Top news: The U.S. government is on the verge of shutting down for the first time in 17 years, as lawmakers prepare for one last-ditch effort to reach a compromise that would prevent vital services from going offline and hundreds of thousands of workers from being furloughed without pay. On Sunday, the House passed a resolution that funds the government, but delays the implementation of President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare law by one year and repeals a tax on medical devices.
Standing firm against what Democrats describe as Republicans' extortion tactics, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is expected to table the House amendments, effectively returning the ball to the Republican-controlled House's court. The move likely sets the stage for more late-night brinkmanship as Republicans weigh the prospect of being blamed for a government shutdown against the political upside of chipping away at Obama's controversial healthcare law.
Predictably, lawmakers from both parties have attempted to paint the other side as the villain, with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) remarking memorably on NBC's "Meet the Press" that "I don't think Harry Reid should shut down the government." But public opinion appears to be firmly on the side of Democrats, with 44 percent of the electorate poised to blame Republicans and 35 percent set to blame Democrats in the event of a government shutdown, according to a recent CBS News-New York Times poll. (Sixteen percent would blame both parties equally.) Already, markets in Japan and Europe have reacted negatively to the gridlock in Washington, and investors in the United States are bracing for uncertainty as markets reopen on Monday.
NatSec: A leaked terrorist plot involving Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri and some of his top deputies in August has prompted a sharp drop in terrorist chatter, imperiling U.S. intelligence-gathering efforts. The effect of the disclosure, unnamed administration officials told the New York Times, has been more damaging than all of Edward Snowden's leaks combined.
- Fourteen car bombs exploded across the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, on Monday, killing at least 54 people in predominantly Shiite neighborhoods.
- An Egyptian court on Monday upheld a one-year prison sentence for Hisham Kandil, who served as prime minister under ousted President Mohamed Morsy.
- Israel announced Sunday that it had detained an Iranian spy who allegedly photographed the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.
- Fighting between Malian soldiers and Tuareg separatists in the northern town of Kidal continued for the second consecutive day on Monday, only months after both parties signed a peace accord.
- South Africa's ruling African National Congress on Monday called for tighter immigration controls and other security measures in the wake of Kenya's horrific Westgate mall attack.
- Gunmen thought to be members of the extremist group Boko Haram attacked a college in northeastern Nigeria over the weekend, killing at least 40 students as they slept in their dormitories.
- A car bomb exploded in a Peshawar marketplace on Sunday, killing at least 38 people in what was the third major terrorist attack in the northwestern Pakistani city in the past week.
- Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met for the first time with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday at the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
- U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel departed for South Korea on Sunday, where he will discuss extending America's wartime control over the South Korean military.
- Following a spate of gang violence that left 16 people dead, authorities raided the Sabaneta prison in western Venezuela, and recovered more than 100 weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
- Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson on Sunday vowed to continue working for the release of a former U.S. marine held hostage by FARC rebels, despite the Colombian government's refusal to allow a "media spectacle."
- A Catholic church collapsed in northern Mexico on Sunday, killing a 10-year-old boy and injuring 24 others.
- Germany's opposition Social Democrats warned on Monday that forming a coalition government could take until January.
- Italy's stock market took a sharp dive on Monday, following Silvio Berlusconi's decision to pull his support from Prime Minister Enrico Letta's coalition government.
- Greek authorities on Saturday arrested 5 members of parliament from the neo-fascist Golden Dawn party.