Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada (r.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D) of Washington make remarks to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 8. With a government shutdown looming in hours, the White House and Congress worked furiously to break a US budget deadlock that could idle hundreds of thousands of workers. Mike Theiler/Reuters
Tourists crowd the US Capitol Rotunda during a tour, which will be closed in the event of a shutdown, in Washington on April 8. Mike Theiler/Reuters
Justin Castro, a National Park Service employee, is pictured at the Oklahoma City National Memorial in Oklahoma City on April 7. President Barack Obama and congressional leaders bargained on April 7 to cut federal spending and avoid a government shutdown that would close national parks, national forests, and the Smithsonian Institution. Sue Ogrocki/AP
Crystal Leonetti, the Alaska Native liaison for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, is shown in her office in Anchorage, Alaska. Ms. Leonetti is a government worker facing uncertain times if the government shuts down. She said she would spend time with her children and do some spring cleaning if the shutdown were to happen. Rachel D'Oro/AP
With the Capitol in the background, a sign points visitors toward the many attractions on the National Mall in Washington, on April 6. The White House warns of a temporary cutoff in pay for troops in war zones if the budget impasse brings a partial government shutdown. The IRS wouldn't be able to process some tax refunds, and there also could be a holdup in mortgage applications and small business loans. National parks and museums would be closed, too. Evan Vucci/AP
This Dec. 31, 2010 file photo shows Delicate Arch at Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. With five national parks and seven national monuments, Utah stands to lose big if the federal government shuts down Friday night amid failed budget talks. State tourism officials say they could lose millions of dollars in visitor revenue if the parks close as families with kids on spring break change their plans and head elsewhere. Julie Jacobson/AP/File
Tourists walk past a sign for the National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall in Washington, on April 6. Evan Vucci/AP
Sarah Ramadan, of Kuwait, poses for a photo under the Statue of Liberty in New York, on April 6. As talks to avoid a government showdown continue in Washington, the White House sought to put the prospect of a shutdown in terms people would care about, warning even that the beloved National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade in the nation's capital would be wiped out. The Smithsonian Institution and national parks around the country, as well as the Statue of Liberty, would also be closed. Mary Altaffer/AP
An undated photo provided by the National Parks Service in 2006 shows Fort Sumter in South Carolina. The looming shutdown of the federal government includes the National Parks Service, which could mean festivities starting this weekend commemorating the attack on Fort Sumter could happen without Fort Sumter. Fort Sumter National Monument/NPS/AP
In this undated photograph courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution, 'The Castle,' the building on the National Mall that is home to the Smithsonian's administration, is seen. If lawmakers can’t reach an agreement by midnight April 8, the Smithsonian and its collection of museums in Washington would close, as would Yosemite park in California and other national parks across the country at a key time for many of the tourist destinations. Smithsonian Institution/AP/File
A view of Half Dome from the valley floor of Yosemite National Park is shown in this Oct. 20, 1997, file photo, in Yosemite, Calif. If lawmakers can’t reach an agreement by midnight April 8, the Smithsonian and its collection of museums in Washington would close, as would Yosemite park in California and other National Parks across the country at a key time for many of the tourist destinations. Ben Margot/AP/File
House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada speak to reporters after their meeting at the White House in Washington with President Obama regarding the budget and possible government shutdown, on April 6. Charles Dharapak/AP
President Obama speaks to reporters at the White House in Washington after meeting with House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid regarding the budget and possible government shutdown, on April 6. Charles Dharapak/AP
Syria's largest city is contested by various rebel groups, including anti-US jihadists. A UN envoy is trying to broker a temporary cease-fire so that humanitarian aid can reach civilians.
ByDominique Soguel, Correspondent
The battle for Syria’s largest city is intensifying, as are UN-led diplomatic efforts to arrange a local cease-fire. UN envoy Steffan De Mistura is trying to broker a halt to fighting in Aleppo between an array of Islamist and moderate rebels and the government forces of President Bashar al-Assad. Jihadist extremists also have their sights on the city, which is divided into rebel and regime enclaves.