Monday Briefing | April 13

Monday Briefing | April 13

A man wears a protective face mask as he rides a motorcycle amid fears of the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Sanaa, Yemen March 16, 2020. Picture taken March 16, 2020. Photo from U.S. News & World Report/REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Stories to Follow

UN Calls for Peace Amid Pandemic: United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called on warring parties across the globe last month to lay down arms to face the common enemy facing all of humanity: the coronavirus pandemic.  In his call for a global ceasefire, Guterres acknowledged the coronavirus’s indifference to national borders, ethnicity, and other personal differences.  The call to end hostilities pointed to the logistics of providing medical aid in a warzone at the time of a global pandemic.  “To warring parties: Pull back from hostilities.  Silence the guns; stop the artillery; end the airstrikes.  This is crucial to help create corridors for life-saving aid, open windows for diplomacy & bring hope to places among the most vulnerable,” Guterres said in a tweet.

Making Room for Negotiation: Five UN envoys in the Middle East echoed the Secretary-General’s call for rivals to exercise maximum restraint, reduce tensions, and open dialogues through negotiation or mediation.  Their joint statement issued Saturday emphasized the need to facilitate humanitarian access to vulnerable groups in war torn countries who are especially vulnerable to the pandemic.  “This requires fast-tracking the passage of health and aid workers at borders and in-country and ensuring they are protected,” the envoys said. On Thursday, Saudi Arabia unilaterally declared a two week cease fire to hostilities in Yemen, which reported its first confirmed case of coronavirus the following day.  The UN envoy, Martin Griffiths, welcomed the news, though it remains to be seen whether the cease fire will hold.  Yemen has been ravaged by a five year long bitter civil war, with its people suffering one of the worst humanitarian disasters on the planet.  “The impact of the coronavirus on people already pushed to the brink would be devastating,” said Muhsin Siddiquey, Oxfam’s Yemen country director. The Houthi rebels have said they will not stop fighting so long as the country remains under siege.  A Houthi spokesman claims the Saudi coalition’s siege on the country gives it the right to target military and industrial installations.  In addition, the Houthis say the Saudis continue to strike Houthi held positions in Yemen, even after the declaration of the cease fire.  The Saudi deputy defense minister, Khalid bin Salman, sent reassurances that the ceasefire was intended to deescalate tensions and induce peace talks for a sustainable settlement.

In Your Free Time

I came across this recipe for Jollof Rice a while ago, and I quickly fell in love because it is easy, affordable, and super tasty.  I started making it as prepared meals for my week ahead—it easily makes six to eight servings—for daily meals on the go.  Now in quarantine, this dish makes eating healthy regularly no problem. And, I have yet to grow tired of it.  One thing I particularly like is the freedom to play around with recipe to fit one’s taste.  I add more tomato paste than is called for and am not shy with the red pepper or any other spices I can find that sound fun and interesting.  And if you’re like me, you’ve probably started cooking beans from scratch.  Substituting homemade beans for the canned ones will elevate this dish so you’ll forget all about quarantine, if only for a brief moment.

Take a virtual tour of the Louvre.  Explore the museum’s exhibition rooms and galleries without braving all the crowds.

This week’s Monday Briefing was brought to you by Shea Thomas Cooper.

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