Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post

Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post

-In Afghanistan, a second Guantanamo- Of all the challenges the United States faces as it winds down the Afghanistan war, the most difficult might be closing the prison nicknamed “The Second Guantanamo.” The United States holds 67 non-Afghan prisoners there, including some described as hardened al-Qaeda operatives seized from around the world in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. More than a decade later, they’re still kept in the shadowy facility at Bagram air base outside Kabul, reports Kevin Sieff.


-Syrian rebels make a push on Assad’s Alawite heartland- Syrian rebels launched a major new offensive against forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s northwestern Alawite heartland Sunday, claiming to have overrun a string of villages in the mountains overlooking the coastal port of Latakia. At least 30 rebel fighters and government loyalists were killed in the fighting, in which the rebels used tanks and heavy artillery to advance to within 12 miles of the Assad family’s mountain home town of Qurdaha in the province of Latakia, according to activists and human rights groups, report Liz Sly and Suzan Haidamous.


-Rouhani sworn in as Iran’s president- Hassan Rouhani, a moderate cleric, was sworn in Sunday as Iran’s new president, officially ending the controversial eight-year, two-term presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “Everyone who voted for me or for other candidates and also those who did not vote at all are all Iranian citizens and have equal civil rights,” Rouhani said. “I am the legal representative of the entire nation.” Rouhani, who won a landslide victory in the June 14 presidential election, wasted no time in distinguishing his style from that of his often-provocative predecessor, delivering an inauguration speech that touched on his campaign promises of improving the country’s economy, mending international relations and giving greater social freedom to Iranians, but not at the expense of national interests, reports Jason Rezaian.



-August recess now high season for interests lobbying lawmakers- Lawmakers hoping for a respite from Washington’s intense lobbying climate won’t get a break back home during the August recess. Once a lull in the political calendar, August is now officially part of the high season. An array of interest groups has methodically plotted how to use the congressional recess to press causes. The sophisticated operations aim to drive a political narrative throughout the month, hoping to produce a strong display of voter sentiment that lawmakers will not be able to ignore when they return to Washington after Labor Day, reports Matea Gold.


-The Federal Eye: Federal-employee groups want to tweak phased- retirement rules- Two federal-employee groups want to expand the government’s new phased-retirement program to more federal workers, but they disagree about the program’s proposed mentoring requirements. The National Treasury Employees Union and the National Active and Retired Federal Employees association last week recommended changes to the draft rules in letters to the Office of Personnel Management, which is taking suggestions until Aug. 5 before implementing the program, reports Josh Hicks.


-The High Court: Supreme Court may need to decide how private a cellphone is- Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. didn’t hesitate last fall when a questioner asked him about the biggest constitutional challenge the Supreme Court faced. Roberts told the audience at Rice University in Houston that the court must identify “the fundamental principle underlying what constitutional protection is and apply it to new issues and new technology.” He said, “I think that is going to be the real challenge for the next 50 years.” The court has started the process, of course, reports Robert Barnes.


-Obama administration stops ban on sale, import of older Apple devices- The Obama administration Saturday halted a planned ban on the import and sale of older iPhones and Apple tablets that was ordered by the U.S. International Trade Commission. The order would have banned the sale of AT&T versions of the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 3G and iPad 2 3G starting Monday for infringing on a patent held by Apple rival Samsung. In a letter, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said that his decision to lift the ban was based on a review of “various policy considerations” related to whether companies can sue competitors for infringing on patents covering technology that has been deemed standard and essential for the industry, reports Hayley Tsukayama.


-Capital Business: How LinkedIn has changed the way you might get your next job- John Hazlett wasn’t looking for a new job. But when he received a LinkedIn message from a recruiter at the Advisory Board Co., it instantly piqued his interest. The recruiter was looking to hire for a position at the health care consulting firm and said Hazlett’s skill set might be a good fit. Hazlett, then a vice president at an education software start-up, wasn’t particularly happy in his work. So he began exchanging messages with the recruiter through LinkedIn, reports Sarah Halzack.


-The rise of Promontory- It was 6:30 p.m. on a frigid February day in 2002 when Eugene Ludwig got a phone call that would catapult his fledgling consulting firm into a Washington powerhouse.  Promontory Financial Group today trades on its well-honed expertise of the financial markets and regulatory system — a skill that has only compounded its prestige even as it’s been drubbed in the press as a shadow regulator. Back then, it was little more than a one-man show, reports Danielle Douglas.


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