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As debate rages in Washington and around the world about how to slow or end the war in Yemen, the country continues to teeter on the edge of a debilitating famine.

Expand chart
Data: FEWS NET; Map: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The big picture: The UN has said for months that Yemen is on the brink of famine, and the heads of major humanitarian organizations say the U.S. will share responsibility "for the deaths of many more Yemeni civilians" if significant action isn't taken, per CNN.

Where things stand ...

Yesterday, the Senate voted to advance a resolution that would pull U.S. support from the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. That was a rebuke to President Trump, who has stood by the Saudis, but the resolution is a long way from passage.

Secretaries Mattis and Pompeo have called for a ceasefire in Yemen by Dec. 1, but that deadline is unlikely to be met. However, the sides are expected to begin talks next week in Sweden.

  • Dan Schneiderman of the International Crisis Group, and a former Yemen director at the White House National Security Council, told Axios: "It's important to remember that the Sweden talks are consultations — pre-talk talks rather than a full-blown peace process. So our expectations shouldn't be that they will end with a deal."
  • The Saudis plan to attend, per Reuters, as do the Houthis if "their safe exit and return is guaranteed." Previous talks broke down in September before they could really begin.

Meanwhile, things in Yemen are continuing to get worse.

  • Declan Walsh files from Sanaa for the New York Times: "The problem isn’t a lack of food; it’s that few people can afford to buy what food is available."
  • David Miliband, president of the International Rescue Committee, told Axios in a statement: "If we wait for famine to be declared, it will already be too late. ... The question is whether Congress and the Administration will do the right thing. Yemen can no longer wait."

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Scoop: Jake Sullivan discussed Saudi-Israel normalization with MBS

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg and Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan raised normalization with Israel during his recent meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, three U.S. and Arab sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Saudi Arabia would be the biggest regional player to sign onto the "Abraham Accords" peace agreement with Israel, and such a major breakthrough would likely convince other Arab and Muslim countries to follow suit.

Tech's leaky world

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Tech companies are learning what everyone in Washington already knows: Leaks of confidential info are inevitable, and "plumbing" operations to close them rarely work.

Why it matters: Most tech firms talk up the power of transparency but prefer to keep details of their operations secret from competitors and the public. Researchers, regulators and the media are increasingly relying on information provided by dissident employees and whistleblowers to see inside companies' workings.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

First look: Harris wants more union membership in fed workforce

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at a virtual town hall with Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) on Oct. 14. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh will today announce new guidelines to encourage federal workers to join unions, according to a White House official.

Why it matters: The Biden administration wants to bolster the collective bargaining power of workers across the country – and they are starting at home, with changes in the federal workforce.

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