Today’s top world news from The Washington Post:
-Democrats see GOP shutdown threat as opening for 2014 election gains—Democrats are working hard to exploit massive unrest in the Republican Party over the looming government shutdown, which many see as one of their best chances of holding the Senate or even gaining the House in next year’s midterm elections, reports Zachary Goldfarb.
-Sen. Cruz continues night-long attack on Obamacare—Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) continued his attacks on President Obama’s health-care law early Wednesday morning by continuing a marathon speech modeled on old-fashion filibusters that likely will complicate House GOP efforts to pass a funding bill that would avert a government shutdown next week, report Ed O’Keefe and Paul Kane.
-A Florida Republican pushing to overhaul the food stamp system toils to win over a divided Congress—Six months into his crusade to overhaul the food stamp program, Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) departed the Capitol to address his most wary audience yet: the people whose government benefits he hoped to curtail. In a divided Congress, few debates have been more fractious than the one over food stamps and few proposals have been as contentious as Southerland’s, reports Eli Saslow.
-POLL: VA Gov. Robert McDonnell’s approval rating drops to new low—According to a new Washington Post-Abt-SRBI poll, Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s approval rating has plummeted to a new low amid a gifts scandal that has bled into the race to succeed him and left Virginians hungry for ethics reform. More than half of voters, 51 percent, disapprove of McDonnell’s handling of the situation after being told about his receipt and return of the gifts, as well as his apology.
-PostTV’s In Play: What's In Play today—Ted Cruz, Obamacare and Republican strategy, Virginia governor's race and what it will take to win over voters, Bill and Barack's relationship through history, Cory Booker, Bono doing a Bill Clinton impression, and our weeklong Southern Senate series continues today with a look at the Georgia race.
-JPMorgan negotiating multi-billion-dollar settlement with Justice Department— A number of JPMorgan Chase’s legal battles may be coming to an end as the bank negotiates a multibillion-dollar settlement with the Justice Department to cover a wide range of pending investigations, a person familiar with the talks said late Tuesday, report Danielle Douglas and Sari Horwitz.
-Safety groups pushing for implementation of 2008 rearview camera law—In February 2008, President George W. Bush signed into law a bill that essentially required that new cars sold in the United States be equipped with rearview cameras to prevent back-up accidents. More than five years later, the law has yet to take effect, reports Peter Whoriskey.
-Some public companies are divulging more details about their political contributions—Some of the nation’s largest publicly traded companies are divulging more details about their political contributions, in part to ward off lawsuits and mounting pressure from shareholders, who increasingly have thrust the issue before boards of directors. The Center for Political Accountability (CPA) found that 78 percent of the 195 corporations it tracks have improved their political spending disclosures this year compared with 2012, reports Dina ElBogdady.
-Obama, Iranian president open door to better relations—President Obama said Tuesday that he will use the remainder of his term to pursue better relations with Iran in the hope of resolving the controversy surrounding its nuclear program, pledging an activist U.S. agenda in the Middle East and beyond despite growing isolationist pressure at home, reports Scott Wilson.
-Kenyan officials say Nairobi mall siege is over; attack may bolster al-Shabab in jihadists’ eyes—The bloody siege of an upscale mall by Islamist militants ended Tuesday with five of the attackers dead and 11 taken into custody, amid fears that the death toll of more than 60 civilians could substantially rise when authorities begin searching through the wreckage. But the assault at the Westgate Premier Shopping Mall could also bolster the image of al-Shabab, the al-Qaeda-linked Somali militia that asserted responsibility for the attack, at a time when it has been weakened by a loss of territory in Somalia and violent infighting, reports Sudarsan Raghavan.
-U.N. chemical weapons investigators to return to Syria Wednesday—A U.N. team is returning to Syria on Wednesday to look more deeply into the use of chemical weapons there. A Russian diplomat revealed the planned trip Tuesday, adding that Moscow remains doubtful the government has used such weapons against its people. A U.N. spokesman subsequently confirmed that the mission would go back to Syria Wednesday to finish its investigation of allegations of chemical weapons’ use, including a report of a March 19 incident at Khan al-Asal, reports Kathy Lally.
-Egyptian minister postpones dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood—An Egyptian minister said Tuesday that the government would “postpone” the court-ordered dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to the state-run Middle East News Agency. Legal experts said the contradictory decisions reflect division within the government over how to deal with the 85-year-old Islamist organization, even as a brutal crackdown against it continues, reports Stephanie McCrummen.