Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post
-Special Feature: Ahead of Nobel Peace Prize, a list of possible contenders--The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize will be announced Friday. The Nobel Committee does not reveal the identities of any of the nominees, and information about them is sealed for 50 years. But the committee did report a record number of candidates this year: 259, of which 50 are organizations. The previous record was in 2011, when there were 241 candidates. The deadline for submitting nominations was Feb. 1. Despite the secrecy, rumors and speculation always produce a list of favorites — though the choice of last year’s winner, the European Union, raised eyebrows around the world. Who do you think will win the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize? Vote for the person you think should win.
- In Egypt, a campaign to promote an ‘Egyptian Islam’-- One recent Friday, Egyptian officials dispatched an Islamic preacher named Mustafa Nawareg to a mosque full of angry people — distraught relatives and friends of demonstrators killed by security forces. It was a crowd used to hearing fiery sermons that called the dead “martyrs” and exhorted followers to take to the streets. But now the crowd would hear from Nawareg, who was sent there by the government to “correct the fallacies of extremist thought.” An artisan gives finishing touches to an effigy of demon king Ravana in preparation for the upcoming Hindu festival of Dussehra in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh October 8, 2013. The effigies are burnt during the festival which commemorates the triumph of Lord Rama over Ravana, marking the victory of good over evil.
- Chemical weapons inspectors say they can meet tough deadline in Syria--BERLIN — The inspectors charged with overseeing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons said Wednesday that security will be a challenge in their work but that they still thought it was possible to meet a Nov. 1 deadline to eliminate the country’s ability to produce the banned arms. The top official of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said Wednesday that nine days into their mission in Syria, his inspectors were dependent on the Syrian government and the United Nations to provide them with security as they travel to the more than 20 sites that Syria has said it used for its chemical weapons program. Not all of the sites are fully within Syrian government control, OPCW Director General Ahmet Uzumcu said at a news conference in The Hague, where the organization is based. By Michael Birnbaum
- Key Republicans signal willingness to back down on effort to defund health-care law--Key GOP figures on Wednesday sent their clearest signals that they are abandoning their bid to immediately stop the federal health-care law — the issue that forced the government to shut down — and are scrambling for a fallback strategy. Republican Party leaders, activists and donors now widely acknowledge that the effort to kill President Obama’s signature initiative by hitting the brakes on the government has been a failure. The law has largely disappeared from their calculus as they look for a way out of the impasse over the shutdown and for a way to avoid a possible default on U.S. debt. By Karen Tumulty and Tom Hamburger
OPINION by David Ignatius: Halting the GOP’s doomsday strategy
Op-Ed: Obamacare saved my family from financial ruin
-GovBeat: States start to feel shutdown pinch--On Capitol Hill, the stalemate over funding the government shows no signs of untangling itself as House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama continue to address each other more through the media than anywhere else. But outside the Beltway, the practical fallout from the fact that federal dollars aren’t flowing from Washington to the states is finally sinking in. Within weeks, food stamp programs will run out of money. Programs for low-income women, infants and children will shutter. Phone calls to rape crisis centers will go unanswered. Even licenses for new craft breweries are on hold until the government reopens. By Reid Wilson
-The Fix: The three biggest ways the government shutdown has hurt the GOP’s image--No matter how you slice it, the ongoing federal government shutdown has been bad news for the Republican Party’s image.
Why? Three reasons stand out. 1. The GOP has been getting more blame. No matter how the question is asked, poll after poll since the shutdown started on Oct. 1 has shown Republicans getting lower marks than Democrats for its handling of the issues tied to the shutdown. A Pew Research Center poll found more Americans blaming Republicans than Democrats; a Washington Post-ABC News poll showed Americans’ disapproval of the GOP’s handling of the budget negotiations climbed to 70 percent, compared to 51 percent for President Obama; and an AP-GfK survey showed the public holds the GOP more responsible for the shutdown than Obama or congressional Democrats. By Sean Sullivan and Peyton M. Craighill
- Some say health-care site’s problems highlight flawed federal IT policies--Problems with the federal government’s new health-care Web site have attracted legions of armchair analysts who speak of its problems with “virtualization” and “load testing.” Yet increasingly, they are saying the root cause is not simply a matter of flawed computer code but rather the government’s habit of buying outdated, costly and buggy technology. The U.S. government spends more than $80 billion a year for information-technology services, yet the resulting systems typically take years to build and often are cumbersome when they launch. While the error messages, long waits and other problems with www.healthcare.gov have been spotlighted by the high-profile nature of its launch and unexpectedly heavy demands on the system, such glitches are common, say those who argue for a nimbler procurement system. By Craig Timberg and Lena Sun
- For Janet Yellen, Obama’s Federal Reserve nominee, quiet patience paid off--Janet Yellen’s official interview to become the nation’s economist in chief lasted less than an hour. The academic from Brooklyn had visited the White House only one other time in the three years since she was appointed vice chairman at the Federal Reserve, according to visitor logs. She had not testified before Congress since her confirmation hearing. She thought her interview with President Obama early this summer was unexpectedly brief, according to two people familiar with the discussion. Both left the meeting without an expectation that she would get the job. By Ylan Q. Mui and Zachary A. Goldfarb
-Treasury’s Lew to warn lawmakers: No payments guaranteed if debt ceiling breached--Treasury Secretary Jack Lew plans to warn lawmakers Thursday that he will be unable to guarantee payments to any group — whether Social Security recipients or U.S. bondholders — unless Congress approves an increase in the federal debt limit. With Washington in gridlock and a key deadline in the debt-limit debate just one week off, Lew plans to tell a Senate panel that he would do all he can to minimize the pain of breaching the $16.7 trillion debt limit, according to Treasury officials briefed on the testimony. But Lew will also note that in an unprecedented situation in which he would be relying entirely on the erratic flow of incoming revenue, the economy would suffer and there would not even be certainty that the government could make all interest payments. By Zachary A. Goldfarb and Lori Montgomery