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DGI Brief - Sep 15, 2016

Good Thursday to all. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #Kenya #UK #Brazil #EU and #India & #Afghanistan:

- KENYA’s decision to close on of the largest refugee camps in the world & repatriate over 260,000 Somali refugees back to Somalia has always been controversial, but now human rights groups report Kenyan authorities are using fear and intimidation to speed up the returns. According to international law, such repatriation must be voluntary. “There is no way these returns can be considered voluntary,” says Human Rights Watch. Why it matters: Dabaab camp has existed for 25 years, many of its residents have never been to Somalia, so returning ‘home’ is highly complicated & risky. Many do not know the dangers they will face as the security situation is still highly volatile. It seems we may be creating another humanitarian emergency across the Kenyan border… and humanitarian community is overstretched as it is. Very concerning.

- After months of stalemate, the UK government gave a final go-ahead to the construction of nuclear power plant at Hinkley, financed by the French & Chinese governments. The UK delayed the approval to ensure national security safeguards on such key infrastructure. These include the government’s right to block the sale of stocks without its consent. Why it matters: the concerns that foreign companies own major national infrastructure like energy is worldwide. UK feels the new guarantees are satisfactory. Critics focus on the economic viability of such projects – both in terms of development & output costs. Even though nuclear power is a cornerstone of slashing our dependence on fossil fuels, it is not exactly clean energy.

- BRAZIL: Investigators charged former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva with money laundering and corruption yesterday, part of the massive 2-year investigation known as Car Wash that jailed dozens of top politicians & businessmen. The federal prosecutor made a surprise accusation that Lula wasn’t a simple beneficiary of the graft but in fact “the maximum commander”. Why it matters: Is this about laws or politics? There are concerns that the prosecutors are looking to try the case with public opinion instead of making an air-tight case with solid evidence. This could backfire because Lula continues to be highly popular across Brazil & intends to run for president in 2018. The lead judge, notorious for sending prominent figures to jail, now decides whether Lula will stand trial. More turmoil ahead.

- The EUROPEAN UNION may be facing an existential crisis following Britain’s decision to leave the world’s largest trading bloc. All 27 states experience great discontent of their citizens about the centralized EU processes, coupled with national concerns about the economy & security. There is great distrust and uncertainty in the air. This week, French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen promised a referendum on France’s membership in the EU, while other states traded insults like Luxembourg suggesting Hungary should be suspended or expelled for their appalling human rights record & refugee treatment & policies. Why it matters: EU leaders have a hard road ahead – confidence & trust building among each other & their constituencies, much needed reforms of the EU institutions as the continent experiences many outside pressures. Greece has seen an uptick in migrant arrivals on its islands once again. The figures aren’t as large as last year, but they have grown significantly from the months after the EU-Turkey migrant deal went into effect. Hopefully people can the power of unity to tackle all these issues…

- INDIA’s Prime Minister Modi & AFGHANISTAN’s President Ghani called for expediting the trilateral pact with IRAN to develop & use the Chabahar port & boost regional connectivity. India & Iran agreed bilaterally to develop the port & later invited Afghanistan to join the Agreement on Transport & Transit Corridor. Why it matters: the new port will give India access to Afghanistan and Europe, helping Afghan economy & development while creating an important connection for Indian & European markets. However, these deals bypass Pakistan in regional trade & that does not make the nuclear state at all happy.

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