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DGI Brief - Aug 16, 2016

Happy Tuesday to everyone. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #Africa #China #Syria #Afghanistan and the #UnitedNations

- AFRICA: Considered one of the largest yellow fever outbreaks in decades, the mosquito-borne disease has killed over 400 people in Angola & Congo. This is where the vaccination campaign begins this week targeting over 14 million people. Despite WHO sending 18 million vaccines to Africa, about 40 million are needed to contain the outbreak. Agencies warn that this outbreak could soon spread globally. So get your vaccines now, if you can.

- CHINA launched the Micius quantum satellite – named after pioneer Chinese scientist & inventor of 1st pinhole camera – to advance space exploration & search for a portal to a new universe. But the project also promises advances in quantum communications that have giant implications for defense & security use. Namely, messages could be encrypted & beamed to the quantum satellite using photons w/ quantum properties. Those properties include particles that cannot be measured or cloned without damaging the particles, & thus the encryption. In theory, the communication would be unhackable. Science is awesome. To learn more, check out this article

- RUSSIA & IRAN get friendlier as Iran allows the use of its military base for Russian bombers. Although discussed since last year, the unannounced move comes as a surprise & a possible message to the Americans as Russia & US continue intense negotiations on Aleppo & wider Syria. The aim is a greater coordination between the 2 powers in fighting extremists in Syria – the crux of the problem being agreement on which militant groups to target (other than ISIS of course). Russia is heavily pro-Assad whereas most rebels are against. That’s a tough one, meanwhile the situation in Aleppo is dubbed “one of the most devastating urban conflicts in modern times”. Heartbreaking what some will do to fellow human beings just for power – so fleeting & insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

- AFGHANISTAN’s Dahana-i-Ghori district in northern Baghlan province is under Taliban’s control since it launched a coordinated attack on the area on Friday. The district has strategic importance as it holds the main highway which links Kabul & 9 other provinces. It’s an alarming territorial gain by the Taliban, sending a message about the weakening position of the Afghan security forces as well as US & NATO involvement. Meanwhile in the southern Zabul province, the Mahaaz-e-Dadullah, breakaway Taliban faction named a new leader showing the complexities of Afghan conflict with its many actors.

- WORLD: It is ‘high time’ that the world’s governing, peacekeeping & humanitarian body be led by a woman & the current Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon agrees. Of the 11 candidates for the post, 5 are women. They are extremely well qualified, however they continue to place lower than their male counterparts in the secret Security Council polls. The next is scheduled for August 29. Who is you favorite candidate?

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