Monday Briefing | March 13

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The UN estimates 20 million people are facing starvation and famine | Photo courtesy of Reuters Video

United Nations Urges Immediate Action to prevent Famine Facing 20 Million People

In a statement to the United Nations Security Council on March 10, the UN humanitarian chief, Stephen O’Brien, said the world is facing the “largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the United Nations”. The humanitarian effort needs $4.4 billion by July in order to prevent the deaths of 20 million people in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, and Nigeria. Drought and ongoing conflicts in all four countries are responsible for the looming famine but O’Brien emphasized that “it is all preventable” if the international community can muster the necessary resources and the parties to the conflict in each country respect international law by allowing humanitarians to access the people in need.

Environmental Protection Agency Head Doubts Primary Importance of Carbon Dioxide to Climate Change

In an interview with CNBC on Thursday, Scott Pruitt, the head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, said that he would not agree that carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming. Pruitt’s statement puts him at odds with findings from a 2013 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the EPA’s own website which states “carbon dioxide is the leading cause of climate change”. Confusion about the future of the EPA and the Trump administration’s views on climate change have led some scientists and activists to create copies of currently available public data on climate change as a precaution in case the Trump administration tries to hide it in the future. Pruitt’s remarks have also added to the ongoing debate over Trump’s plans for US participation in the Paris Agreement to curb climate change and the US Clean Air Act which defines carbon dioxide as a pollutant that harms human health.

Oil Prices fall below $50 a barrel

In February, OPEC reported that global oil prices were rising ahead of expectations due to record-breaking compliance from member states cutting oil production and higher-than-forecast global demand for oil. This week, due in part to increased production in the American shale fields, oil prices fell 8 percent. While the Saudi energy minister and many energy analysts predict prices will rebound, the significance of oil prices to the global economy means that leaders in many countries including Venezuela and Russia are watching this dip closely.

 This Week in JPI:

Op-Ed | Serbia and Kosovo are Pluming Their War Feathers by Stephanie Sugars

On January 14, a passenger train bound from Belgrade, Serbia, to Mitrovica, Kosovo, nearly triggered a war. The first train to travel that route in 18 years, it was emblazoned with the red, blue and white Serbian flag and the slogan “Kosovo is Serbia” in 21 languages…Seemingly small incidents like the Serbian train can aggravate these already-tense relations, and conditions can deteriorate further in quick and unexpected ways. Read More…

 Happening this Week:

Seminar in The City: Drag, Burlesque, And HIV History In NYC

Tuesday, March 14m 6:30-8:30 pm | Room 9204, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY

A five-part seminar series exploring the history of gay male sexual subculture in NYC starts this Tuesday. More information here.

 In Your Free Time:

If you are traveling this spring break and looking for a TV show to absorb some of your transit time, check out Patriot. It is a dark comedy following the story of an American intelligence officer on a mission to buy an Iranian election while working undercover at an industrial piping firm. The spy vs. spy action feels more like something from Wes Anderson or the Coen Brothers than a Bond or Bourne movie and the occasional folk music makes the show charmingly absurd. You can watch it free with a 30-day trial of Amazon Prime.

If you are staying in New York, you can attend the third annual New York City Drone Film Festival on March 18th at 1 pm. NYU students can get tickets for an afternoon of panel discussions followed by the film screening and awards show for $15 through the NYU Skirball Center.

This week’s Monday Briefing is brought to you by Nicolle Galteland.

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