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DGI Brief - Aug 22, 2016

Good Monday, to all. Today's top 5 global issues news are about the #USA #Iran #Nigeria the #Arctic and #Libya:

- USA: The toll of days of extraordinary rain on Louisiana residents is heavy. Please donate to the American Red Cross if you can. Despite federal government making disaster relief funding available within hours, the state needs help as recovery will be long. In related & just as somber news, the National Parks Service (NPS) is losing the fight with climate change in preserving the 412 national parks & monuments. Temperatures have risen by cca. 2.4F irreversibly affecting (& killing off) precious ecosystems & species, all of the Glacier national park’s glaciers will disappear completely by 2050 while wildfire seasons will get even longer & rising sea levels will likely inundate about 40 protected sites, including the Everglades & the Statue of Liberty. Flooding, more extreme & frequent storms, droughts, fires, all come full circle to the current Louisiana disaster. I can’t accept that this is what we want for ourselves & our children.

- IRAN’s state news agency reports the formation of a “Liberation Army” to deploy to the conflicts in the region where Iran is involved – Iraq, Syria & Yemen. The strategy is to draw from local populations abroad, organize & supply these ‘armies’. That sounds awful lot like forming & supporting foreign militias. Iran has been accused of sending tens of thousands of Afghan Shia fighters (recruited from the millions of Afghan refugees living in Iran) to fight along President al-Assad’s government in Syria & doing so using deception & force. Not good.

- NIGERIA’s oil militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers, attacks on oil installations have cut production by 40% in 2016. Their ask is equitable profit sharing with local communities & addressing the environmental degradation of drilling. There have been concerns about the government’s response with respect to treatment of civilians. The Niger Delta Avengers declared a ceasefire & expressed the willingness to negotiate peace on the condition that Nigeria’s security forces stop harassing civilians. The decision comes after community elders appealed to all militants on Friday to pursue peace. May both sides be open & fair in their talks.

- The ARCTIC sea ice is disappearing faster than at any point in the 125-year recorded history. The decline is mostly due to human-caused global warming. The cause for alarm is the ‘feedback effect’ whereby highly reflective sea ice blocks sunlight from the dark seawaters beneath. Without this protective, reflective layer, the dark sea absorbs more sunlight & warms faster, which melts more ice, causing more warming & so on. This makes the Arctic the Earth’s fastest-warming region on record affecting the rest of the globe’s climate & ecosystems – more extreme weather events, floods, droughts, spread of disease & of course rising sea levels. All have critical global peace & security implications. I repeat again: I can’t accept that this is what we want for ourselves & our children.

- LIBYA’s parliament voted no confidence in the UN-backed Government of National Accord today, with 101 of 200 lawmakers showing up for the vote. Pro-government members point out the vote was not announced beforehand & the session was supposed to be only a consultation. But with the required quorum reached, the vote will stand. So what happens next? Dissolve the government or revamp the presidency council? In every scenario, the political process goes back to square one while the UN & Western countries scramble to maintain unity at a time where Libya is consumed with the fight against ISIS & overwhelmed with a migrant & refugee crisis. Tragic timing.

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