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DGI Brief - Aug 19, 2016

Happy Friday to all. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #Syria #Yemen #UK #Russia and a #GoodStoryFriday about #recycling

- SYRIA: Let’s be clear – Kurdish forces have proved to be the most effective fighters against ISIS, both in Syria where they are known as YPG (People’s Protection Units) & as Peshmerga in Iraq. They are a trusted US ally in both countries. They are a concern for Turkey & Iran who have large Kurdish populations & fear their self-determination. They have not been targeted by Syrian regime before. So what is the true message now that the Syrian government began dropping bombs on them? It certainly can’t be “let’s beat ISIS together”. Is it for Assad regime to first eliminate all opposition & reinstate his rule & power all throughout the land? And leave ISIS to others? Because that is terrible strategy, one that will perpetuate conflict on & on. Like in Daraya, the rebel-held besieged Damascus suburb where Syrian government forces bombed the last remaining hospital that was serving 8,000 civilians. It was bombed using incendiary weapons, which are banned internationally. Evil, evil, evil.

- YEMEN: The Saudi-led coalition bombed a medical facility operated by MSF, killing 19 people, despite MSF sharing the location coordinates with the coalition, as they ALWAYS do. We know the pattern – there’ll be an investigation, ‘unfortunate accident’ will be claimed, someone will be suspended & all will continue unchanged. Meanwhile, MSF is forced to withdraw staff from 6 other facilities throughout the north – a truly tragic consequence for the civilians suffering this war & for the brave medical workers who simply cannot keep being blown up with impunity. What does accountability really mean?

- UK: The London Underground begins a new overnight service, initially on two main lines & on the weekend only, with aim to bolster the local economy & be a truly 24-hrs city. It is hard to believe that one of the world’s biggest financial, creative & tourist centers stops its metro service at midnight leaving thousands of residents who work at night to use alternative transportation – bus, taxis, Uber. Having a reliable late-night transport option can make a huge difference. Safe travels, Night Tube riders.

- RUSSIA has been building new military facilities along its border with Ukraine & reportedly moving tens of thousands of troops into the area & conducting several hundred drills in 2016 alone. Is Russia just responding to NATO sending additional troops to Poland & the Baltics or are they positioning themselves to test the NATO alliances, red lines & capabilities?

From Kamikatsu, Japan, to Parma, Italy and Berkeley, California, cities around the world are nearing a beautiful goal - to be zero waste communities. The efforts do require intensive recycling by residents themselves, legislature to entice businesses & enforce recycling & of course lots of education. But the many success stories show it is possible. Kamikatsu has reached 80% zero waste, Parma went from 45% to 75% in just 4 years & saved on average $700,000. Would you be willing to do a little extra to reduce waste & decrease landfills, improve the environment while saving money? I believe it is not just a great way to become aware of our own consumption, but also an opportunity to build tight-knit communities & influence businesses to address packaging & full life-cycle of their products. You can see how Kamikatsu did it in this short video

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