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March 18, 2016 | 0 comments

Last month, the World Food Program made a welcome announcement: For the first time since the Syria conflict first erupted, the United Nations food agency’s emergency operation feeding more than 5 million people had received enough funding to sustain it through most of 2016. As a result, ration cuts that had been made last summer were restored and families will once again receive enough food assistance to stay healthy. What’s unfortunate is how long it took to secure this support. For the past six months, Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and elsewhere have been barely getting by. Last July, WFP was forced to halve its rations from $28 per person per month to just $14. For Syrian children, the consequences of half a year of inadequate nutrition could last a lifetime. As an aid worker told me once, “Food can’t be made up for.” For more: https://www.devex.com/news/building-a-better-pipeline-for-humanitarian-a...

March 11, 2016 | 0 comments

FPI Bulletin: On March 11, 2011, Japan suffered the triple disaster of a 9.0 magnitude earthquake off its northeast coast, the subsequent tsunami, and the Fukushima nuclear crisis. Although the damage was concentrated along eastern Honshu Island, the government recorded a total 24,607 persons killed, missing, or injured across 20 of Japan’s 47 prefectures. The World Bank estimated the toll of the disaster at $235 billion, by far the costliest in modern history. The U.S.-Japanese alliance was essential in the wake of this disaster, but it is even more striking to see how Japan has advanced as a security partner in the years since: http://www.foreignpolicyi.org/content/fpi-bulletin-us-japan-alliance-fiv...

The disaster response by the U.S. military and Japan’s Self-Defense Forces was a milestone in the history of the alliance. On the day of the earthquake, the United States deployed the USS Ronald Reagan carrier strike group, redirected more than a half-dozen other ships from around the Pacific, and dispatched Air Force and Marine Corps assets to the affected region. Over the following month, the U.S. Navy mobilized a total of 24 ships, 140 aircraft, and more than 15,000 sailors and Marines, while the U.S. Air Force flew hundreds of missions and delivered millions of pounds of cargo to afflicted areas.

The U.S. military effort was dubbed...

March 11, 2016 | 0 comments

Technologists like Elon Musk and Bill Gates worry that robots may one day threaten to extinguish the human race, but there is another threat more subtle and immediate. According to a recent study, people are a bit naïve when it comes to trusting robots. Research presented March 9 by the Georgia Institute of Technology showed that during an emergency, test subjects were prone to following a robot’s instructions — even after the robot had proven itself unreliable. The research was released at the 2016 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction in Christchurch, New Zealand. The experiment tested the reactions of 42 volunteers, mostly college students, who were not told the nature of the research project in which they were participating. Groups of volunteers were asked to follow a shop-vac-sized robot emblazoned with the words “EMERGENCY GUIDE ROBOT.” A hidden researcher remotely controlled the robot, sometimes leading the subjects in a circle twice before reaching the conference room, sometimes leading subjects to the wrong room, or sometimes turning the robot off before they reached their destination, at which point the subjects were informed that the robot had broken down. More at http://www.emergencymgmt.com/safety/Humans-Overtrust-Robots.html

March 8, 2016 | 0 comments

Could it be lights out for America? That’s something that people are starting to worry about, and these worries aren’t coming solely from the usual crowd of survivalists and preppers. Shut down the computers that run the power plants and distribution systems and you shut down America. That’s looking more possible, lately. More at http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/03/07/cyberattack-cybersecuri...

March 8, 2016 | 0 comments

It has been five years since the emergency sirens sounded at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant following the massive 2011 earthquake and subsequent devastating tsunami. The partial meltdown of three reactors caused approximately 170,000 refugees to be displaced from their homes, and radiation releases and public outcry forced the Japanese government to temporarily shut down all of their nuclear power plants. On the fifth anniversary of the partial meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant, Stanford’s Rodney Ewing says we should rethink our language, reassess natural disaster risks, and appreciate the links between nuclear energy and renewables. More at http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/dr20160308-fukushima-five-years-...