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DGI Brief - Aug 4, 2016

Happy Thursday, all. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #China #Jordan #Italy #Brazil #SouthSudan and #Colombia.

- CHINA: 52-yr-old Zhou Shifeng, director of Beijing’s Fengrui Law Firm representing clients targeted by the communist regime, was sentenced to 7 years in prison for subversion, one in many trials aimed at silencing political dissent, human rights activists & any government criticism. It’s important to remember that despite all the economic & technological developments & cooperation, China’s government is totalitarian & brutal. [Subversion: overthrowing something – government, law – or corrupting someone’s personal morals]

- Citing warranted security concerns, JORDAN has completely sealed off its border with Syria, not only stranding about 75,000 people in a remote, desolate desert area but officially barring humanitarians to deliver aid from its soil. This week, the UN completed delivery of 650 metric tons of food & hygiene kits by moving the aid crates via cranes across the border, where situation is critical. For anyone overwhelmed by a similarity to shoving a tray of food under a door to an ‘untouchable’, know that all other options like airdrops or delivery through Syria were impossible. That’s a sad state of affairs. You can do better, Jordan.

- ITALY: Each year, about 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted globally – or 1/3 of all produced food: 45% of fruit & vegetables, 35% of fish & seafood, 30% of cereals, 20% of dairy & meat. That is staggering. This week, Italian lawmakers overwhelmingly passed new laws that incentivize & make easier to donate unused food to charities. The legislature also attempts a cultural shift toward ‘doggy bags’ generally snarled at by Italians, by rebranding them as “family bags”. Watch the world’s best chef Massimo Bottura at Rio Olympics spread the “anti-waste” message on the Rua da Lapa, feeding the needy using leftovers.

- BRAZIL: A senate commission decided today that the impeachment of President Rousseff on fiscal charges shall be voted on by the full 81-member Senate next week. If 2/3 (or 54 senators) vote for the impeachment trial, Rousseff will permanently leave office & be tried by the Supreme Court. Interim President Michel Temer would then remain in office until the end of 2018. If the vote does not garner 2/3 majority, Rousseff will return to office. All this with the Olympic Games underway.

- SOUTH SUDAN: And perhaps most tragically, these cases of rape, gang-rape & sexual violence happened in the capitol Juba, just outside the main camp of the United Nations, the champion of peace & human rights. What will accountability in these cases look like, given the political crisis between the two leaders from two ethnic groups?

- COLOMBIA: More than 5 decades of civil conflict that killed over 220,000 & displaced over 6 million may formally end by a peace agreement between the government & the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), 3-yrs in the making. Once signed, Colombians will vote on accepting the peace in a referendum. Sounds democratic. Enter former President Alvaro Uribe who has vowed to campaign aggressively against the peace deal, which he believes is too lenient. It very well may be, if we ask the conflict’s victims. The problem is Uribe & his Centro Democratico party are not really offering alternatives, just bashing & undoing that which exists. What happens when you say “no” to a peace deal? And if we’ve learned anything from Brexit, that is a very dangerous, costly & damaging game.

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