"To most people from outside the U.S., it's kind of bizarre. You just can't really understand that a country's politicians could take a standoff to a point where they might voluntarily default. So they couldn't understand it, but they were worried about being part of really cataclysmic consequences. And I think Christine Lagarde of the—the managing director of the IMF, she put it rather well, and she said that people were bemused, confused, but amused," says the Economist's Zanny Minton Beddoes on PBS Newshour.
"What makes November 1 different is not just the large number of payments due that day, but also its composition: Social Security benefits, payments to Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans, pay for active-duty members of the military, and benefit payments for civil service and military retirees, veterans, and recipients of Supplemental Security Income total around $67 billion. It is hard to imagine getting past November 1 without significant dislocations for those who are not paid," writes CFR Senior Fellow Robert Kahn.
"If the main outcome of the crisis is to suspend the medical-device tax or other health-care revenue measures, Washington will have proved only that making the deficit worse remains its basis for bipartisan agreement. Instead negotiators should aim, in talks after the government reopens, to ease the next round of sequester-mandated budget cuts, which otherwise will do severe harm to national defense, education, infrastructure and other priorities," the Washington Post writes in an editorial.
AFGHANISTAN: More than 590,000 Afghans have been displaced by fighting and Taliban threats, according to the United Nations. UN officials worry the number, which is four times higher than in 2006, could climb as U.S. forces withdraw (WSJ).
Iran Nuclear Talks Resume
The United States, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany will hold formal talks with Iran on its nuclear program in Geneva on Tuesday and Wednesday. Diplomats said Washington is prepared to ease sanctions if Iran moves quickly to address concerns about its nuclear ambitions (al-Jazeera).
The United States must take a maximalist approach in negotiations with Iran, CFR's Ray Takeyh writes in the Washington Post.
LIBYA: Alleged senior al-Qaeda member Abu Anas al-Libi has been brought to the United States to face terrorism charges in New York (LAT). After his detention aboard a Navy vessel, he is expected to appear in federal court on Tuesday.
Report Highlights Maltreatment in Nigerian Jails
Hundreds have died in Nigerian detention facilities from suffocation in overcrowded cells, starvation, and extrajudicial killings, Amnesty International said in a report released Tuesday. The Nigerian army is combating an Islamist rebellion in the northeast (BBC).
The Italian navy rescued some three hundred migrants in the waters between Sicily and Libya after two boats sent out distress signals late on Monday (Reuters). More than four hundred people drowned this month in shipwrecks en route to the Italian island of Lampedusa.