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DGI Brief - July 26, 2016

Good morning, all. Today's top 5 global issues #news are about #solarenergy #immigration #conservation #Zikavirus and the #civilwar in #Syria

- UAE: The Solar Impulse 2 solar plane landed in Abu Dhabi today, completing its 16-month & 16-stop flight around the world using only solar energy. Clearly, much more research & development will be required before such travel can become commercialized, yet we are on our way. As one of the 2 pilots, Bertrand Piccard (yes, son of undersea explorer Jacques Piccard & grandson of balloonist Auguste Piccard) said: “The future is clean. The future is you. The future is now.”

- USA: In an efforts to address the surge in illegal immigration – since October, over 51,100 people travelling as families & 43,000 unaccompanied children were detained crossing the border illegally – the Department of Homeland Security plans to expand the in-country refugee processing for Central Americans focusing in particular on family reunifications. UNHCR helps pre-screen applications. The effects of this expansion are yet unknown …and the move will likely be highly politicized during the presidential election. Sigh.

- NATURE: A Swiss ornithologist, naturalist & wetlands protection activist, Dr. Hoffman was a co-founder of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, a key force behind the international treaty on wetlands, the Ramsar Convention & helped found many conservation groups. Thank you for your vision, sir.

- COLOMBIA: The number of Zika infections has decreased significantly allowing health officials to declare the outbreak over, but out of the 100,000 infected, about 18,000 were pregnant women. That means there will likely be increase in the microcephaly cases, a serious birth defect linked to the Zika virus.

- SYRIA’s military say they encircled rebel-held parts of Aleppo & called for the opposition fighters to surrender. The siege however affects over 300,000 civilians – UN, humanitarian & human rights groups are pleading for humanitarian access. In the meantime, US & Russia inch closer to cooperation on the civil war in Syria – the main point of collaboration is targeting the Nusra Front, al-Qaeda affiliate, while prohibiting Syrian forces from attacking more moderate rebel groups, focusing the fight on ISIS instead. How will the rebels see this? A welcomed respite or the USA selling out to Russians & by that to the Syrian regime? The latter could be critical perception, because the bottom line – al-Assad running the country – remains unresolved.

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