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DGI Brief - Aug 29, 2016

Good Monday to all. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #EU #USA, #Africa #Singapore #Afghanistan and #Japan

- The minister of Europe’s biggest economy & Germany’s Vice-Chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, said on Sunday that the EU-USA Trans-Atlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations have failed over a lack of progress on any of the major sections of the agreement – not one item out of the 27 TTIP chapters was agreed on in 14 rounds of talks. Officially, neither side has commented. Officially, both sides insist the TTIP is in their best interest, despite very loud murmurs on the EU side about the unfairness of the deal for Europe. Washington & Brussels had hoped to finalize the deal by the end of 2016, which is obviously unlikely.

- The AFRICA Human Development Report 2016, launched on Sunday by UNDP, shows sub-Saharan Africa loses around $95 billion annually due to gender inequality – systemic, structural & cultural obstacles like unequal distribution of resources, gender gaps in political participation, labor markets, pay, education & health. Harmful practices like child marriage, & sexual & physical violence underscore the obstacles faced by women. Closing the gaps –globally- is the only solution.

- SINGAPORE: 36 of the 41 cases are reportedly foreign workers who in the same construction site, the remainder are people who also worked or lived in that region of the country. Officials confirmed the construction site was ‘favorable to mosquito breeding’ & cannot rule out further transmission with movement of people. Thus far, only one of the cases was a woman. Although generally spread by mosquitos, Zika can also be transmitted sexually. It will be tragic if the virus hits Asia. In related news, a US drug company has launched a clinical trial of a Zika vaccine in Puerto Rico hoping to develop the vaccine next year if successful. Puerto Rico has registered more than 13,000 Zika cases.

- While the civilian casualties from the conflict in AFGHANISTAN continue to rise, Afghan children face another danger – malnutrition. Aid agencies estimate that even the heartbreakingly high number of children killed by conflict in 2015 represented less than 1% of children that died due to malnutrition the same year. Why? Conflict cripples development – that includes education, nutrition and access to healthcare. In Afghanistan, for every 1000 babies born, 55 die before the age of 5, 82% of those die before their first birthday. Over 1 million children under 5 are in an acute state of malnutrition in need of treatment. It is a lesson we know well – military solutions aren’t solutions if they aren’t followed by robust development interventions & strategies. We see this every conflict in the world.

- JAPAN: Tokyo’s first female governor, Yuriko Koike, vows to push for further advancement of women and overall diversity in the still highly male-dominated Japanese society. Under her leadership Tokyo will be the shining example of gender equality. Moreover, Koike committed to hosting cost-efficient and environmentally friendly 2020 Olympics, focused on sustainability. With the official Olympic slogan "Unity in Diversity, her personal slogan will be “reduce, reuse & recycle”. Bravo!

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