World News Brief, Friday October 4

Debate over US government shutdown shifts to debt celing; US and Japan to modernise defense alliance to counter North Korea's nuclear programme; Fukushima nuclear reactor has new leak; Gambia withdraws from Commonwealth; scores killed in refugee boat tragedy off Italian coast; and more

Top of the Agenda: Shutdown Continues as Focus Shifts to Debt Ceiling

The debate over the partial U.S. government shutdown has shifted toward raising the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling, which is expected to be breached on October 17 (WaPo). President Obama met with Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress on Wednesday but wasn't able to break through the deadlock over the budget (Reuters). U.S. intelligence officials say the shutdown is harming the intelligence community's ability to protect the nation against threats after 70 percent of intelligence workforce has been furloughed (al-Jazeera).


"[The shutdown] reinforces the sense that this institution called Congress, which happens to be central to American governance, can't be counted on with any degree of confidence to be a consistent partner for the president when it comes to American foreign policy," CFR President Richard Haass says in this interview.

"The U.S. will pay its bills, but a short-term miscalculation is possible. A President who really wants to limit the chance of default would take the GOP up on its Full Faith and Credit offer. Mr. Obama's refusal suggests that his real goal is to go to the edge of default, gambling that he can then either coerce total surrender or blame a default on Republicans and use it to take back control of the House in 2014," the Wall Street Journal writes in an editorial.

"Imagine you're the president of the Philippines, and you receive a call from Obama (as Benigno Aquino just did) telling you that, because a handful of Republicans in Congress are holding the government hostage because of their displeasure with aspects of a new health-care law, he can no longer visit. You might be tempted to think that the U.S. is not a very serious place anymore," writes Jeffrey Goldberg for Bloomberg.



U.S., Japan Revise Defense Cooperation

The United States and Japan agreed to modernize their defense alliance to counter North Korea's nuclear program, global terrorism, cybersecurity, and other threats (Kyodo). The countries said some marines will be transferred from Okinawa to Guam in the first half of the 2020s.

The U.S.-Japan alliance has been the cornerstone of Washington's security policy in East Asia, but rising threats from China, North Korea, and economic recovery in both countries have raised questions about the future of the rapport, explains this Backgrounder.

JAPAN: The Fukushima nuclear reactor has a new leak of radioactive water after workers overfilled a storage tank (JapanTimes).


Gambia withdraws from Commonwealth

Scores killed in refugee boat tragedy off Italian coast

 This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on