DGI Brief - Sep 30, 2016

Happy Friday to all. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #climatechange #Germany #Thailand #Djibouti & #Ethiopia and a #GoodStoryFriday about #Americas - WORLD levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) have reached 400 parts per million, an extremely dangerous level seen only 15-20 million years ago. September is traditionally when the lowest levels of CO2 are recorded, causing alarm that going below 400 ppm is highly unlikely any time soon & more catastrophic weather events should be expected in the years to come. Why it matters: Climate disasters account for 90% of all natural disasters & low & middle-income countries are severely threatened – drought, floods, storms & rising sea levels. We mu

DGI Brief - Sep 29, 2016

Happy Thursday, all. Today's top 5 global issues news are about the #USA #Sudan #oil #China and #Turkey - USA: The controversial “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act” (JASTA) bill allows any foreign country to be tried in US courts for involvement in terrorism on US soil. It was vetoed by President Barack Obama who warned US could face reciprocal lawsuits & its foreign policy, national security & counterterrorism efforts could be compromised by JASTA. Why it matters: The world, especially the Middle East, responded with collective “hypocrisy” call, pointing to the US demanding justice only for its own victims of terrorism. It is true there are lots of controversial US interventions aro

DGI Brief - Sep 28, 2016

Good Wednesday to all. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #Syria #Ukraine #Thailand #Sudan and #antibiotics in the #USA: - SYRIA: Doctors Without Borders (MSF) reports that 2 more hospitals in eastern Aleppo were bombed this morning in the relentless offensive by the Syrian regime. Of the 8 hospitals left in Aleppo, only 4 had surgical capacity prior to Wednesday’s attack, now only 2. MSF also quoted sources that there are only 7 surgical doctors left in eastern Aleppo serving 250,000 – a population that is being indiscriminately bombed around the clock. Also today, Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly issued an ultimatum in a conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lav

DGI Brief - Sep 27, 2016

Happy Tuesday, all. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #SaudiArabia, #Colombia, #Europe, #SouthAfrica and global #airpollution - SAUDI ARABIA’s economy struggles due to record-low global oil prices & to address last year’s $100 billion budget deficit, the government announced series of royal decrees that cut salaries & perks for government employees. More than 2/3 of employed Saudis work for the public sector, notoriously known to be well-paid jobs for very little work. The new cuts reduce salaries by 20%, limit overtime, vacation time & cut perks like phone bills, housing & car stipends and freeze new hires until 2017. Why it matters: Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia unveiled its Vis

DGI Brief - Sep 26, 2016

Happy Monday to all. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #ElNino #Syria #Brazil #Zimbabwe and the #Philippines: - WORLD: The El Niño weather event may be quiet since May, but it continues to cause harm across Eastern & Southern Africa, Asia & the Pacific, Central America and the Caribbean – over 60 million people are affected. El Niño caused poor or failed harvests sparking long-term consequences like low food supply, high commodity prices, loss of livestock, lack of employment, spread of water- & mosquito-borne diseases, water contamination etc. 23 countries need est. $5 billion to respond, the current appeal being only 38% funded. Why it matters: Science predicts that we will contin

DGI Brief - Sep 23, 2016

Good Friday to all. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #Syria #NorthKorea #Nigeria #PuertoRico and a #GoodStoryFriday about #Sweden: - SYRIA: While US & Russia try to negotiate some semblance of a ceasefire, the Syrian military continues heavy bombardment of rebel-held east Aleppo for a 2nd day straight. Groups on the ground report unprecedented, indiscriminate bombing of residential areas & infrastructure as well as the Syrian Civil Defense centers, home to the award-winning rescue personnel known as the White Helmets. Syrian military sources say that a ground offensive is imminent. Why it matters: The intensity of violence & indiscriminate – even intentional – targeting of civilian

DGI Brief - Sep 22, 2016

Good Thursday to all. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #Venezuela #Nigeria #USA #globalhealth and #Afghanistan: - VENEZUELA: Election officials denied the possibility of a referendum in 2016 to recall President Nicolas Maduro from office, saying the earliest such national vote could be held is in the first quarter of 2017. This provided that the opposition gathers signatures from 20% of registered voters from each of the 23 states within 3 days next month. Why it matters: If the recall vote were allowed in 2016, it would have led to a new presidential election & very likely an ousting of the socialist party from power. But this way, if Maduro is voted out in 2017, his vice presiden

