Top of the Morning: Aid Groups Warn of Humanitarian Toll of Sequester; Iran Nuke Diplomacy Ramps Up

Top stories from DAWNS Digest

US Aid Groups Warn of Harmful Effects of US Budget Sequester

The USA is facing a budget crisis resulting from political gridlock in DC. This may exacerbate already dire humanitarian funding shortages. “A coalition of [40] aid groups…delivered a letter to the White House and Congress Wednesday pointing out that 2013 has already been a year where the resources devoted to humanitarian assistance have been strained to the breaking point. ‘Humanitarian needs resulting from conflicts and natural disasters around the world have increased dramatically over the course of the last year,’ the groups wrote in their open letter. ‘We write to express deep concern that current resource levels for humanitarian assistance are not sufficient to meet these challenges, which will prove harmful to both U.S. interests and millions of vulnerable people requiring lifesaving assistance. Therefore we urge Congress to ensure that the levels approved for the remainder of Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 are commensurate with humanitarian need.’” (Foreign Policy )

“Big Offer” May Be on the Table for Iran Nuke Talks

Major powers are ready to make ‘a substantial and serious offer’ to Iran during talks next week in return for concessions on its nuclear program, a Western diplomat said on Wednesday. He declined to give details of the offer – aimed at reviving efforts to reach a diplomatic solution to long-stalled talks over Iran’s disputed nuclear work. ‘We will take an offer with us which we believe to be a substantial and serious offer,’ the diplomat said of talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan. ‘This is an offer which we think has significant new elements in it.’” (Reuters