Today’s Headlines

August 18, 2011 By Melissa Silverman

Who’s In the News

Another Famine In Africa — Can We Ever Break the Cycle? (Ritu Sharma, Fox News)

A crisis of the magnitude we now face in the Horn of Africa will rightly need a big focus on emergency assistance. However, what often gets forgotten is that we should also be helping prevent such crises in the first place. The U.S. government, and other global institutions have under-invested in long-term agriculture and food security programs for the past three decades. This had only recently begun to shift. In our Congressional budget debates, however, it’s troubling to again see exactly these kinds of cuts. If we don’t make long-term investments, we will keep continually responding to disasters, which is ultimately more costly both in terms of money and human life. It’s far better to invest in teaching a woman to fish, so everyone can eat.

Biden in China says relations key to global economy (Keith B. Richburg, Washington Post)

Vice President Biden on Thursday began a four-day get-to-know-you mission here as the guest of his Chinese counterpart, stressing the importance of the two sides working together to combat the global economic crisis. But the trip, carefully choreographed by Chinese leaders, got off to an awkward start when Chinese security officials forcibly shoved foreign journalists from the conference room before Biden had finished making his prepared remarks in his meeting with Vice President Xi Jinping.

Politics/Foreign Policy

Obama: Syrian President Assad must step down (Jason Ukman, Washington Post)

President Obama on Thursday for the first time explicitly called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, a symbolically significant step intended to ratchet up pressure on the government five months after the start of the uprising in that country. Obama also issued an executive order immediately freezing all assets of the Syrian government subject to U.S. jurisdiction and prohibiting Americans from engaging in any transaction involving the government.

Britain says 400,000 Somali children at risk of death (Ibrahim Mohamed, Reuters)

Britain said on Wednesday that hundreds of thousands of children could starve to death in Somalia if the international community did not ramp up its response to the famine there, and pledged a further $48 million to aid children and livestock owners. The latest pledge brings Britain’s total aid to help tackle what aid agencies are calling the worst drought in decades to hit Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, to over 100 million pounds.

Mandy Moore leads bipartisan staff delegation to Cameroon (Josh Rogin, the Cable)

At least there’s one person who is bringing Democrats and Republicans together this summer. Actress, singer, and humanitarian Mandy Moore recently led a bipartisan delegation of congressional staffers on a trip to Cameroon to promote foreign aid and disease prevention there. Moore’s trip comes right in the middle of a fight over foreign aid funding in Congress. Moore said the plight of the Cameroonians was one issue that shouldn’t fall victim to partisan bickering or short-term cost-cutting.

Veepstakes speculation heats up (Maggie Haberman, Politico)

The 2012 GOP presidential field isn’t even settled yet but already speculation about the eventual nominee’s running mate is beginning to pick up. Mitt Romney recently brought the vice presidential sweepstakes into hazy focus by revealing three names on his short list—Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. McDonnell has conceded he’s “very interested.” Rubio, who ranks high on every Republican’s list, is about to spark even more veepstakes talk next week when he delivers his first public speech off the Senate floor and outside his home state at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.