DGI Brief - Sep 21, 2016

Good Wednesday and happy International Peace Day to all. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #COP21 agreement on #climatechange, #WestAfrica & #ebola, the #EU, #Chile and #China: - WORLD: 31 countries formally joined the Paris Climate Change agreement (COP21) today, bringing the total to 60 countries ratifying the treaty & passing the key threshold of 55 countries needed for the treaty to enter into force. However, the other threshold is the signatories must account for 55% of total global carbon emissions & this isn’t yet met as the 60 nations account for only 48% so far. Why it matters: the majority of signatories are small island nations who emit a mere fraction of greenhouse gases

DGI Brief - Sep 20, 2016

Good morning and happy Tuesday to all. Today's top 5 global issues are about #Syria #refugees #DRCongo #SaudiArabia and #India: - SYRIA: The UN & Red Crescent convoy delivering humanitarian assistance for about 78,000 people was hit by airstrike near Aleppo on Monday night, hours after both sides declared a week-long ceasefire dead & resumed fighting. At least 12 aid workers were killed & 18 of the 31 trucks hit. “sickening”, “egregious violation” “disgusted & horrified” … Why it matters: The UN stresses that ALL parties received notification of the convoy, therefore the airstrike doesn’t seem to be accidental. If deliberate, it constitutes a war crime. Add that to the long list of crimes of

DGI Brief - Sep 19, 2016

Happy Monday to all. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #USA, #Syria, #Turkey #Indonesia and #Africa: - USA: Scientists & forestry official report trees across all US states are dying at alarming rates due to drought & subsequent wildfires but also because of increasing amounts of insects & new diseases due to global warming. Hawaii has been hit with rapid ohi’a death disease that is wiping out its ohi’a trees & threatening the entire native ecosystem. In California’s Sierra Nevada, over 66 million trees have died due to drought that weakens their systems to outbreaks like the Sudden Oak Death disease. Across America, bark & mountain pine beetles – usually stopped by cold & wet winte

DGI Brief - Sep 16, 2016

Happy Friday all. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #India #Kashmir #USA the #world #Europe & #Africa and a #GoodStoryFriday about the #ICC - Clashes in the disputed INDIA-controlled Kashmir region continue, with months of violent protests where at least 80 people were killed. This week, Indian authorities prohibited prominent activist Kurram Parvez to leave the country when he wanted to travel to Geneva to address the United Nations. Only few days after that decision, local police arrested Mr. Parvez. Why it matters: actions like this will only fuel the local resentment towards Indian rule & could prolong the violence. Not a very tactical move on India’s part. - USA: In 2015, Itali

DGI Brief - Sep 15, 2016

Good Thursday to all. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #Kenya #UK #Brazil #EU and #India & #Afghanistan: - KENYA’s decision to close on of the largest refugee camps in the world & repatriate over 260,000 Somali refugees back to Somalia has always been controversial, but now human rights groups report Kenyan authorities are using fear and intimidation to speed up the returns. According to international law, such repatriation must be voluntary. “There is no way these returns can be considered voluntary,” says Human Rights Watch. Why it matters: Dabaab camp has existed for 25 years, many of its residents have never been to Somalia, so returning ‘home’ is highly complicated & risky. Ma

DGI Brief - Sep 14, 2016

Happy Wednesday, everyone. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #USA and #Myanmar #IvoryCoast, #Venezuela, #NorthKorea, #Turkmenistan and #Syria - By an executive order from President Obama, the US government is lifting decade-long sanctions on Ivory Coast in recognition of its efforts to rebuild the country & its democratic institutions. The civil war in Ivory Coast ended in 2011. Also today, President Obama met with Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel peace laureate, US Congressional Gold Medal recipient, former political prisoner & now Myanmar's State Counselor (de facto leader) & also agreed to lift majority of the sanctions placed on Myanmar since 1989. Why it matters: even though not all e

