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DGI Brief - Sep 28, 2016

Good Wednesday to all. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #Syria #Ukraine #Thailand #Sudan and #antibiotics in the #USA:

- SYRIA: Doctors Without Borders (MSF) reports that 2 more hospitals in eastern Aleppo were bombed this morning in the relentless offensive by the Syrian regime. Of the 8 hospitals left in Aleppo, only 4 had surgical capacity prior to Wednesday’s attack, now only 2. MSF also quoted sources that there are only 7 surgical doctors left in eastern Aleppo serving 250,000 – a population that is being indiscriminately bombed around the clock. Also today, Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly issued an ultimatum in a conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to end all cooperation on Syria’s war unless the indiscriminate attacks on Aleppo end. Why it matters: war crimes, war crimes, war crimes. The ultimatum, that Russia denies, is complex – even though majority of US allies would love to see an end of the Syrian conflict & Assad’s power, they may not be quick in their backing unless their own agendas are met. Will Turkey help if US doesn’t hand over cleric Gulen? Will Gulf States help now that JASTA (9/11 legislature against Saudi Arabia) will become law? Who is ready to upset Russia?

- UKRAINE: Criminal investigators (Netherlands, Ukraine, Belgium, Australia & Malaysia) issued a report with solid evidence that the Malaysia Airline Flight 17 was downed in 2014 by a Russian-made Buk missile & this missile was moved into pro-Kremlin rebel territory of eastern Ukraine from Russia & swiftly returned after the blast that killed all 298 people aboard. Russia called the investigation “biased & politically motivated”. Why it matters: The investigation focused on airtight forensics & analysis to have a solid case for a trial against the perpetrators. But a trial of those responsible is still far off – identifying the culprits & setting up a tribunal is challenging with Russia creating obstacles at every step. Sigh.

- THAILAND: A damning report by Amnesty International (AI) shows that the Thai military government allows soldiers and police to use torture on political opponents & suspected insurgents. Methods like waterboarding, electric shock & beatings are frequent. The government threatened to arrest the AI speakers scheduled to officially release the report in Bangkok today, forcing AI to cancel the event. Why it matters: We need to be aware of the increasingly suffocating direction of Thailand as we relax on its gorgeous beaches. Stifling basic freedoms will cause more resentment & has the potential to turn violent as opponents of the regime grow more frustrated. We are already seeing signs of this.

- Since the start of the conflict in DARFUR in 2003, the government of SUDAN has been perpetrating genocide, crimes against humanity & war crimes. President Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for these crimes since 2009. The UN has passed number of resolutions & sanctions against Sudan, but recent report found their continuous violations – arms embargo, use of cluster bombs, travel bans & asset freeze, supporting militant groups to fight as proxies, indiscriminate killings & rapes. Why it matters: The conflict has killed over 300,000 people & displaced more than 2.7 million. 13-years in and still no end in sight. Bashir must be arrested & tried for the international community to regain at least some of its legitimacy. What do we do with violators of sanctions imposed on them as violators of international laws? These are the complexities of diplomacy & respect for state sovereignty. You can help by brining public attention back to this decade-long genocide! #saveDarfur

- USA: A new report by a consortium of environmental, consumer & health groups graded the 25 largest fast food & restaurants chains on their efforts & policies to eliminate antibiotics use in their meat & poultry supply. Panera Bread & Chipotle Mexican Grill are industry leaders having adopted no-antibiotics policies for all meats they serve. Subway & Chick-fillA continue to improve & received a B. But 16 restaurants received an F with many like KFC, Olive Garden & Dunkin Donuts taking “no action” to address this public health issue. Why it matters: Antibiotics are abused in meat production to prevent disease & promote animal growth, not to treat actual infections. Such abuse results in antibiotic-resistant bacteria that kill over 700,000 people worldwide each year. We, as consumers, can demand healthy products – vote with your money & the restaurants you fancy will respond.

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