Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post

Today’s Top World News from The Washington Post  


-Morning Mix Headlines: Stories from All Over--Report: Chinese hacked into the federal government’s personnel office; Why did the ‘poor Mercedes lady’ evoke such a passionate response?; The surprisingly simple reason millions of bees are dying; Who is the hooker who allegedly drank wine over the dead body of a Google exec she’s accused of murdering?; Stunning Video: In labor. A frenzied car ride that’s not in time. A joyful birth.; The enigmatic Hamas leader allegedly behind the Israeli kidnappings that ignited war; John Wayne and Duke University in dispute over ‘Duke’ bourbon; Soccer moms. NASCAR dads. Beyoncé voters?; Found by accident: Some of the world’s inadvertent archaeological discoveries



-Israelis in Tel Aviv remain defiantly blase as barrages from Gaza bring conflict closer--It was noon on Wednesday, but the blazing midday sun had not deterred Nira Eilam and two friends from getting together outside a cafe for a quick coffee and chat. Neither, Eilam said, had the latest barrage of rockets aimed at this city from Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, several of which set off air raid sirens Tuesday and Wednesday. “We had to get out and feel that our life is normal, to make sure that it’s business as usual,” Eilam said. By Ruth Eglash


- Fifty bodies found in Iraq, raising fears of sectarian war--BAGHDAD — At least 50 bodies turned up blindfolded and bound in a predominantly Shiite area south of Baghdad on Wednesday, raising the specter of sectarian war as Iraqi forces, aided by Shiite militias, battle Sunni insurgents across the country. The bodies, all men ages 20 to 50 who had been shot, were found dumped in the rural district of Khamisiyah, about 60 miles from Baghdad, according to an Iraqi military spokesman and a local journalist who visited the morgue in the nearby town of Hilla where the dead were taken.

By Abigail Hauslohner


- Pakistani anti-terror offensive has forced 700,000 people to flee homes, U.N. says--BANNU, Pakistan — More than 700,000 people are reported to have fled a Pakistani military operation against terrorists in North Waziristan, straining nearby towns and heightening concern about a long-term refugee crisis. The operation is now in its third week, and military commanders stress that they are making considerable gains in their effort to dislodge Pakistani Taliban and other militants from the restive region bordering Afghanistan. But the offensive also has led to a massive displacement of residents, creating new burdens for humanitarian groups already struggling to help Pakistan fight a polio epidemic and recover from several recent natural disasters. By Haw Nawaz Khan and Tim Craig


- Reports: Germany investigating possible second U.S. spying suspect--German officials on Wednesday raided Berlin-area properties in search of evidence of espionage, just days after an employee of the country’s foreign intelligence service was arrested in connection to another U.S. spying case, according to reports. “We have investigations in two cases of suspected espionage, a very serious suspicion,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin. Seibert didn’t provide additional details, and no arrests have been made yet, the Associated Press reported. By Sarah Larimer





-Obama defends not visiting Texas border, saying he’s ‘not interested in photo ops’--DALLAS — President Obama on Wednesday forcefully defended his decision not to visit the Texas border with Mexico to view a burgeoning humanitarian crisis, saying he’s “not interested in photo ops” and challenging Congress to give him new authority to respond to the situation. “Nothing has taken place down there that I’m not intimately aware of,” Obama said during a hastily arranged news conference here, where he began a two-day visit to the state for Democratic fundraising and an economic event. “This is not theater.” By Katie Zezima and David Nakamura


-The Fix: Who needs a presidential campaign? Outside spending in 2014 could rival 2012′s.-- So far in the 2014 election cycle, 114 super PACs have spent money on federal races, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Yes, 114. And that's before the primary season is over. Those 114 super PACs have spent $77.8 million so far -- a number that will jump up after the groups submit their latest Federal Election Commission filings next week. The top five super PAC spenders this year have spent $38.3 million of that total.  In total, 23 super PACs have spent more than $1 million. By Jaime Fuller


-The Federal Eye: House VA chairman to introduce bill to combat veteran suicides--Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) on Thursday plans to introduce legislation to help combat veteran suicides after a hearing on access to mental health treatment at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Miller, who chairs the House Veterans Affairs Committee, is scheduled to unveil the legislation at a news conference with the parents of former Marine Clay Hunt, who committed suicide in 2011 after serving two combat tours, one apiece in Iraq and Afghanistan. An estimated 22 veterans killed themselves every day in 2010, up from 18 per day in 2007, according to the latest figures from the VA. By Josh Hicks


- FDA has free-speech, safety issues to weigh in review of ‘off-label’ drug marketing rules--Should a pharmaceutical sales rep be allowed to tell a doctor that Topamax, a drug approved to treat seizures and prevent migraine headaches, might also help combat alcohol dependence? Or suggest the epilepsy drug Neurontin could also help treat bipolar disorders or insomnia? Or offer data showing that any number of other drugs could have uses beyond those listed on their labels? For decades, the answer overwhelmingly has been no. The Justice Department has aggressively pursued companies that run afoul of rules against such “off-label” marketing — racking up billions of dollars in settlements. And the Food and Drug Administration has held firm to the idea that sales pitches generally should not include information on uses not approved by the agency. By Brady Dennis



- Fed likely to end bond-buying program in October--The Federal Reserve’s trillion-dollar effort to shore up the U.S. economy is likely to come to an end in October, closing the books on a bold but controversial experiment that has tested the limits of the central bank’s power. For the past year and a half, the Fed has been buying tens of billions of dollars in government bonds and securities each month in an attempt to tamp down long-term interest rates and boost the recovery. It was the third and largest bond-buying program the central bank has launched since the 2008 financial crisis. But officials have been slowly scaling back the effort this year, and documents released Wednesday show that the Fed’s policy-setting committee is nearly ready to call it quits. By Ylan Q. Mui


- Jeremy Stein: The exclusive exit interview--Harvard economist Jeremy Stein made waves as a governor at the Federal Reserve when he suggested last year that the nation’s central bank should consider using monetary policy to pop financial bubbles and combat instability. He stepped down from the Fed in May, but the debate he helped start rages on among the world’s top economists. In his first public interview since leaving the Fed, Stein talks to us about why there's no free lunch when central banks try to use broad new regulatory powers to stabilize the financial system. He argues that the Fed's new exit tools could be a trillion-dollar success and offers some guidelines for how they could work. And he reflects on his time at the Fed and the surprising potency of central bank communications. By Ylan Q. Mui


-Health Reform Watch: What big data could do for health care --It's taken a long time for the health care industry to embrace Big Data, but those days are over. What that ultimately means for the industry — care providers, insurers and, most importantly, patients — is still anybody's guess. The policy journal Health Affairs just released a big monthly issue diving into how big data can shake up the massive and less-than-efficient health-care industry, which accounts for one-sixth of the American economy. The policy challenges are many, but so are the potential benefits to be realized from using data to make better health-care decisions. By Jason Millman


- LG wants to put a tracking device on your child--Various tech companies have introduced wearable devices over the last few years that track your steps or heartbeat and even deliver your e-mails to your wrist. Is electronically tracking your kid the next frontier? LG announced a new device Wednesday morning, the KizON wristband, designed to let parents keep track of their child’s whereabouts. The KizON uses GPS, WiFi and mobile Internet signals to identify the user’s location in real time and sends the information to an Android app. The device is designed for families with preschool and primary school children. By Jiaxi Lu



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