May 18, 2018

2018 is worst year in Syria's humanitarian crisis, UN official says

Photo: Nazeer AL-KHATIB / AFP

Syria's humanitarian crisis is more severe this year than at any previous time in the seven-year civil war, United Nation's Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria Panos Moumtzis said on Friday, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Many of those suffering are unable to get help. Per Reuters, 2.05 million people are "in need of humanitarian assistance" but live "in hard-to-reach areas." Moumtzis said 75% of healthcare workers in the country have fled, and 70% of attacks on healthcare workers and facilities worldwide take place in Syria. Meanwhile just 7% of aid delivery requests made to Syrian authorities this year were granted, compared to 27% in 2017.

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House warned of Russian effort to re-elect Trump

Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Trump meet at the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, last June. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

The nation's top election-security official warned the House Intelligence Committee last week that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to help President Trump get re-elected, continuing to attempt to sow discord among the American electorate, the AP reports.

Why it matters: The warning raises questions about the integrity of the presidential campaign and whether Trump's administration is taking the proper steps to combat the kind of interference that the U.S. saw in 2016.

U.S. and Taliban announce first step in Afghanistan peace process

Photo: Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images

The State Department confirmed Friday morning the U.S. and Taliban have "reached an understanding" that starts a 7-day "reduction of violence" to be followed by a signed U.S.-Taliban agreement.

Why it matters: The Afghanistan war is the longest war in U.S. history. President Trump has previously pulled out of talks at the last minute, only to restart them.

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Bloomberg's debate backfire could boost Bernie

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg got into the 2020 race to stop Bernie Sanders and socialism. If he doesn't bounce back from this week's debate, he may seal the deal for both.

Why it matters: Bloomberg’s own campaign has warned that Sanders could lock up the nomination in mere weeks, thanks to rivals spitting the opposition vote. But Bloomberg’s own spending makes it harder for other rivals to cut through — and virtually assures he sucks up significant delegates.