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DGI Brief - Aug 10, 2016

Happy Wednesday, everyone. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #Syria, #religousfreedom, #SouthChinaSea, #Brazil and #Libya

- SYRIA: Due to intensified fighting, the electricity transmission station that powered water pumping to eastern & western Aleppo was damaged, alternative power lines were taken out less than 24hrs later & the security situation is making repairs impossible. Without running – and treated – water, & upcoming heat wave, 2 million residents face catastrophic situation including waterborne diseases from lack of safe drinking water. Meanwhile, Russia announced daily 3-hour cease fire to allow humanitarian aid delivery, but it is unclear whether rebels fighting the Russian-backed Syrian forces agreed to this arrangement. The UN insists that 48hrs & 2-lane road are the minimum requirement to get sufficient humanitarian assistance into Aleppo.

- USA: The report on global religious freedoms is gravely concerned over blasphemy and apostasy laws, notably in Muslim countries, that often lead to death sentences, conflicting with inalienable human rights. The report highlighted particular problems in Afghanistan, Mauritania, Pakistan, Sudan & Saudi Arabia. Also concerning are global levels of religious discrimination including violations of the freedom to worship, especially against minority religious groups. Angola, Azerbaijan, Brunei, Eritrea, Myanmar, Russia & Vietnam topped the list of countries with extremely restrictive registration laws. And North Korea has a total lack of religious freedom.

- Any conflict in the SOUTH CHINA SEA would be highly damaging to the global economy as the South China Sea is a vital shipping route – over $5 trillion of goods pass through annually, including over 50% of the world’s trade in liquid natural gas & 33% in crude oil. So it is in everyone’s interest to avoid any maritime crisis. To learn more, check out this report by Council on Foreign Relations on potential scenarios in the region.

- BRAZIL’s Senate has given the go-head to a trial of currently suspended President Dilma Rousseff, who continues to say she did nothing wrong. Her argument is that not only did other presidents handle the federal budget the same way, but that this trial is an attempt to squelch the extensive corruption investigation. The fact is President Rousseff viewed the investigation as badly needed, while the interim President Temer faces accusations he tried to stop the probe & 3 of the ministers he appointed during his brief stint in office resigned for corruption allegations. It seems no one is clean, the question is who is dirtier?

- LIBYA: Heralding “Sirte is returning to Libya”, the al-Bonyan al-Marsous operation took over ISIS’ headquarters in Sirte with the help of intense US airstrikes. The government forces also seized Sirte’s main hospital. The battle for Sirte was launched in June. Looking to the future, once ISIS looses control in Libya, may the real power struggle between the country’s rival governments & parliaments be peaceful.

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