Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post

Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post  



-EXCLUSIVE: Documents reveal NSA’s extensive involvement in targeted killing program--It was an innocuous e-mail, one of millions sent every day by spouses with updates on the situation at home. But this one was of particular interest to the National Security Agency and contained clues that put the sender’s husband in the crosshairs of a CIA drone. Days later, Hassan Ghul — an associate of Osama bin Laden who provided a critical piece of intelligence that helped the CIA find the al-Qaeda leader — was killed by a drone strike in Pakistan’s tribal belt. The U.S. government has never publicly acknowledged killing Ghul. But documents provided to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden confirm his demise in October 2012 and reveal the agency’s extensive involvement in the targeted killing program that has served as a centerpiece of President Obama’s counterterrorism strategy.  By Greg Miller, Julie Tate and Barton Gellman


-Around the globe, U.S. debt deal prompts relief, but also exasperation, worry for future--BEIJING — There was relief around the world on Thursday after Congress reached a deal to raise the debt ceiling for three months, mixed with exasperation that a longer-term solution to the political crisis had not been found and a sense that the image of the United States had been tarnished. Newspapers from Beijing to Madrid said the crisis raised fresh questions about the strength of the American political system and its claims to global leadership. Japan’s main share index, the Nikkei, was up 0.8 percent in afternoon trading, after earlier hitting a three-week high, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index reversed earlier gains to fall 0.6 percent. By Simon Denyer and Michael Birnbaum


- Iran, world powers report progress in nuclear talks, agree to further meetings--GENEVA — Iranian and U.S. officials cited significant progress Wednesday in international talks on Iran’s nuclear program, agreeing to hold further meetings in rapid succession with the aim of producing a deal inhibiting Tehran’s ability to acquire atomic weapons. The two days of talks in a palace just above Lake Geneva yielded no specific agreements on curbing Iran’s nuclear activities. But they produced a rare direct meeting between U.S. and Iranian officials and pledges from both sides to work quickly to end what a top Iranian official called “an unnecessary crisis.” By Joby Warrick


- For a remote Mexican village, hoop dreams carry kids far--RIO VENADO, Mexico — No one is really sure who put up the first basketball hoop in Rio Venado. Big chutes of mud wash down the mountainsides when it rains, so it wouldn’t have been a good place for a soccer field anyway. The town has five basketball courts today but only about 400 residents, most living in brown mud-brick huts along a steep dirt road. One court functions as Rio Venado’s town square, and it is where boys and girls learn the fundamentals of being an ethnic Triqui: speaking the Triqui language, wearing the elaborately woven huipil dress (for girls) and playing hoops, usually barefoot. By Nick Miroff





-Obama signs bill to raise debt limit, reopen government--After shutting down the U.S. government for 16 days and driving the nation toward the brink of default, a chastened Congress voted late Wednesday to reopen federal agencies, call hundreds of thousands of civil servants back to work and raise the $16.7 trillion debt limit.  An agreement struck by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) ended a stalemate created last month, when hard-line conservatives pushed GOP leaders to use the threat of shutdown to block a landmark expansion of federally funded health coverage. By Lori Montgomery and Rosalind S. Helderman

INTERACTIVE: How members of Congress voted to end the shutdown

Post Editorial Board: They have a deal but the solution remains elusive


- House conservatives face up to their defeat--It was over. They lost. On Wednesday, those two ugly facts began to sink in among the House’s hard-core conservatives. For nearly three years, they had effectively led the House itself — drawing their power from the intimidating sense that they were capable of anything. They often compared themselves to William Wallace, the Scottish rebel who (at least in the movies) succeeded because he refused to compromise. But then — just like in the movies — “Braveheart” died. On Wednesday, conservatives’ frontal attack on President Obama’s signature health-care law had ended after a government shutdown, a major decline in Republican popularity and a final compromise that gave them almost none of what they had wanted. By David A. Fahrenthold

-Tortilla Coast: Congress’s power restaurant, with extra cheese by Amy Argetsinger


- Boehner and his majority are in disarray--House Speaker John A. Boehner lost the shutdown showdown in ignominious fashion, winning not a single concession of any value from Democrats and exposing his majority as powerless to advance conservative causes. The one thing the Ohio Republican did seem to manage to do was hold onto his job. The always embattled speaker let his recalcitrant conservatives effectively run the show for the past month, and even as they lost badly, he won grudging respect from some who sought to take his gavel away earlier this year. “We fought the good fight. We just didn’t win,” Boehner told a Cincinnati radio host in his only public comments Wednesday. By Paul Kane



- Shutdown deal averts catastrophe but leaves economy in peril--The deal reached by Congress on Wednesday to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling averts a financial catastrophe but leaves the weakened U.S. economy facing new threats. The agreement will send about 450,000 federal employees back to work and restart paychecks for the 1.3 million employees who stayed on the job during the shutdown. Getting those salaries back in circulation will help economic growth, particularly in the Washington area. More important, the threat of a default on the national debt has been avoided, along with the recession and financial crisis that may have accompanied a failure to raise the borrowing limit. By Zachary A. Goldfarb


- JPMorgan to pay $100 million to CFTC over trading losses--JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay $100 million in fines and admit that its traders in London acted recklessly in placing bets on derivatives that resulted in $6.2 billion in losses, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said Wednesday. The agreement is one of several the nation’s largest bank has reached with U.S. and British authorities over its handling of the disastrous “London Whale” trading losses. A month ago, JPMorgan paid a total of $920 million to four other regulators, including the Securities and Exchange Commission. The trading blunder has been an albatross that JPMorgan has fought hard to shed. And yet the Justice Department and Massachusetts Securities Division are still conducting separate probes into the derivative losses. By Danielle Douglas


- The U.S. default risk may be passing, but a downgrade could still lie ahead--If the U.S. government’s credit rating is the backbone of the public financial system, then the negative credit watch issued by Fitch Ratings on Tuesday is akin to a bulging disc. It may never cause a problem. But if it ruptures, the results could be painful. For the next few months, as the government approaches another debt limit and Fitch evaluates how the political system responds, the threat of a downgrade remains — and with it the risk of a broad rise in borrowing costs, not just for the federal government but also for countless state, city and local agencies whose credit ratings could be at risk as well.   By Howard Schneider


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