DGI Brief - Aug 30, 2016
- WORLD: Global warming is happening at a pace ‘unprecedented in 1000 years’, according to top NASA scientists. According to their calculations, maintaining temperatures below the 1.5C benchmark agreed upon by world leaders at the Paris Climate Agreement is unachievable without “significant & very rapid cuts in carbon dioxide emissions or coordinated geo-engineering.” Currently we have not yet even begun making the carbon emissions cuts required to keep global warming below 2C. Every month since October 2015 has been the warmest month on record! If we continue our way, sea levels will rise about 3 feet by 2100 and by 70 feet in the centuries to come. Temperatures will be so high they will make large areas of the Middle East & Africa uninhabitable will accelerate the “6th mass extinction” of animal species on Earth. I know it sounds so doomsday, but it also makes our current quarrels & problems seem insignificant.
- SOMALIA: Earlier this year Kenya announced the closing of Dadaab camp (host to over 150,000 refugees) & the ‘required’ voluntary return of Somali camp residents by the end of the year. Reports now say that Somali security forces block returnees from moving out of the transition camp on the Kenya-Somalia border citing inadequate amount of humanitarian support to them once back in the country. Stuck in a limbo is an understatement for the returnees. Will the Dobley town transition center quickly swell & become the new Dadaab?
- EU Commission determined that the tax agreement between Ireland & Apple is illegal & will fine Apple $14.5 billion (13 billion Euro) in back taxes. The agreement is that Apple pays Ireland, headquarters for its European market, less than 1% in tax on its European sales. Apple & Ireland will likely appeal the decision, Apple for obvious financial reasons & Ireland for fears that this ruling sets precedent & will affect the same tax agreement with hundreds of other multinationals. A legitimate concern… Meanwhile, following the weekend remarks of Germany’s Vice-Chancellor on the state of the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership, the French Trade Minister also called on the EU commission to end the TTIP talks with the US. How will EU’s stance play into the US presidential campaign rhetoric?
- USA: Congratulations to the Obama administration for achieving its goal to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016 one month before its own set deadline. It is a brave achievement given the anti-immigration & anti-Muslim rhetoric of the election year. But let’s not bask in the sun too long. At all. Recent report by OXFAM shows the world’s richest countries – USA, China, Japan, Germany, France, UK – host less than 9% of refugees & asylum seekers. Developing nations like Jordan, Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, South Africa & the Occupied Palestinian Territory host more than 50%, but account for less than 2% of the world’s economy. Meanwhile, EU members & aid agencies rescued 6,500 migrants off overflowing wooden boats in the Mediterranean sea in just one day! Suddenly 10,000 sounds so…
- VENEZUELA’s government announced that Thursday’s planned protest march is a coup attempt orchestrated by the opposition & by the US. The government opposition plans a massive protest march for September 1 to demand a recall vote against President Maduro. The opposition also demands the release of dozens of political prisoners & activists, a request that is backed by the US. The government considers the activists coup-plotters, hence lumping all opposition & their foreign supporters as danger to the state. Let’s hope Thursday’s march is peaceful.
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