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DGI Brief - Aug 25, 2016

Good morning all. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #Colombia #Burundi #Afghanistan #Iraq and #SouthKorea

- Congratulations COLOMBIA! After 4 years of intense negotiations & compromise, the government & representatives from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) officially signed a peace agreement to end the 52-yr-long brutal conflict that left over 220,000 dead & displaced millions. The conditions include demobilization of 7000 FARC fighters, reparations to victims, transitional justice system, development programs in Colombia’s rural sector, fight against drugs & human trafficking & wider political participation. President Santos also officially declared a cease-fire against FARC, to start on Monday. In a highly democratic move, Colombians will get to vote to approve or reject the deal in a referendum slated for Oct 2. PR, marketing & targeted messaging will be key as there is a strong public opposition to the deal, spearheaded by former president Uribe. Let Brexit be a lesson, please.

- Is BURUNDI headed for totalitarianism? President Nkurunziza is seeking to run for a third term, deemed unconstitutional by opposition & causing violent crackdown on protesters. At least 500 people have died voicing their disapproval, and countless have been detained including for defamation of the government & insulting public institutions. Even though most are released the same day, the message about democracy & freedom is but too clear.

- AFGHANISTAN: 2 weeks after an American & Australian employees of the American University in Afghanistan were kidnapped in Kabul (whereabouts still unknown), a 9-hour long assault on the university campus using a car bomb, grenades & automatic weapons left 13 dead & over 36 wounded. No group has claimed responsibility yet but what does that matter – we know the position: sow fear & keep entire generations uneducated & without a future. Not on our watch.

- IRAQ’s parliament voted no-confidence today in defense minister Khaled al-Obeidi, in office since 2014. No-confidence vote means a resignation unless there is a request to table the decision, all of which means weeks of bickering while Iraqi forces are in the middle of an offensive campaign to retake Mosul city from ISIS. The government maintains that “The sacking of the minister will not affect the course of the battle to liberate Mosul.” Won’t it?

- SOUTH KOREA’s Foreign Ministry announced today that surviving women forced into sexual slavery by Japan’s military during World War II will receive $90,000 each from a foundation negotiated by the 2 countries & funded by the Japanese government. Families of deceased victims will receive about $18,000. There are currently 46 survivors & 199 women who since passed. The agreement aims to heal this deep wound with South Korea vowing to no longer criticize Japan over the issue. Reconciliation or hush money?

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