DGI Brief - Sep 30, 2016
- WORLD levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) have reached 400 parts per million, an extremely dangerous level seen only 15-20 million years ago. September is traditionally when the lowest levels of CO2 are recorded, causing alarm that going below 400 ppm is highly unlikely any time soon & more catastrophic weather events should be expected in the years to come. Why it matters: Climate disasters account for 90% of all natural disasters & low & middle-income countries are severely threatened – drought, floods, storms & rising sea levels. We must do our utmost to limit global warming to below 1.5°C – it’s an existential threat for our future generations.
- GERMANY’s largest financial institution, Deutsche Bank, had its stocks drop 6% more, with shares now down 51% since the start of 2016. The main reason being a demand by the US that Deutsche Bank pay $14 billion fine related to mortgage-backed securities & the 2008 global financial crisis. Today, 10 large hedge funds cut their exposure to Deutsche Bank. Why it matters: Clearly trust & confidence have not been restored within the financial sector. Investors are worried that Deutsche Bank will implode, but economists appease such panic, saying the lender has no problem with liquidity & if need be, will get help from the European Central Bank. It is simply too important global financial player to fall. So get ready to wither the storm, but know it will pass. On the other hand, panicking will actually trigger more sell-offs & cause more damage. Globally.
- THAILAND confirmed the birth of two babies with microcephaly – abnormally small heads & brains leading to number of disabilities – the first instances of Zika-related microcephaly cases in Southeast Asia. Why it matters: Public health experts estimate that the cost of lifetime care for children with microcephaly in the US could reach $10 million per child. The amount may be lower around the world, but would certainly be just as significant a cost. We still don’t know whether Zika will be a major global epidemic or remain in current pockets of localized flair-ups, but it would be smart to plan for the former. For now, it is most advisable to check travel warnings, abstain from sex for 6 months or at least always use condoms with persons who visited regions with Zika presence.
- DJIBOUTI railway line, 656km connecting link between landlocked ETHIOPIA & a major commerce hub Port Djibouti, will begin trial service the first week of October. The project, costing $3.4 billion, is part of Ethiopia’s ambitious investment into infrastructure development – Ethiopia plans to construct 5,000km of new railroads across the country by 2020. The Djibouti line was constructed by China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) & China Civil Engineering Construction (CCECC). Smart. Why it matters: Transportation of Ethiopian goods to Port Djibouti for export takes 2 days & will now be reduced to 8 hours. This will have significant impact on the economy and boost Ethiopia’s trade, in particular its agricultural production. Majority of farmers & businesses in developing countries continuously call for improved public infrastructure to reach their markets. Well done, Ethiopia, Djibouti & China.
- #GoodStoryFriday The Region of the AMERICAS has eliminated measles after 22 years of collective, targeted efforts including mass vaccinations against measles, mumps & rubella. Why it matters: Measles is a viral disease that can cause debilitating health problems (pneumonia, blindness, brain swelling) & even death but is easily preventable through vaccines. Before worldwide mass vaccinations began in 1980, 2.6 million people died of measles. In the Americas Region, the measles vaccination campaign - successful thanks to extensive partnerships & collaboration among nations – 3.2 million measles cases & 16,000 deaths were prevented. Measles is now the 5th vaccine-preventable disease to be eliminated from the Americas (1971 smallpox, 1994 polio, 2015 rubella & congenital rubella syndrome). Congratulations!
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