Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post

Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post

-Egypt shutting economic lifeline for Gaza Strip, in move to isolate Hamas- The Egyptian military has launched what appears to be a campaign to shut down, once and for all, the illegal but long-permitted tunnels that provide a vital economic lifeline to the Gaza Strip and supply tax revenue to the Islamist movement Hamas. The operation seems to be part of an effort to cripple Hamas, which rules the coastal enclave. The group is an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, whose ­standard-bearer held that country’s presidency before being ousted from power this summer, report William Booth and Abigail Hauslohner.


-Syrian war makes sudden appearance at convent in iconic Christian town- High in the mountains above Damascus lies a town so remote that Syria’s war had passed it by, so untouched by time that its inhabitants still speak the language of Jesus. The violence ravaging the rest of Syria has finally caught up with Maaloula, renowned as the oldest Christian community in the world — and the last in which the same version of Aramaic that prevailed 2,000 years ago is the native tongue. On Sunday, Syrian rebels, including some affiliated with al-Qaeda, swept through Maaloula for the second time in four days, after an assault a few days earlier in which the last of its few thousand residents fled and the specter of unchecked violence threatened to convulse the iconic town, reports Liz Sly.


-Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has strong showing in Moscow mayoral race, despite loss- In a mayoral election that tested the Kremlin’s strategy against its opposition, and that brought some of the divisions within the Kremlin itself close to the surface, charismatic, anti-corruption Moscow mayoral candidate Alexei Navalny made a far stronger showing than expected, according to official results released Monday. Yet he fell just short of forcing his chief opponent, the incumbent Sergei Sobyanin, into a runoff. Sobyanin, according to election officials, won 51 percent of the vote. Navalny reportedly took 27 percent, and four other candidates split the rest, reports Will Englund.



-Obama launches final push to win congressional support for a strike on Syria- President Obama will begin an intensive public and private lobbying push this week to win congressional support for a limited missile strike against Syria, but even some of the strongest supporters on Capitol Hill for military action are pessimistic that the White House will succeed. Obama plans to meet with Senate Democrats on Tuesday, senior Senate aides said. Then millions of Americans will see him make his case during network television interviews Monday and a prime-time address from the White House on Tuesday in which the president, according to an administration official, will argue that not punishing Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad for his alleged use of chemical weapons would embolden his regime and his allies Hezbollah and Iran, reports Peter Wallsten.


-The Fix: Time isn’t on the White House’s side on Syria resolution- Here’s what White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough had to say about The Fix’s whip count showing a majority of the House either against or leaning against voting for a use of force resolution on Syria: “We have been working this now for several days while members are in their states and in their districts, so I think it’s too early to come to any conclusions.” Is he right? In the broadest sense of congressional jockeying, yes. The bulk of the 535 Members of Congress return to Washington this week, giving the White House the chance to not only brief them on classified materials relating to the chemical weapons attack in Syria, but also to bend ears in person, report Chris Cillizza and Sean Sullivan.


-The Federal Eye: VA committee to examine preventable deaths and bonuses- The House Veterans Affairs Committee will do something out of the ordinary on Monday, holding a congressional hearing in a Pittsburgh courthouse more than 200 miles from Washington. The panel is scheduled to question Department of Veterans Affairs officials about fatal mistakes at the agency’s hospitals and bonuses that went out to the executives who oversaw those facilities, reports Josh Hicks.


-Wonkblog: Left behind: Stories from Obamacare’s 31 million uninsured- Every month, a hundred or so people crowd the lobby of the Arlington Free Clinic, clutching blue tickets to enter a health-care lottery. Uninsured and ailing, they hope to be among the two dozen who hit the jackpot and are given free care. Some might think the lottery’s days are numbered, given that the insurance expansion under President Obama’s health-care law is taking effect in January. But clinic officials say the lottery will stay because demand for their services is likely to be as high as ever. “We will be business as usual,” said Nancy Sanger Pallesen, the clinic’s executive director. The Affordable Care Act, the most sweeping health care program created in a half century, is expected to extend coverage to 25 million Americans over the next decade, according to the most recent government estimates. But that will still leave a projected 31 million people without insurance by 2023. Those left out include undocumented workers and poor people living in the 21 states, such as Virginia, that have so far declined to expand Medicaid under the statute, commonly called Obamacare, report Sarah Kliff and Lena H. Sun.

-White House considers top female Treasury official for Federal Reserve post, sources say- The White House is considering nominating a top female official at the Treasury Department to fill one of the vacant seats at the Federal Reserve, according to two people familiar with the process, amid criticism over the role of women in the Obama administration. As undersecretary for international affairs, Lael Brainard is one of the most highly ranked — and most visible — female members of President Obama’s economic team. Her name has long been circulated in the insular world of Fed watchers as a potential candidate to sit on the central bank’s influential board of governors, reports Ylan Q. Mui.


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