DGI Brief - Aug 15, 2016
- The closure of YEMEN’s airspace was intended for 72 hours on Aug 8, & here we are with airports still closed a week later. Agencies are officially calling to reopen the capitol Sana’a airport & allow humanitarian flights to resume. Over half the population, or 14 mil Yemenis, are in urgent need of food aid & 1 in 3 children suffer from acute malnutrition. Additionally, the closure is preventing regular movement of people & goods, further destroying the already vulnerable economy & livelihoods, deepening the desperation & creating dependence on aid. Why the closure? So that the coalition can continue air strikes – one of which reportedly hit a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital killed at least 10 children & injured 28 when it hit a school in northern Yemen, claiming it was a Houthi rebel training camp.
- MALAYSIA’s main palm oil producer IOI Group – major customers included Unilever, Mars, Kellogg & Nestlé – has its Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification
suspended last April for grave violations of the commitments to RSPO, a third suspension over past 6 years for not adequately protecting forest areas, deforestation & land conflict with local communities. The main customers immediately severed ties with IOI Group over the suspension that was officially lifted this August with plenty of IOI’s promises & action plans, but without any real action on the ground. That is concerning especially since RSPO conducted no verification & will only begin to appoint a team of expert by September 4, 2016. The hope is that at least IOI’s former clients will not rush back before ensuring they are not sourcing highly unsustainable palm oil.
- IRAQ finally gets some good news – after months of protests & political turmoil, the parliament endorsed the nominees for ministries of oil, water resources, transportation, higher education & housing & reconstruction as part of Prime Minister al-Abadi’s reforms proposal – replace political appointees with independent technocrats to stem corruption & government spending.
- The economic crisis in VENEZUELA has decimated the middle class & forced most into shadow economies, in particular mining. There, in the jungles, lurking in waters mined for gold are mosquitos that now spread malaria by the thousands. Venezuela was the first country in the world to have officially eradicated malaria in 1961. That now seems to be undone very fast.
- Granting TURKEY’s citizens a visa waiver to travel to the EU countries was always part of the EU-Turkey migrant deal as was Turkey reforming its anti-terror & death penalty legislature. Turkey has not done their part of the deal & continues to not only use its broad, ill-defined anti-terror laws to silence & imprison dissent, moreover it is increasing its use & cracking down on all forms of freedoms. EU cannot be blackmailed into foregoing the agreed-upon terms. Fortunately, analysts agree that the migrant deal was ineffective from the start, therefore withdrawing from it is “neither a credible threat from Turkey, nor an existential danger for the EU” (CNN).
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