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DGI Brief - Oct 17, 2016

Good Monday to all. Today's top 5 global issues news are about #climatechange #Iraq #DRCongo #Russia & #India and #USA:

- WORLD: At the 28th Meeting of the Parties (MOP28) to the Montreal Protocol in Kigali, Rwanda last week, over 170 nations agreed to ban hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), a chemical used in air conditioning & refrigerators & a super potent greenhouse gas. Wealthier countries agreed to stop production of appliances emitting HFC altogether, while helping developing countries with HFC alternatives. Anyone breaking their commitment will face sanctions. Why it matters: this commitment will shave 0.5 degrees off the rising global temperature & remove about 70 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by 2050. And the threat of sanctions for non-compliers gives this deal real teeth & shows that slowing climate change is a priority for all.

- IRAQ: The long anticipated & planned offensive to retake Mosul & drive out ISIS since its brutal takeover in June 2014 has began. Tens of thousands of Iraqi troops, Kurdish Peshmerga, Sunni & Shiite militias & support from US-led coalition began reigning down on ISIS. Why it matters: Millions of civilians trapped in ISIS-held territory deserve to be freed & liberating Anbar & Ninewa provinces will be a blow to the terrorist group. However we should be realistic about our expectations for the future of Iraq – the current alliance is only strong for its common hatred of ISIS, there are no other commonalities & further fragmentation is highly likely. The process of reconciliation & trust building will be very, very arduous.

- DR CONGO government announced the postponement of the next presidential election until April 2018, effectively handing President Joseph Kabila a 3rd term that he is constitutionally forbidden from seeking. His current term was due to end this December. Why it matters: despite massive & violent opposition, the will of the people was not heard & President Kabila will stay in power at least 16 more months than the nation’s constitution allows. Is that what the poverty & conflict ridden nation needs?

- RUSSIA and INDIA announced military & defense deals whereby India will buy Russian anti-aircraft defense systems & the two nations will jointly produce military helicopters. Why it matters: Russia seems to be strategically forging important & lucrative partnerships with America’s allies. Although I am an avid supporter of global cooperation, I can’t help but wonder how will these multi-billion deals complicate foreign policies. Can a country effectively stand up to another, unequivocally support its ally if its own economic interests could be at stake?

- USA: America’s 2014-2015 high school graduation rate reached a record 83.2% & there was steady improvement across all racial & ethnic groups according to latest federal figures. However there was a marked decline on national math & reading tests. Why it matters: In order to compete in the increasingly automated global economy, higher education & critical thinking skills will be key. Graduating from high school with the most basic education is an important first step. Next stop – affordable college & relevant job/career training.

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