World News Brief, Wednesday January 20

World community ramps up 'sluggish' aid effort in Haiti (+ analysis); Japan Airlines bankrupt; Kabul on high alert after 20 co-ordinated suicide bomb attacks; US company to buy Britain's favourite chocolate; and more

Top of the Agenda: Relief Efforts Ramp Up in Haiti

The United States and other countries are ramping up (WSJ) a sluggish relief effort in Haiti as Haitians struggle to defend their food, water, and possessions against looters. The number of US troops in Haiti is expected to reach roughly ten thousand by midweek to help transport supplies, increase security, and clear away debris, but the slow pace of aid has revealed a persistent lack of international coordination in disaster response. After disorganized aid efforts during the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, the United Nations formed a rapid response system to coordinate its agencies' work with nonprofits. The UN also created a database to track assistance in order to avoid duplication and a special emergency-relief fund, which released $10 million within twenty-four hours of the Haitian quake. The system has helped prevent chaos, though it is at times unclear who is in charge: the US military, which controls the main airport, or the UN, which is overseeing the relief efforts.

There is concern that unless the delivery of aid quickens, mass violence could ensue (WashPost) as hundreds of thousands of people compete for scarce food, water, and electricity. Many Haitians are asking US Marines for protection but troops have been slow to arrive because of air traffic problems at the overburdened airport, US officials say.

US Homeland Security and Defense Department officials have initiated a campaign to persuade (NYT) Haitians against a mass exodus to South Florida.


On a Wall Street Journal blog, Iain Martin says the world is blaming the United States in foreign officials' statements, articles, and cartoons for mishandling Haiti's relief efforts but that the United States is "damned if it does try to lead in these situations and damned if it doesn't."

On, Laura Freschi says the relief efforts should emphasize local first responders and medical volunteers, and governments' decisions should not be influenced by media or political pressure.

In this CFR Expert Brief, Kara McDonald says Haiti's earthquake lays bare woeful political and economic dysfunctions, but in the global disaster response, there is a chance to get aid right.


PACIFIC RIM: Japan Airlines Bankruptcy

Japan Airlines, Asia's biggest carrier, filed for bankruptcy (JapanTimes) protection and is expecting massive job cuts.

China: Google is investigating (WSJ) whether its China staff helped hackers in a major cyberattack against it as the company mulls whether to leave the country. The company postponed (SMH) its planned launch of a mobile phone in China.



Afghanistan on High Alert After Attacks
Religious Violence Erupts in Nigeria
Kraft Strikes Deal to Buy Cadbury


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