaul the military’s generous benefits package. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel stopped short of endorsing new major, specific cuts. But he presented alternatives that included significant reductions to the size of the active-duty Army and Marine Corps, which the military has thus far been reluctant to put forward, and retiring aging Air Force bombers. One option contemplates a significantly smaller military that could still invest in new technology and maintain a high state of readiness, reports Ernesto Londono:



- U.S. economy grew faster than expected in 2nd quarter-- The economy grew faster than expected in the spring, according to data released Wednesday, easing fears that government spending cuts would weaken the recovery’s momentum. The nation’s gross domestic product increased at a 1.7 percent annual rate during the second quarter, almost twice as fast as many economists had predicted. The data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed that consumer spending remained strong despite higher taxes and that businesses ramped up their investments in inventory. The real estate market, both residential and commercial construction, was also essential to the expansion, reports Ylan Q. Mui:


- Court sides with retailers, goes against Fed rule on debit card fees-- A U.S. district court on Wednesday overturned a Federal Reserve rule capping the debit card fees that banks collect from merchants. The judge ruled that the Federal Reserve improperly set the caps too high after an extensive lobbying campaign by the banking industry. Under the rule, banks can charge retailers as much as 21 cents a transaction. The court ruling was a victory for the many retailers that had complained that the cap on the interchange fee, or “swipe fee,” is too high. Retailers have argued that consumers will benefit from a lower fee because these costs are sometimes passed on in the form of higher prices, reports Katerina Sokou:


- Revision of Commerce Department metrics alters personal savings rate-- Americans aren’t suddenly saving a lot more of their incomes. But it looks that way, thanks to a change in how the federal government accounts for pension plans — a change that, if you’re not careful, could lead you to think the nation is better set for retirement than it actually is. Until Wednesday morning, the Commerce Department pegged America’s personal savings rate at 4.1 percent for 2012. A revision made every five years to how the department measures the components of the economy pushed that savings rate up; now it’s 5.6 percent for 2012. The same change makes savings look much stronger before the Great Recession, too: The rate for 2002 was revised up from 3.5 percent to 5 percent. For 2005, it rose from 1.5 percent to 2.6 percent, reports Jim Tankersley:


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