The United Nations launched its largest humanitarian aid request ever today, asking for $12.9 billion on behalf of 500 organizations - $6.5 billion of which would address problems from the Syrian conflict. The UN is trying to persuade China, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar to contribute more (especially as the United States and Europe have been struggling with domestic economic crises), but its fundraising goals are rarely met.
A recent report showed America trailing far behind many European countries in gender equality, and pressure is mounting on the US to "catch up." Meanwhile in Sweden, feminists have secured a gender neutral pronoun and the implementation of the Bechdel Test, a system that rates movies based on the roles and interactions of only the female characters.
A new poll shows that Americans still think America is the world's dominant economic power, but not for long. Only 43% believe the US will still be #1 in five to seven years.
Saudi Arabia was elected to a seat in the UN Security Council but quickly rejected that position and slammed the council for its "double standards" in diplomacy. The event particularly highlights Saudi frustration with the US and with the international community for failing to intervene in Syria, where Saudi has backed the rebels against Assad. Saudi suspicion of the warming relationship between the US and Iran only complicates matters.
One of the factors being considered in the Syria debate—and rightly so—is how much an intervention would actually cost. But what isn’t being discussed as much is the fact that U.S. taxpayers have already given more than $1 billion in humanitarian aid during the conflict.