DGI Brief - Sep 13, 2016

Good Tuesday morning to all. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #Colombia #US & #NorthKorea #Ukraine, the #DutchAntilles and #SouthSudan - The commander of COLOMBIA’s Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Ivan Marquez, formally apologized in a video message for the group’s tactic of kidnapping people for ransom. Marquez, who was also the group’s lead negotiator in the peace process, acknowledged causing “great pain” & “harming entire families”. In a span of 40 years, FARC kidnapped about 27,000 people – that’s the official figure. Why this matters: the apology and a promise to never use the practice again will not undo the harm, but it is the fundamental step towards reconci

DGI Brief - Sep 12, 2016

Happy Monday to everyone. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #Syria #USA #Afghanistan #Philippines and #Brazil: - SYRIA: The deal, negotiated by US Secretary of State John Kerry & Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, requires rebel groups & the Syrian government to stop attacking each other & cooperate with US & Russian in defeating ISIS. The anti-government rebel groups also have to formally disassociate from al-Qaeda if they ever want to participate in peace-talks. Why this matters: there is no concrete political peace process to follow just yet & fighting reportedly lasted until the very last minute before the week-long ceasefire kicked in, but you know what, at least there wil

DGI Brief - Sep 9, 2016

Happy Friday to all! Today's top 5 global issues news are about #NorthKorea #USA #EU #Libya and a #GoodStoryFriday about #CostaRica - NORTH KOREA conducted its fifth & so far largest nuclear warhead test this Friday, proving non-proliferation is definitely off the table. It drew the strongest possible condemnations from around the world with language like “grave threat”, “brazen breach” & “maniacal recklessness” including from its long-time ally China. Pyongyang confirmed that the underground explosion – registered as a 5.3-magnitude earthquake – was a response to “US hostility”. Why this matters: decades of failed political negotiations & sanctions have not yielded the desired result – denu

Lead & shine, fall in line or get out of town - California's historic climate change action

September 8, 2016 - On a hot Thursday morning at the Vista Hermosa Natural Park in downtown Los Angeles, California Governor Jerry Brown signed two new and quite progressive bills on climate change - SB 32 and AB 197. Both extend and expand the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, or AB 32, with ambitious goals for California’ climate action. In a nutshell, greenhouse gases (GHG) like carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor and nitrous oxide trap heat in our planet’s atmosphere, which exacerbate global warming and the drastic effects that subsequent extreme weather events have on life on Earth. AB 32 of 2006 set the goal of California’s GHG emissions to be at/below 1990 levels by 2020. Advanc

DGI Brief - Sep 8, 2016

WORLD: Scientists worry about the amount of plastic polluting the world’s oceanic waters each year – up to 12.7 million metric tons – and urge most serious global waste management. Why this matters: the problem of plastics could potentially be a health issues. Data shows that marine life consume plastic covered in bacteria & algae. Recent study found 1 in 4 fish at public markets in two countries (USA-California & Indonesia) had plastic particles in their guts. Microplastics were also in the guts of most oysters & mussels. Research is now focusing on the chemicals used to manufacture the plastic & how these may migrate into the flesh/edible parts of seafood & affect humans. Yet another examp

DGI Brief - Sep 7, 2016

Happy Wednesday all. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #Africa, #Poland, #Brazil, #Asia and the children #refugee crisis around the world - AFRICA: Researchers & WHO warn that the number of Africans at risk of malaria who live near water dams will triple each year due to climate change. The rising temperatures will create conditions for malaria-carrying mosquitoes to breed in areas previously unaffected by the disease. Malaria already kills around 400,000 people each year, most of them children in sub-Saharan Africa. Scientists predict that malaria cases could triple to 3 million every year. Why this matters: we must take the broad consequences of global warming into account for eff

DGI Brief - Sep 6, 2016

Happy Tuesday to everyone. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #USA, #Iran, #Zikavirus, #Gabon and #France. - USA: President Barack Obama is the first US President to visit Laos, giving way to reconciliation after the Vietnam war when US air bombed Laos into the most bombed country per capita in history. Now the US pledged $90 million to help with demining and unexploded ordinance removal. Why this matters: Truth & reconciliation are the most powerful tools for peace & security & development. Laos is positioning to become an important green energy player & good relations between the two countries will allow for greater investment & sustainable development. Also, there are estimated 80

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