Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post
-Russia’s anti-gay law casts a shadow over Sochi’s 2014 Olympics- Let other mayors fret about potholes, taxes and sewers. This is an Olympic city, and here’s the jeans-clad mayor striding into his office on a recent afternoon, fresh from a landslide, and not the electoral kind. When Sochi won the 2014 Games, life went epic. First Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov and the mere mortals of Sochi were sent on a marathon of construction that clogged traffic and made heads throb. And now, the clash of civilizations. President Vladimir Putin signed a law at the end of June prohibiting the promotion of nontraditional sexual relationships to minors. It has been interpreted as banning gay pride parades — children might see them — and preventing any discussion of homosexuality among teenagers, reports Kathy Lally.
-Israel says it has arrested an Iranian spy- Israeli security officials said Sunday that they have arrested a Belgian businessman of Iranian descent for spying on Israel and gathering intelligence on possible terrorism targets. Israel’s Shin Bet domestic intelligence service released photographs that it said were taken from the suspect’s camera that included exterior shots of the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. The alleged spy was detained Sept. 11 as he was attempting to leave Israel through Ben Gurion International Airport. The announcement of the arrest comes two days before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to address the U.N. General Assembly, where he is expected to argue that Iran cannot be trusted and that stiff economic sanctions should remain in place until it agrees to curtail its nuclear program, reports William Booth.
-Inspectors from obscure agency ready to destroy Syrian chemical weapons- The phone calls have been overwhelming and the late nights unusual at a quiet organization charged with an unprecedented task: disarming Syria of its chemical weapons in the middle of a civil war. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will send a team of inspectors to Damascus on Monday, and its success or failure could shape whether the United States and its partners push once again to intervene militarily in Syria. The tiny organization, which just six weeks ago was accustomed to calmer work overseeing the destruction of Cold War-era stockpiles of American and Russian weaponry, has had to shift to war footing as it prepares to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons in a matter of months, reports Michael Birnbaum.
OTHER TOP NEWS
-The Fix: How far will John Boehner go?- With the government set to shut down at midnight tonight, there is only one relevant question in political Washington: How far will House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) go? As in, will Boehner continue to hold the line on tying some sort of repeal/delay of Obamacare to a measure to fund the government and, if so, how long can he (or will he) keep that position in the face of a shuttered federal government? Boehner has already given some clues — two in fact, report Chris Cillizza and Sean Sullivan.
-House pushes U.S. to the edge of a shutdown- Washington marched relentlessly toward its first federal shutdown in 17 years Saturday after House Speaker John A. Boehner yielded to conservative demands to use a government-funding bill to press an attack on President Obama’s 2010 health-care law. Early Sunday morning, the House approved a plan to keep the government open past midnight Monday. But under pressure from Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and other GOP hard-liners, Boehner (R-Ohio) agreed to amend the bill to include a one-year delay of the health law’s mandates, taxes and benefits — ensuring a stalemate with the Democratic Senate. The amendment passed on a largely party-line vote, 231 to 192, with two lawmakers from each party breaking ranks to vote with the other side, report Lori Montgomery, Paul Kane and Rosalind S. Helderman.
-The Federal Eye: House vote means many federal services could shut down- In some ways, Congress is akin to a corporation’s board of directors. Directors generally are distinguished individuals who set the tone for the organization, providing guidance, vision and leadership. Fortunately, federal employees don’t follow the leadership example set by their board, this ”Congress of chronic chaos,” as Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) described the legislative body late Saturday night. If they did, they’d be fired for dereliction of duty. Shortly after midnight Sunday, the majority House Republicans voted for legislation that could lead to a shutdown of large portions of the government. Under the guise of compromise, they approved a temporary funding bill, but included a poison pill –a one-year delay in implementation of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature achievement. The “compromise” was not defunding it, as they had previously voted to do, reports Joe Davidson.
-On verge of a government shutdown, all is quiet on Sunday at the Capitol- The U.S. government appeared on Sunday to be on the verge of shutting down for the first time in nearly two decades as House leaders were running out of time and options to keep it open. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) declined to say on “Fox News Sunday” whether Republicans would consider the only plan President Obama and other Democratic leaders insist they will accept: a simple bill that funds federal agencies without dismantling any part of Obama’s signature 2010 health-care law. Instead, he said, Republicans were headed in a different direction, one likely to set up yet another late-night showdown, report Lori Montgomery and David A. Fahrenthold.
-Capital Business: In an uncertain economy, pay raises hover at a modest new normal- Salaries for Washington area workers rose 2.5 percent in 2013, a new survey shows, as companies remained cautious amid a lackluster economic recovery and grappled with uncertainty surrounding federal spending cuts. Experts and employers say the fairly small bump in pay appears to be a new normal, since many firms are facing leaner budgets in the wake of the recession and are opting to reward high performers with bonuses or other flexible forms of compensation, reports Sarah Halzack.
-Nation’s small business owners split on whether the government should shut down- Down to the final days of the nation’s current spending plan, with negotiations over a new one at a standstill, nearly half of small business owners are in favor of shutting the government down, according to a new poll. Researchers at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management conducted the survey, which found that 48 percent of business owners support at least a temporary government shutdown, compared to 42 percent who say policymakers should hurry up and strike a deal. Of the poll’s 1,387 respondents, more than 90 percent own businesses with no more than 200 workers, reports J.D. Harrison.