DGI Brief - Sep 9, 2016
- NORTH KOREA conducted its fifth & so far largest nuclear warhead test this Friday, proving non-proliferation is definitely off the table. It drew the strongest possible condemnations from around the world with language like “grave threat”, “brazen breach” & “maniacal recklessness” including from its long-time ally China. Pyongyang confirmed that the underground explosion – registered as a 5.3-magnitude earthquake – was a response to “US hostility”. Why this matters: decades of failed political negotiations & sanctions have not yielded the desired result – denuclearized North Korea. The question is whether Kim Jong-un wants to be a serious aggressor or ‘just’ yearns for recognition & validation, a seat at the table as a nuclear power? It seems he will keep testing until he gets whatever it is that he wants. Is he trustworthy enough for the world to give it to him? And just as importantly, will the world allow such a concession?
- USA: The White House appointed today the first-ever federal Chief Information Security Officer. Air Force Brig. Gen. Gregory Touhill (rtd.) who has served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity & Comms in DHS will focus on bolstering & overseeing the government’s $19 billion national cybersecurity action plan aimed at protecting networks & critical infrastructure. Why this matters: In the US, government agencies (federal, state & local) rank in the last place in cyber security behind all major private industries. Btw April ’15 – April ’16 there were 35 major data breaches across the government. Weak network protection is a serious threat to national security. BG Touhill certainly has his work cut out for him.
- The EUROPEAN Central Bank did raise its growth forecast for 2016 by a hair to 1.7% (previously at 1.6%) but lowered its projections for 2017 & 2018 to 1.6% citing uncertainties following Brexit & a “sluggish pace of implementation of structural reforms. Inflation expectations remain unchanged – 0.2% for 2016, 1.2 % for 2017 & 1.6% for 2018. Why this matters: the ultra-low inflation & uncertainty for GDP growth, trade & investment are forcing the ECB to keep it’s loose monetary policy – keeping low interest rates to encourage lending, drive up inflation & economic recovery.
- LIBYA: The fears that Libya’s stockpiles of chemical weapons & precursor chemicals used to create chemical weapons would fall into the hands of jihadists controlling last remaining areas in Libya can now be put to rest. The final batch of chemical stock reached Germany’s specialized chemical destruction factory in Munster. Why this matters: More & more countries are complying with the 2014 UN Chemical Weapons Convention that prohibits the production, stockpiling & use of these horrific weapons. Well done. Syria needs to take heed!
- #GoodStoryFriday The small island nation of COSTA RICA has been powered 100% by renewable energy through a mix of hydro, geothermal, wind & solar power for over 2 months now showing that dependency on fossil fuels can be broken. 80.27% of its total electricity came from hydropower as Costa Rica utilized its availability of heavy rainfalls. Why this matters: we must absolutely be mindful that Costa Rica is a very small country & its approach will not work everywhere. BUT it does demonstrate renewable energy is largely scalable & could be replicated in other small nations & through localized approach where counties, provinces & regions emulate the model locally with the aim (& design) to connect & expand gradually.
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